Jeff Smith noon, March 8
- Community Blog
- I've Got Issues
More Questions for the United Way in Their Involvement in CCDC Sponsored "Registry Week"
The below excerpt from the United Ways description of the PTECH program raises some questions about what this plan is really about. As you see below "The plan calls for housing first". What exactly does that mean? Does that mean private donations will go towards developing housing? Since the United Way partnered with LeSar Development Consultants it seems to suggest just that: that they are interested in "developing housing" not finding existing housing to meet the demands. How does that work? The existing models for HUD housing and affordable housing are very troubling, particularly because developers are typically paid anywhere from 5 to 10 times more than they would get in the private market. That means tax dollars are directly going into their pockets in the form of profits.
If that same model is now going to be used by non-profits like the United Way to work with developers like Jennifer LeSar whose wife former Council member Toni Atkins is Chair of the Select Committee On Homelessness for the State of California then we are going to see non-profits used as ATMs for developers.
Catherine Austin Fitts headed the HUD program under Bush 41 and came out as a whistleblower exposing how the low-income housing programs were enormous cesspools for fraud and simply ways for governments and politicians to give money to their friends. She insists nothing has changed. If you have a chance to listen to her please do because her comprehension of this problem is astounding and it reveals why I am so concerned about this topic.
Anyway, this is how the United Way describes PTECH:
Program: The Plan to End Chronic Homelessness Budget:--Category:Population Served:Program Description:
The 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness (PTECH) in the San Diego Region made significant strides this past year. Most recently, we launched a public awareness campaign called “Home Again” to engage the entire community in solving one of our most troubling issues. The 10-Year plan is multifaceted in reducing and preventing homelessness:
How it works:
• The plan calls for housing first, followed by supportive services. Includes permanent supportive housing units, a Regional Access Center in East County and 32 recuperative care units for the medically fragile. These units are the first of their kind in the County and offer short-term housing, meals, medical services, case management and social services for chronically homeless people while they recover from acute illnesses. After being in a recuperative care unit, clients receive services to help end their cycle of homelessness.
Program Long-Term Success:
End chronic homelessness in San Diego County through programs that promote and measure behavior change, policy change, and community engagement.
Program Short-Term Success:
By year-end, 400 chronically homeless individuals will be served through the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which provide permanent supportive housing, recuperative care, and regional access center services.
Program Success Monitored by:
Funded agencies report data quarterly showing the number of people placed in permanent supportive housing units, the types of support services they are accessing, the frequency in which they access these support services, and the amount of time they remain in stable housing.
Program Success Examples:
To date, 18 individuals have moved to more permanent housing situations
One of my big issues is how they are approaching the problem of homelessness. Their big concern is "housing". But if you talk with homeless people they do not want to be wharehoused in some shelter where they will be closely monitored. Yes they want a warm safe place to sleep, but they want their autonomy. Simply building "housing" will never solve the problem even with all the resources in the world on site. The fact that the focus is on building housing is highly suspect because resources would be better focused on supplying them with places to shower and store their stuff. You could serve exponentially more people by creating a facility filled with showers and small storage facilities. Then the additional money could be used to make sure they have food and blankets. They need tools to solve their problems and they need to keep their autonomy and anonymity.
The fact that the United Way is now singing the refrain about "housing first" is very troubling to say the least. It suggests to me that they are more interested in helping partner corporations make profits then they are in helping people. As I said above Toni Atkins Heads a Committee on Homelessness with the state and in the wake of very deep budget cuts to education and other services I am worried that ensuring state money can get to people like her spouse in these sham solutions will be her priority.
Here is the quote from Toni Atkins website about how she intends to end homelessness:
"Reducing homelessness requires a delicate interplay of programs and services for those without permanent shelter and those at risk of becoming homeless. This committee will work to eliminate silos and bring down barriers between agencies and branches of government. Ultimately, our committee will guide the state in more effectively and efficiently coordinating service delivery.”"
Essentially Toni will work to eliminate "barriers" and enable developers like her wife to easily access state tax dollars to provide their solutions to this complex problem.
Their is a very dangerous framework developing here that has blurred the barriers between public/private and non-profit. The ambiguity of how each role is defined creates enormous impetus to misappropriate funds intended to help people and solve real problems to for-profit businesses.