McDonnell Aims To Reduce Homeless Rate
Governor Bob McDonnell’s office issued an interim report yesterday with initial recommendations for the state’s first cohesive housing policy. Craig Carper reports.
The centerpiece of the report is a goal to reduce homelessness by 15 percent over the next three years.
Governor McDonnell’s Senior Policy Advisor, Bob Sledd, says with scarce dollars available in the budget, the state will have to shift existing resources to achieve this goal.
Sledd: Probably the number one trend is going away from enabling people to be homeless to helping prevent them from being homeless. There’s a couple of programs such as rapid re-housing programs, which instead of putting somebody in the shelter, you as quickly as possible get them into housing and surround them with services, because when they're in shelters, people are pretty stressed out. They just don’t know what’s next, and so the quicker we can get them into permanent housing, the better.
Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Bill Hazel, says the state already does a lot for mental health program for the homeless, but their efforts need to be better targeted.
Hazel: When you have an individual with homelessness, the first problem is a place to live. But when you look at a lot of these individuals, they have experienced homelessness along the way, mental illness, substance abuse, they’ve been in jail, they’ve burned their bridges at home and they need a place to come back to.
The report aims to lay a framework for better coordination among state agencies to reduce waste and increase the effectiveness of housing programs.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square