Ben

Resource Proposal #1 (more on proposals)

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc): Government  Is this a government agency?

Name of Resource and Citation: Australian Homelessness Clearinghouse

“Australian Homelessness Clearinghouse.” Australian Homelessness Clearinghouse. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.

Topic for Paper: Finding the best solutions for homelessness in different societies.

Your proposal.

For my white paper, I plan on becoming an expert on the problem of homelessness in different societies. I will examine different solutions to the homeless problem—solutions that have already been enacted, and solutions that are currently hypothetical or academic. I will analyze how different societies with varying wealth, social services, and cultures can best handle their homeless problems to add as much value to all stakeholders as possible.

Through my research of the homeless solutions adopted by three large metropolitan urban cities in the United States (Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia) I have been exposed to one strategy for handling the homeless problem in an urban American city. I plan on using my resource proposals to add to my background knowledge on the homeless problems in other societies and how they are being handled. I also plan to explore the realm of academia to find new solutions to the problem of homelessness that have not been tried on a large scale. My goal in writing this paper is to produce different solutions for different kinds of homeless problems in different societies around the world.

My first resource comes from the other side and other half of the world: Australia. The Australian government has created a knowledge bank for homelessness in Australia. They are open minded to new solutions, they promote the study of homelessness, and they are committed to tackling their homeless problem and helping the rest of the world as well. At the end of 2014, Australia hosted its 8th national homelessness conference. The Australian Homelessness Clearing house (http://homelessnessclearinghouse.govspace.gov.au/) is “a website for sharing information and good practice solutions for the homelessness sector in Australia.“ It provides updates and events on homelessness in Australia, publishes and shares research and data, and shares proposals for solutions or improvements to the lives of all stakeholders in communities affected by homeless populations.

This resource will add to my white paper because it presents attitudes about homelessness, and proposals for solving the problem of homelessness, from a different culture, a different government, and provides different solutions. The quality of life of the homeless population, and members of the communities where they live, is highly impacted by government policies, culture, and attitudes about the homeless. The homelessness clearinghouse provides access to academic papers on the topic of homeless prevention; early intervention; former criminals; homeless families vs. individuals; and more. This resource will help me gain a greater perspective on the world’s homeless problem, and how other societies are attempting to solve it.

Seems like a good find.  Are there important similarities or differences in homelessness between Australia and the US?  The clearinghouse seems like it will be full of further ideas for what works.  

In both the US and Australia, what level of government works on homelessness?  Is it mostly national/federal?  Or local municipality?  Will you focus mostly on how to help already-homeless (as opposed to prevention)?  Just thinking about ways to keep this manageable.  What have you found about causes?

Resource Proposal #2 (more on proposals)

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc):

Name of Resource and Citation: The Weingart Center

Topic for Paper: Solving Homelessness problem

Your proposal.

My second project proposal is the result of research I have completed on the Weingart organization. The Weingart center, located in downtown Los Angeles, is a non-profit organization that has the same goal as the Georgia Works program: help homeless men and women turn their lives around while reducing the burden of the homeless population on communities and tax dollars (Georgia Works actually currently only serves men). The Weingart center attacks the problem of homelessness differently than Georgia Works, which is what makes it an intriguing organization for my white paper. Los Angeles has a homeless problem, and Weingart is working on the 21st century solution to eradicate it. On Weingart’s board of directors, one will find investment bankers, asset managers, hedge fund directors, and even the president and COO of Dreamworks studios. Given the teams background, it should be of no surprise that they approached the problem of eradicating homelessness from a very consequentialist angle. Here is the companies two and a half minute promotional video entitled “stop donating to the homeless”. The Weingart center views homelessness as a poor investment. However, one man’s poor investment is another’s investment opportunity. To the Weingart team, there are very few opportunities with as great of a return on investment, that are as innovative, and that have as much potential to change the world as the homeless population. Last year, Los Angelos spent $2 billion servicing their homeless population. The largest expenses were hospital visits, law enforcement, food stamps, and jail. $2 billion amounts to approximately $35,000 per homeless person. At Weingart, this is seen as a bad investment. For only $10,000, a homeless man or women can enter the 9 month intensive Weingart program which provides supportive housing; mental health $ substance abuse treatment; job training and placement; and follow-up post-graduation care as participants transition into permanent housing. Where does Weingart get the $10,000 to put a homeless person through the program? They appeal to local businessmen and women who want to make an investment in their community. In comparison to Weingart, Georgia Works went about solving the homeless problem with a somewhat more happy-go-lucky, “feel-good” approach. While Weingart seeks private investors for funding, Georgia Works secured contracts with local communities. Georgia Works provided work opportunities, case managers, and counseling, but they were not able to administer these services with the technical precision of a highly analytical team with resources at its proposal. Weingart offers particpants entry into a 16-week intensive outpatient program using the evidence-based matrix institute model including relapse prevention and one year of after care. They offer five vocational tracks for participants. They attack the problem of homelessness with the same focus on margins, efficiency, and return on investment that they use in their professions. In my opinion, the Weingart center differentiates itself from Georgia Works as a model for the homeless solution for a specific type of community. The Weingart center has contributed more than $10,000,000 each of the past three years in contributions and grants. That is almost 10x bigger than Georgia Works. The problem of homelessness comes in all different shapes and sizes. For communities that have a serious problem and can afford to invest in a more expensive rehabilitation program based in science and driven by leaders that are determined to turn the lives of the homeless around and improve their communities, the Weingart center has more than 30 years of experience practicing repeatable strategies to eradicate homelessness in urban areas.

This seems like a good point of comparison.  Whether $10,000 per person is charity or “social investment” is an interesting question.  What is the difference? is it just “spin”?  Or is there more to it?  If there is, what is it?

I guess you are thinking of this as a “business” source because of the directors?  Or the investment language?  I always meant from business source those who have an economic stake in the problem.  So, this is close, but not had in mind.  Ideally, one of those businesses on the board, or perhaps a group of LA businesses would have weighed in.  But, it’s too late to worry about this now.

More generally, let’s follow up on social investing.  is it possible to construct non-profits or other organizations that will be able to capture the gains from superior solutions?  For example, is it possible for Weingarter to recover the $10,000 per person either in that person’s increased productivity later OR through the city sharing the savings OR some other way?

Resource Proposal #3 (more on proposals)

Type (Biz, Gov, or Soc):

Name of Resource and Citation: Thinkprogress.org

Topic for Paper: alternative homeless solutions

Your proposal.

ThinkProgress is an American liberal political blog that “provide[s] a forum that advances progressive ideas and policies. I came across an article on their cite while searching the internet for “ending chronic homelessness.” This article differentiated itself from others by proposing fully formed solutions to the homelessness problem backed by data, facts, and most importantly a budget. It also viewed homelessness from a different angle than my other source material, making it an interesting supplemental source for my white paper. This article focuses on changing the mentality around homelessness. While my other sources (Georgia Works, Weingart) focus on trying to address issues of homeless individuals such as mental health and substance abuse, writer and editor Bryce Covert proposes that it is actually best to focus on simply getting homeless people into stable housing situations as the first priority: “The evidence pretty much indicates that if you provide people with a housing subsidy, their homelessness ends and they don’t become homeless again.”

Interesting, but can you draw out the differences between him ant others more?  Are they assuming they need to “solve” the underlying causes as opposed to the surface problem of lack of a stable residence?

This article cites figures regarding the current state of low-income affordable housing units in America (lacking), the cost of homeless persons on taxpayers, and most importantly outlines multiple potential solutions to disrupt the current status-quo regarding homelessness (changes in mortgage tax codes for rich to fund housing subsidies for poor, proposals for raising funds for more public housing, and the disparity between the need for affordable housing options and their availability.

This think piece also breaks down different solutions for different types of homeless persons. For some people, subsidizing their housing and helping them get back on their feet is enough to turn their lives around. Other homeless persons do not have long term issues, but they do need a quick pick me up to be able to afford rent. “Rapid rehousing” is a proposed plan to cover start-up costs of putting a roof over ones head and helps prevent individuals from entering a worse situation while they are down on their luck. Lastly, the author recognizes that for some individuals (veterans, chronically homeless with mental issues) self-sustainability may never be an option, but there are ways to improve their quality of life and improve communities and the tax burden at the same time—it is cheaper to prevent than to treat. For these individuals, “permanent supportive housing” units may be the best solution.

This proposal focused on alternative views for ending the homelessness problem, and will help me expand my knowledge base on the subject and its solutions.

I like how it breaks down solutions according to needs.  The status of homelessness can have many causes, so solutions should be more customized to that person or family.  Also, more “permanent supportive housing” can be a source of employment for former homeless or hard-to-employ people.  Like, maybe some of the G works or WEingarter center alumni could then become the staff of these PermSupp housing as maintenance, cooking, or counseling staff.  Imagine, formerly homeless veterans who can become employable now working at a veteran’s home for those who need the PermSupp housing. 

 

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