Imagine trying to commute to work in a city where each bus makes up its own schedule and route and sets its own prices. You might eventually get where you’re going, but it would be an inefficient, frustrating process. It’s much easier to commute in a city with a coordinated transit system.
So why is it when we think of the response to homelessness in our communities, we often think of programs like shelters or housing programs that operate independently? That’s changing. Across the country a big shift is happening behind the scenes. Rather than a number of programs serving their clients as best they can on their own, whole communities are working together to build effective systems to produce a coordinated response to homelessness.
There are many paths to homelessness—job loss, a medical emergency, or an increase in rent, to name a few—and there are many paths to exit homelessness. Though every person’s story is unique, there are commonalities amongst them.
Recently, we looked at why minimum wage isn’t enough to afford housing and why there are increasingly few affordable rental units available to low-income households. When you take these two trends together, it’s easy to infer disastrous results: many low-income renters are at risk of falling into homelessness.
Anyone who has been to a conference knows that they tend to be frenetic: idea sharing, solution swapping and networking. Last month, I went to the 2015 Association of Gospel Rescue Missions’ (AGRM) convention in Seattle and my experience was just that: frenetic, and fruitful.
For those of you not familiar, Gospel Rescue Missions (GRMs) or Missions are faith-based organizations that work primarily with those experiencing homelessness by providing shelters, transitional housing, treatment programs, and outreach services. Missions are often differentiated from non-faith based organizations because of their faith-based approach to these services.
Here at the Alliance we’re gearing up for our annual National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington, DC, which will take place this Wednesday, July 15, to Friday, July 17. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you there!
As you may already be aware, the Alliance holds a Capitol Hill Day each year in conjunction with our July conference. It’s a chance for our conference attendees to visit Capitol Hill where they can meet face-to-face with their Senators and Representatives and congressional staffers. This year we’re holding the event on Friday, July 17.
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