community Service means Business!

2 December 2009

Across the Pond

via's End Homelessness Blog by Shannon Moriarty on 11/22/09

In February, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced a bold plan to end rough sleeping in London by 2012. Today, just six months after unveiling his plan, two-thirds of the city's rough sleepers are off the streets and in housing. This begs the question: if London can end homelessness, why can't the U.S.?

Rough sleepers are to London as chronically homeless are to the U.S. According to Capital City News, these individuals "have typically been homeless for at least five years, have refused or have been failed by repeated interventions to help them off the streets, and are often affected by a complex set of problems, including drug addiction and mental health issues."

But unlike the U.S., the impetus for the targeted outreach to these individuals in London was not to save money or political face - at least according to the comments of Mayor Johnson. He said in a statement, "It is completely unacceptable for anyone to end up with only the street for a home in 21st century London." This was the zeal driving the quick removal of 138 long-term rough sleepers from the street in just six months. Given this early success, many believe the city will have no problem transitioning the remaining 67 homeless individuals into housing by 2012.

This plan to end homelessness in London is not unlike the plethora of 10-Year Plans to End Homelessness that exist in over 230 cities and states across the U.S. Similar to London's plan, they are bold, targeted, and have a timeline for success. So why has this approach working in London and not in the States? Is 10 years too long to feel urgent? Are we trying to end homelessness for penny pinching or human rights reasons?

Perhaps the new head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness could benefit from a chat over tea with Mayor Johnson. Clearly, he has some ideas that are worth spreading.

Image: Capital City News

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

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