In 2001 there was a national call to end chronic homelessness. Basically, President Bush and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told cities they needed to develop 10-year plans to end chronic homelessness. Mayor Laura Miller got the ball rolling, and a 10-year plan was developed and finished in 2003. Apparently, cities across the country have these plans to end chronic homelessness.
But what I want to know is, why do we focus exclusively on chronic homelessness? A person is defined as chronically homeless if they have been homeless for a long time (a year or more) and suffer from something that prevents them from becoming un-homeless (mental illness, chemical dependency, disability, etc.).
But get this – when MDHA did its point-in-time homeless count in 2008, only 611 of 5,869 were chronically homeless. The percentage was similar last year. I am sure there is some reasoning, but I am going to ask Mike Faenza about it because I find it a little puzzling (my last week’s meeting was rescheduled to this week). Maybe ending all homelessness is just too big of a task?