Monday, July 21, 2008

Miracles!!Funding gives boost to homeless project (Tulsa World)Homeless Mentally Ill to have homes

Click on Title above to go to Tulsa World Article or click here

By MICK HINTON World Capitol Bureau

More information about Tulsa’s project to end homelessness can be found at

The state Legislature is giving Tulsa a $2 million boost to help the mentally ill who wander the streets because they have no place to live. People must first have a home before they can benefit from services to bring them out of their chronic mental illness, said Mike Brose, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Tulsa. Nationally, this approach is called "Housing First."
It has proven successful in cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and Miami, Fla., which have greatly reduced their numbers of homeless sleeping in alleys and under bridges, Brose said.
He believes that Tulsa could virtually wipe out the homeless status of those with serious mental illness.
Currently, both the public and private sectors of Tulsa are supporting enough housing to accommodate 245 individuals living in apartments throughout the city. The $2 million boost can add about 76 more units. Based on Tulsa's demographics, Brose and others estimate that if the city had 511 of these units, it would almost eliminate the number of chronically mentally ill without homes. These are people with schizophrenia, serious bipolar disorders and chronic depression. Often, these problems are coupled with drug and alcohol use.
Getting a legislative appropriation for the housing project was no easy task this spring. It appeared to be in jeopardy during session when lawmakers said they would be lucky to maintain current budgets. The legislative leaders were toiling with a troubled economy and more tax cuts taking effect. At the end of the session, the lawmakers had about
$13 million that had not been committed, out of the state's overall $7 billion budget.
From the governor's office to leadership in both houses, the elected officials agreed that Tulsa's homeless project was worthy of more funding. The project had just gotten a start last year, when it received $2 million from the Legislature. At that time, there was no commitment made to fund the project in future years.
However, Tulsa private groups have stepped forward with big contributions,
showing the Legislature the commitment on the part of the community.
The housing program is being administered by the Tulsa Housing Authority, which also taps into federal funding. It's easier for legislators to give money for something when Tulsa residents show they are doing their part, said mental health department official Steve Buck, who lobbies for his agency at the state Capitol during session. Seed money for the homeless project has come from the Maxine & Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation and Ruth K. Nelson Revocable Trust. Sen. Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa, and Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, urged leaders to help the already successful program to thrive, stressing that doing something as bold as eliminating homelessness requires financial commitment.
The reward, said Adelson, is that the mentally ill will not be wandering the streets, causing problems for law enforcement and showing up at emergency rooms for costly taxpayer-funded treatment.
Brose said this is a better approach than only providing shelters for these homeless.
At best, they continue returning to the shelters and never solve their housing problem. Once housing is taken care of, Brose said, they can concentrate on their other problems and eventually get back to being on their own.
Once they are in a home, the Mental Health Association strives to provide "wrap-around services" to get people integrated back into the community
Brose says it is working. Many of them learn how to "make it" outside the environs of their newfound homes.

The reward will be greater than what is stated above.A community raises a child and all benefit when that child is treated as a human being.Cause and effect.

The healing of the Nation and the World has begun.

No comments: