Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More than the lack of a home

According to a recent report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, almost three-quarter of a million were homeless in a single month of 2005. Included were 3,415 people who were homeless in Minneapolis. Given the high concentration of those suffering from mental illness among those living in the streets and shelters, it is not surprising that Minneapolis is seeking to alleviate homelessness among that beleaguered population.

The city is offering attractive and purposefully affordable housing with no strings attached. It’s the logical approach – solve homelessness with homes, but that’s not working in Minneapolis because there have been few takers. Fifty vouchers for highly-subsidized housing where given to the Assertive Community Treatment team dedicated to serving the municipality’s homeless population. Since then, only five people with mental illness have taken the chance to move from the streets into a place of their own. The rest remain homeless, braving a Minnesota winter either by choice or – perhaps more likely – by illness.

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