HPRP Is It Working? Part IV

Posted: September 24, 2010 in homelessness
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

We as Americans are a strong resilient people. We are also sometimes a greedy, self centered people that have no regard for those less fortunate than ourselves. That is the American paradox that can be seen in everyone from our friends and loved ones to the leaders throughout our country.

America will spend millions of dollars and man hours to help those suffering in other countries while at the same time ignoring those who suffer in our own back yard.

According to The National Alliance to End Homelessness, about 671,859 people experience homelessness on any given night in the United States. State by state data can be found here.

Specific reasons vary on why people become homeless, but research shows people are homeless because they can’t find housing they can afford. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD) an estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing, and a family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.

HUD also notes that the generally accepted definition of housing affordability is no more than 30 percent of monthly income going toward housing costs. Families or individuals who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered “cost-burdened” and can have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.

The lack of affordable housing is a significant hardship for low-income households and can prevent them from meeting their other basic needs, such as nutrition and health care, or saving for their future.

HUD’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is a $1.5 billion stimulus-funded program that was designed to prevent and eliminate homelessness in communities across the country.

In Nebraska, where I live, these funds are distributed through the local Community Development Division of the City of Omaha Planning Department. The Metro Area Continuum of Care (MACCH) refers those needing HPRP assistance to the agencies set up to accommodate those needing help.

The idea behind HPRP was to quickly rehouse those experiencing homelessness and to help those who are currently facing homelessness. And in a lot of major cities HPRP is working. http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/3057

video

On July 2nd, 2009 the Nebraska State Grantees was awarded $5,128,578.00 for HPRP. On June 30th, 2009 Lincoln, Nebraska was awarded $726,148.00 and on June 19th, 2009 Omaha was awarded $2,017,088.00 So HPRP should work not only in Omaha but in other cities across the country as well.

In fact, In 2000, the National Alliance to End Homelessness made a bold proposal: to end homelessness in ten years. http://www.endhomelessness.org/section/solutions/ten_year_plan

They found that one by one, communities across the country answered the call, drafted plans, and began implementing innovative solutions to prevent and end homelessness. In the years that followed, many neighborhoods saw measurable decreases in the number of people experiencing homelessness. In fact, homelessness declined by 10 percent between 2005 and 2007 nationally, with some communities seeing even steeper drops.

But here’s where that American paradox I spoke about comes into play. After beginning to see modest but significant declines in homelessness over the past few years, new 2009 data suggests that the numbers are creeping back up. http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/2806

With rising unemployment and the continued economic crisis, more and more low-income people find themselves slipping closer and closer to homelessness. The Alliance projects that as many as one million additional people may become homeless before the recession ends. Many families today are only one paycheck away from homelessness.

And while some major cities are seeing great success with HPRP providing permanent housing for people within weeks of applying, in other cities it can take months before receiving this much needed assistance. I personally know families who have applied for HPRP assistance only to be tangled up in bureaucratic red tape while they continue to live in fear that today may be the last day their family can remain in their home.

As our country moves toward recovery, we must remember not to leave our most vulnerable citizens behind. Now is the time to commit ourselves to ending homelessness. Write to your senators and your congressmen. Write or call your local government leaders. And let them know that the current status quo concerning the homeless problem is unacceptable.

Alliance president Nan Roman wrote, “We have the solutions. We know the answers. Our challenge is to muster the public and political will to take what we know to scale, and bring an end to homelessness in our nation once and for all.”

First they came for the stock brokers,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a stock broker.

Then they came for the bankers,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a banker.

When they laid off the union workers,
I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a union worker.

When my neighbors lost their homes, I didn’t speak up because I still had my home.

When my neighbor was living on the street,
I didn’t speak up because I was too worried about me.

Then I lost my home
but then there was no one left to speak up for me.


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Comments
  1. The Destructionist says:

    If you haven’t already watched the documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, then I highly suggest you do.

    At first, the trailers made it sound like it was a joke. I thought it was going to be another one of those propaganda films pitting “Bleeding-heart Liberals” against “Right-wing Neocons” (you know the kind), but it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, the film was serious and focused primarily on corporations and their zeal to maximize their profits at all costs and with total disregard to the people or to the countries they might ultimately affect.

    A part of the film that I found especially intriguing was the presentation of a document written by Citigroup that was sent to the wealthiest of its investors; essentially stating that America was no longer a Democracy, but a Plutonomy (an economy run and powered – not by people like you and me – but by corporations and the wealthiest 1%). To be honest, I thought the document was made up bullshit and I’d never be able to find it online. ((After all, who’d be so brazen (or so stupid) as to compile such information and then let it get out into the public?)) But I was wrong, and it is real:

    Equity Strategy
    Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances

    As I read, page-after-page, I could feel my eyes growing wider and wider in utter disbelief (My God…I mean, it was like reading a manual on how to successfully turn our world into George Orwell’s, “1984”)!

    I have to say that I’m rather embarrassed that I didn’t know about this document (or the documentary) before today. But now that I do, it only confirms what I’ve written about in times past: the powerful corporate élite are actually designing plans to take over the world’s economies and fashion its various countries into collectively owned corporate blocs, whereby people are no longer consumers, but hive-like workers.

    Now I know what you’re saying, and I totally agree with you…(It sounds like, “crazy talk,” right?) But there will come a day – however absurd it sounds – where national allegiances will be replaced with “corporate allegiances.” It might not happen tomorrow – or even a year from now – but trust me… Someday, it will happen…

    (CHECK OUT THIS LINK) http://www.youtube.com/v/IhydyxRjujU?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0

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