City Limits: Homelessness Crisis Demands a New Kind of Shelter—Not More Hotel Rooms
By Ralph da Costa Nunez
“Over the last 30 years, there has been very little change in policies to address family homelessness. But a capital investment to develop new Tier III facilities would positively transform the entire family shelter system. The homeless and the community would be equally served while the costs of doing so would go down. It is an old idea whose time has come, and a win-win policy for all.”
"A comprehensive vision is precisely what is needed—comprehensive enough to include educational supports, mental health services, job training and other on-site shelter services to put, and keep, families in their own homes."
Recent weeks have brought devastating news for many of the shelters coping with a surge of homelessness in cities across the country: The federal funding they have relied on to house, feed, and care for some of the very neediest Americans is going away.
Tents cities are proliferating in Seattle and Los Angeles. Shelters are overflowing in Madison, Wisconsin, and Asheville, North Carolina. The mayor of Portland, Oregon, has declared a housing “state of emergency.” A coalition of 10 west coast mayors is pleading for money from Washington to address what they call a “housing and homelessness crisis.” Nowhere is the situation worse than in New York City, where the shelter population this winter has surged above 60,000.