Sunday, April 6, 2008

Is there really a "need" for Permanent Supportive Housing in Fort Worth?

Below is from the City's 10 year homeless plan:


Using Tarrant County’s 2007 PIT data to determine the size and demographics of the homeless
population, we have been able to develop an annual estimate of homeless households and the need for
permanent supportive housing. The PIT (point in time) report contains two key pieces of information:

1) a total point-intime
count of homeless persons and

2) self-reported characteristics of the homeless persons that
completed PIT surveys.

Based on Tarrant County’s 2007 PIT, CSH estimates that at a single point-in-time, Fort Worth has:
• 2,878 homeless persons or approximately 1,548 homeless households3 and,
• Of those surveyed, 36% are in shelters, 7% are outdoors (unsheltered), and 56% are in transitional
housing and all are in need of permanent housing ,
• 19% have been homeless for more than one year and 18% were homeless four or more times in
the past 3 years, and
• Approximately 53% of homeless persons surveyed have potentially chronic and disabling
conditions that would call for supportive services to remain stably housed.
o 26% report a mental illness and of those 36% believe their mental health condition limits
their ability to live on their own,
o 23% report a permanent physical disability,
o 9% report testing positive for HIV4,
o 23% report chemical dependency issues and of those 17% report chemical dependency as
a contributing factor to their homelessness, and
o 17% report a problem with alcohol dependency and of those 11% report alcohol
dependency as a contributing factor to their homelessness."

IMO, No there is not a need yet, in Fort Worth for more subsidized public housing units and just because other major cities are doing it doesn't mean it works long term or erradicates chronic homelessness. It just means that Mayor Mike Moncrief and Otis Thornton aren't willing to think outside of the box and try something different, even on a small scale. They don't really want to "invest" in long term solutions. They want to do what everyone else is doing and hurry and put up some walls and say, "look what we did." While year after year the taxpayers will be footing the bill for more and more and more subsidized public housing because the "need" will continue to grow until you do something different, think outside the box and invest in people's mental and emotional health, which BTW, includes tough love and paying consequences for their actions and choices. What Fort Worth needs are:

1. Central Resource Facility - with all the contacts for services that are necessary for homeless and the 20% of homeless who are diagnosable severely and persistently mentally ill.
2. Many more Long Term Rehab facilities

3. Highly paid social workers and counselors who conduct self improvement classes (which serve as community service hours for #5 below) and one-on-one counseling services (which can also serve as commnity service hours for #5 below).

4. Good paying jobs for x-cons.

5. Self help educational consequences for ALL Class C Misdemeanor offenders, including indigent individuals.

Give us the five things above and then and only then, let's see how much of a dent we've made in the chronically homeless population BEFORE you spend millions of our tax dollars on public housing.

At this moment there are at least 71 (25 Project-Based Facilities and 46 Tax-Credit Facilities) properties in the City of Ft. Worth inwhich rent is based on income and/or available to households below the median average income. In Tarrant County, there are over 1000 units of low income public housing units with no time limit for homeless individuals. They are:

Ft. Worth Housing Authority, Butler Place 412 units, Caville Place 300 unites, Fair Oaks 76 units, Fair Park 48 units, Hunter Plaza 234 units, Samaritan House 8 units (prefer HIV+), Union Gospel Mission, 16 units. Are every one of these units filled? I will report back, more to come on this post.


Anonymous said...

sure ...indigence is criminal...but the crime is perpetrated by a careless society not the individuals victimized by it.

Suzette said...

Anonymous - "indigence is criminal" What are you saying? I can't read between those lines. The only things I know of that are criminal about indigency is saying you are indigent when you are not, and government protecting one segment of society (indigents) from the law which is unconstitutional. Is that what you are talking about?