Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lower Reach Report, Homeless Follow Up Part Three

Sacramento public leadership has proposed a housing first model to deal with the chronic homeless, those are the folks who inhabit the illegal campgrounds along the Parkway in the Lower Reach, and it is a model we agree with, as we outlined in our Lower Reach Report on our website.

However, the details are important and the model we agree with is the Pathways to Housing model, which places people in individual apartments scattered throughout the community and provides treatment in that personalized setting.

The model that appears to be what Sacramento advocates are proposing (details are still sketchy) is to continue the type of concentration of services already blighting a large part of the downtown area and provide housing in the same manner.

Here is a recent San Francisco Chronicle article about the Pathways to Housing model from Pathway’s website.

Success in the Big Apple
New York City finds path for mentally ill Housing homeless before treatment bucks conventional wisdom
Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, June 14, 2004

New York - -- Shopping for telephones is what finally drove it home to Tony Bartol that he was re-entering that almost-forgotten world where the sidewalk was not his bed. He stood in front of a wall lined with 200 of them in plastic packaging -- white phones with speakers, black ones with six lines, red ones with voice mail -- and scratched his head, confused.

"I have no idea what to pick here," he said. His hand trembled as he touched one, then another. "The last time I owned a phone was 1977."

A few weeks before, Bartol was sleeping in Manhattan subway stations, so mentally ill he could barely pluck reality from the visions of God in his head. He'd been that way for 19 years. On this day in mid-May, the 54-year-old, bushy-bearded string bean of a man was in a department store with two social workers shopping for a few essentials before moving into his own apartment.

He was still delusional, still without a job, and still not on the medication he needed to address his psychosis. But now, he had one angel over his street-tough shoulder that other mentally ill homeless people still foraging in alleyways didn't -- a program called Pathways to Housing, a New York-minted twist on the "supportive housing" model of tackling chronic homelessness in urban America.

Unlike other cutting-edge supportive housing techniques in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago -- and being embraced in San Francisco -- in which the hard-core homeless are moved en masse into residential hotels with on-site social services, Pathways to Housing snatches them straight off the street and gives them their own, individual apartments apart from other homeless people, alongside average New Yorkers. And unlike virtually any other program in the country, it does this with the hardest core population of them all: the mentally ill.

For the rest of the story: http://www.pathwaystohousing.org/news/SFC_6-14-04.html