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May 28, 2009

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codepoke

I've not read the article, but I know a homeless man well. There's no program, no money, no housing that could overcome the things that made him choose homelessness. And if there were such a thing, he would just be a homeless man with a roof. He would not be a man with a home.

Boy this sounds pointless to me.

codepoke

Sigh.

I read the article. The guy is making the right noises, but rewarding a man for being homeless is a funny way to get him to get his feet under him. The other idea works worse, though, so more power to him.

Michael W. Kruse

I think a triage appoach is needed. Some folks can move from homelessness back into mainstream society. We need to assist people in making that transition. Then there are those, who for a variety of reasons will never function in society. This is the challenging group. Certainly, the mentally incapcitated homeless need our intervention.

I, too, know of a homeless man who chooses his homelessness. To what degree can you compel people to be housed who don't want to be? It's a challenging question.

codepoke

I agree, Michael.

But you see, your triaged approach is a far cry from, "Abolishing Homelessness in Ten Years". The guy's got a good idea, and I'm all for good ideas. We need all we can get.

I've just found over and over again that the people who diss the people who came before them have missed significant data that stumbled those same predecessors. Mechanics always find fault with whatever the mechanic who preceeded them did. Programmers always find fault with any existing program they must repair - even if they wrote it themselves. But the mechanic and the programmer and the homeless advocate who came first was about as intelligent as the one on the job now.

Never let a programmer rewrite a program from the ground up. He'll approach the problem with visions of sugar plums and promises of Christmas in July, but he'll write exactly the same program as the guy that came before him. He has to. The problem has not changed. Oh, he'll make a couple tweaks that make him happy, but the improvements won't be worth the money it cost. If the problem has not changed, only a radical change in resources can change the solution.

Mangano thinks he's going to change everything, but I bet his wonderful-sounding arguments have all been presented before. I wonder what's changed. What resource does Mangano have that his forerunners lacked?

I think he's saying, "My forerunners asked for $X million dollars and they returned Y% of it to the economy. Give me $10X million dollars, and I'll return 100%+ of it to the economy. The extra money will get me over the hump and let me return a large percentage of the homeless to a state of productivity, instead of mere subsistence."

The new resource is money, and I'm all for increasing the man's budget if he can prove people will really become productive when given seed-money. Jesus said to take the last little bit from the man who had almost nothing, and give it to someone productive. I wonder whether that plan might not be more effective in the long haul, but I'm open to pilot programs.

Triage is the right answer. I wonder how he's doing it.

Michael W. Kruse

Some of the stuff in the article sounds interesting and it might help. But like you, I skeptical about a 100% success write unless we are going to forcibly house (i.e., institutionalize) people.

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