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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

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Entries in HUD (21)

Thursday
Feb022017

Outlook for Homeless People in 2018 in a Carson/Trump Administration

Draining the Swamp 2018-19 Issues Facing Homeless People

For homeless people, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the most important agency and the decisions made in Washington have a huge impact on the lives of people without housing, those waiting for housing, and those who cannot afford the market rate for rent because they do not make enough money.  The head of HUD is often more important to homeless people then who is the President of the United States. Cleveland receives $30 million from the federal government specifically for working to end homelessness.  We gave our outlook for 2017 here.  It was our estimate that homeless families are going to have a tough time, but 2018 is going to rough for every homeless person. 

Outlook for HUD funded programs

  • We will most likely have to increase the family homeless situation to 50 additional beds by 2018 on top of the 75 from 2017.  We could see some small relief with an expansion of the Pay for Success program to more families, but that will not decrease the need for more shelter beds.  
  • Many of the resources for single adults will have dried up and more and more people will be asking for shelter.  It is unlikely that Cleveland will be able to continue to guarantee access to shelter for those who request it, because we have closed so many beds over the last 10 years.  We will have to figure out a strategy for what populations get a bed every night and which population is sent out to make it on their own.  We hope that Metanoia will find a space so that those who cannot get a bed will have an overflow space year round.  Metanoia will need to be prepared to serve 250 people per night including around 40 single women.
  • We will most likely see another 2 to 8% cut to our homeless funding.  This will mean another program will have to close in early 2019.  At this point, the Permanent Supportive Housing programs or the rental assistance programs will be the last programs left standing to be cut.  So, either we will have to evict people or eliminate supportive services to these extremely fragile people.
  • There will be more of a push to privatize Public Housing so another reduction in the number of units available.  Housing Choice Voucher will most likely be spared having already been cut to the bone.  A privatization makes it harder to apply and harder to enforce common rules for providing quality housing to the population.  HUD oversight staffing were already significantly reduced and that will continue.  Media will have more and more stories about horrible subsidized housing conditions and tax payers will demand cuts. “We should not have our tax dollars going to these horrible conditions,” even though it our own fault for cutting the HUD oversight staff.  
  • The tax credit program for the development of housing will probably continue to expand, because the new administration seems to favor programs that result in tax cuts. Again, this is not a program to serve those living below poverty in Cleveland.
  • In Cleveland, this will most likely mean a decline of 200 units in affordable housing because of a nationwide cut to HUD funded housing programs.  Cleveland officials have done a good job maintaining the inventory while other cities have seen huge loses.  We will not see the loses that will be seen in other cities, but local leadership will not be able to prevent all losses. 
  • No fair housing enforcement activities over because there will be an internal fight over who is in charge of these investigations. 
  • Those who have stayed in Permanent Supportive Housing or other subsidy programs for five or seven years will be told that they need to find other housing options.  Some of these individuals will show back up at the shelters asking for help. 

Other Issues for 2018-19 for Homeless People.

  • A further rise in hate crimes against homeless people on a national level.  Whenever there are more homeless people and government is passing laws harmful to homeless people or massive budget cuts, hate crimes against this vulnerable population rises. We will need a strong local Coalition to oppose these hate crimes, and it is unlikely that advocacy and public policy groups will be able to find funding when there will be so much human service needs overshadowing good government groups.
  • Medicaid expansion will begin to be decreased in 2018 with only the poorest of the poor able to access the public insurance. The state will also be requiring a small co-pay for Medicaid.  This will slowly deteriorate the number receiving coverage.  This will force clinics like Care Alliance to begin to take on more of the indigent care out of local funding.  This will decrease the health of the population and decrease access to mental health or drug addiction treatment.
  • Another rise in assistance for the opioid crisis with more funding for treatment and even an increase in detox when more suburban young people are dying from the addiction, but there will not be the ability to get Medicaid reimbursement for some of these supportive services as was the original plan for Permanent Supportive Housing. This will mean that fewer people will have access to these units.
  • Mental health funding may even see a boost in 2018 because of a State election and regular encounters between law enforcement and those with a mental illness living outside, but we will still have to deal with the reduction in Medicaid reimbursements.
  • Funding for private hunger programs will continue to increase, because Cleveland has always been generous in the face of hungry children.  We will probably see a sharp drop in those eligible for food stamps.  We will need to increase the number of hot meal programs at religious organizations and the pantry programs.  We will need to expand the school lunch program to also offer dinners or backpacks of food for the evening for those living in poverty.
  • There will be many more people showing up at the shelters with deep intractable debt issues making employment and housing stability extremely difficult.
  • Cash assistance will become a non-factor in the struggle to reduce poverty.  Very few are eligible anymore because of lifetime limits and the small grants.
  • Disability programs will be cut and turned into jobs programs to try to find employment for people who are currently on disability or who apply for assistance. Bureaucracies have a hard time pivoting to new ideas.  This will take a long time to catch on and many families will fall through the cracks.
  • Cleveland shelters will be under threat of defunding because they are unwilling to provide data to ICE workers.
  • More homeless families with health issues will be asking for help in our community.
  • Coordinated Intake will be in place to decide who gets a shelter bed and who gets sent to gymnasiums that are opened up every evening at closed down schools.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Tuesday
Jan242017

What is Ahead for Homeless in the Carson/Trump Administration?

These are my thoughts on what we can expect in Cleveland over the next few years based on my 24 years of experience.  I have lobbied in Washington and Columbus for decades and some of these “new ideas or better ways of doing business” have come up before.  We have not had all branches of government under one party in both Ohio and with our federal government in decades. So if this is ever going to be implemented it has to happen now.  There has never been a better chance to cut funding in human services and put in practice some of the conservative ideas that have been discussed for decades.  I also read documents by the Washington Post and others detailing every campaign promise made by Donald Trump over the last year and a half.  Overall in 2017 in Cleveland we will most likely continue to struggle with increases in family homelessness, but we should see a reduction in the number of single adults facing homelessness.  Here are my observations.

  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development is the key government agency providing funds to local community for affordable housing, homeless shelters, and the major funding for services to homeless people.  The Trump Administration has appointed Dr. Ben Carson to lead the Department.  He has no government experience and spoke in opposition to the fair housing goals of the agency.  HUD enforces the Civil Rights era Fair Housing laws to break down barriers for minority, religious minority, gender and those with children facing discrimination.  Here are some possible changes in the upcoming year.
  • The last publicly funded homeless transitional program in Cleveland will be defunded when the Salvation Army PASS program is converted from beds to rental assistance.  Cleveland saw the defunding of 328 beds during the Obama Administration.  This will only make it harder for single men to get out of 2100 Lakeside into housing.  There will be new funding for single adults to get rental assistance which will ease some of the burden.  Homelessness among single adults will most likely decline in 2017.
  • We need 50 new shelter spaces for families immediately and 75 by the end of the year as we continue to struggle in 2017 to find a shelter bed. Cleveland is compassionate and usually steps up to serve families better.  I believe that religious and business leaders will step forward to fund additional shelter space. This could present a conflict with the County over intake rules and counting these homeless people.
  • We will most likely see another 2 to 8% cut to our homeless funding.  This will mean another program will have to close in early 2018.  This is especially likely since we keep reading how the HUD report shows we have decreased homelessness in Ohio based on flawed statistics, but the impact will not be until 2018.
  • It is likely that both Public Housing and the Housing Choice Voucher program will see a decline in their budget.  They are currently operating at a little under 90% of the funds they need.  This means fewer dollars for maintenance, a longer time to get units back on line and fewer staff to process paperwork.  Bottom line is that the 21,000 people waiting for Public Housing and the 8,000 on the voucher waiting list will wait longer than the three to five years to get a place. There will also be a debate about transferring public housing properties to become privately funded and administered by private sector developers.  This will not have an impact in 2017, but in the future.
  • The tax credit program for the development of housing will probably expand. These programs bring down rents, but they do not make them affordable for low income residents.
  • HUD subsidized housing is going to be difficult to cut.  These are all private landlords but everyone who moves in is subsidized like the voucher program.  They have tried everything to reduce costs over the last 20 years, but nothing much has worked.  I am going to guess that they will try to cut off lower performing housing which would mean there would not be a change until 2018.
  • There will be an attempt to defund fair housing while they “study” better ways to handle discrimination and disputes between owners and those seeking housing.  I can see a moratorium on these programs while they investigate the issue. 
  • It is likely that there will be a debate about time limits for those living in subsidized housing, but those would not have an impact for a couple of years.  The debate would open many divisions within the community and would be similar to the “welfare reform” debate.

Other Changes

  • We will see a rise in hate crimes against homeless people.  Whenever there are more homeless people and government is harmful to homeless people with cuts, hate crimes against this vulnerable population rises. We will probably get help from the local law enforcement, but no relief by the US Department of Justice who will unlikely have anything to do with civil rights, fair housing, hate crimes or discrimination claims.
  • Medicaid expansion is unlikely to change in 2017, but has been so helpful to improving the lives of homeless people. 
  • We actually will most likely have more funding for addiction services/treatment either through the State of Ohio or through the federal government or both because of the opiod crisis. 
  • Mental health funding looks stable and will face no changes. 
  • Funding for private hunger programs will mostly likely be stable or may even increase.  There will be some changes to food stamps debated in 2017, but not to be implemented until 2018.
  • Welfare (cash assistance) will be further reduced to only those engaged in a work program, but this has such a small reach anymore in the community it really has no impact on homeless people.
  • The new administration will try to limit Social Security Disability and the Worker’s compensation program for injured workers.  Both programs will face greater scrutiny and longer waits.  Many homeless people are eligible for disability, but give up because the process takes so long and the rules for being on the program are so restrictive.
  • Privacy in the shelters will begin to be an issue with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking for data on non-citizens using publicly funded shelters.  The local community will have to take a stand if this is going to be an issue.
  • Cleveland should be able to significantly reduce veteran’s homelessness in 2017. There will still be homeless veterans but they all should be on a path to stable housing.
  • The number of young people who graduate foster care into homelessness should be dramatically reduced in 2017.

by Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Monday
Dec192016

Fake News: The Homeless Numbers Are Made Up 

New report once again misleads lawmakers and the public about the supposed ‘decline’ in numbers of people experiencing homelessness in the United States.

Washington, December 19, 2016 –
As we rapidly approach the end of another year, cities around the country are preparing vigils recognizing those who have lived and died without adequate housing in 2016. November’s release of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress by the Department of Housing and Urban Development may give those attending some small cause for hope, describing a 3% decrease in the number of men, women, and children experiencing homelessness, counted on a single winter night, over last year’s number.

Unfortunately the report leaves out some important information. For instance, the count in question tallies those staying in emergency and transitional shelters, as well as those who can be located outside. HUD’s recent decreases in funding for such shelters means fewer members of the homeless population are easily accounted for. HUD provides bonuses to communities that decrease their count, creating a disincentive for those conducting counts to locate every unsheltered person in their neighborhoods.

Furthermore, HUD only asks communities to report those who it considers “literally homeless.” This doesn’t include the large numbers of individuals and families who are doubled up or “couch surfing” with friends and relatives. This unrealistic definition of homelessness explains why HUD reported just over 120,000 children experiencing homelessness on a given night, while the Department of Education has reported well over ten times as many children youths registered as homeless in recent years, a number that has more than doubled over the last decade.

The reports of HUD and other governmental and non-governmental organizations purporting to chart a decline in the numbers of those experiencing homelessness are doing a disservice to those men and women who we have lost this year without the basic dignities afforded by secure housing. While so many of those who are tasked with ending homelessness in America won’t admit to the actual scope of the problem, they cannot be relied upon to enact meaningful solutions to it.

The National Coalition for the Homeless calls upon the Department of Housing and Urban Development to face up to the reality that homelessness is not diminishing in America. We call on HUD and its allies to work with us and other organizations to put into place housing policies and investments that will ensure an end to the memorial vigils that have become a disgraceful necessity every December 21st, the longest night of the year.

# # #

Full Disclosure: NEOCH Executive Director is a Board Vice President for NCH.

The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To prevent and end homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected. www.nationalhomeless.org 

 

Monday
Dec052016

Enterprise & CSH Should be Ashamed by These Statements on Ben Carson

There are a few bold statements on the new Secretary.  This is how you should respond to this unqualified HUD Secretary being named. 

Here is what the National Low Income Housing Coalition said.

Here is what the Coalition for Economic Survival in LA said.

If you want to know what not to say, I have included those below from Enterprise and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.  What could you possibly say about a person with absolutely no experience selected to lead the Housing Policy for the United States?  This is a horrible pick for a cabinet position and should be roundly condemned.  He does not know anything about affordable housing except that he lived there as a child.  He does not understand what HUD does or how critical it is to the infrastructure of the United States.  Enterprise Community Partners and the Corporation for Supportive Housing both issued tame statements about their hopes to work with the new administration.  This is why there is so much anger out in the County.  We need lobbyists who will put country before their personal industry or trade association.  These guys might as well issued a statement saying, "We depend on HUD for our very existence, please do not cut our funding!   We do great things in the past, so we need the expensive Permanent Supportive Housing programs to go on or we will be out of jobs!"

These are two agencies who will have an audience with the next HUD Secretary are "hopeful," and based on these statements we know they will praise him and say what a great job he is doing.  While the homeless guy sitting in a shelter in Cleveland will never get to meet the HUD Secretary, but we know a homeless guy would express anger that a guy who spoke against Fair Housing as social engineering and has blamed poor people for their personal failings during the campaign is nominated for this job. We depend on big organizations to represent our interests in Washington since we will never have a chance to meet with the HUD Secretary, and we need you to get a backbone and speak truth to power. 

  • What happened to not being politically correct anymore? I thought that is what the Trump victory signaled?
  • Why not ask how this is not political payback for Carson's support of Trump, which is contrary to what this new administration campaigned on?
  • What about talking about the lead poisoned kids in deteriorating housing in Cleveland because the waiting list for a voucher is 5 years or more?  What about talking about this political appointment as a slap in the face of the family sleeping in a gymnasium because all the shelter beds are full?
  • There are hundreds of thousands of people suffering because of their lack of housing, and this HUD Secretary has said this job is going to be a cinch on Fox News.  This statement alone disqualifies him from office. 
  • Permanent Supportive Housing is not the silver bullet that will solve all of our problems.  We are in big trouble if Public Housing, Shelters, Vouchers and Foreclosure assistance were all cut while PSH programs were fully funded. 

I know what they will say, "We need to give him a chance" or "We are going to have to work with him so we can't blast him right out the door."   I can't tell you that these fluffy statements are not going to insulate any of us from the cuts.  Carson is not going to care who said good things or bad things when it comes to balancing the budget.  All that was promised (middle and upper income tax cuts, building a wall, deporting millions, reducing corporate taxes, more military and veterans spending) is going to leave a huge budget hole and housing is not going to be protected because you issued a nice statement in December 2016.  You have to see that neither candidate spoke about housing and so unless a real advocate for affordable housing had been selected for HUD Secretary, you have to see the trainwreck coming.  Is Carson going to stand up and demand more funding for housing in America because Enterpise harkened back to his days living in public housing in a press release? 

Some might say that these statements are sell outs.  I would just say that they are cowardly and shameful. We deserve better advocates in Washington who will tell the public what is really going on, and not trying to spin this as some positive thing.  Just because a guy was born on a farm does not qualify him for Secretary of Agriculture or those who travelled a lot as a kid should be put in charge of the FAA or Secretary of Transportation.  It does not work like that.   Disgraceful.

Ben Carson Accepts President-elect Trump’s
Nomination for HUD Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump today nominated Dr. Benjamin (Ben) Carson as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If confirmed, the leading retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate will serve as the 17th HUD secretary.

Enterprise congratulates Dr. Carson on his nomination to this important Cabinet-level position and will work with him on ensuring that all Americans have access to an affordable home in a healthy, thriving community connected to vital resources such as good schools, jobs, transit and health care.

Dr. Carson gave keynote talks at two of Enterprise’s national conferences when he was head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, sharing his personal journey of growing up poor in Detroit. His story captures the power and promise of a stable home, strong parenting and fierce dedication. We are hopeful that these experiences will make him a powerful advocate for building the critical link between healthy communities and healthy children and families. 

For more than 30 years, Enterprise has worked in partnership with HUD and its leadership to strengthen federal affordable housing solutions. As a bipartisan organization, we have engaged HUD leaders across parties on efforts to close the nation’s growing affordable housing gaps and strengthen communities nationwide. Today more than one in four families who rent their homes – 11.4 million households in total – are “housing insecure,” spending at least half of their monthly income on housing.

Collaborating with HUD on a wide range of issues – promoting healthy, lead-free housing, advancing rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, advocating for the Neighborhood Stabilization Act during the nation’s foreclosure crisis and many others – has shown us what a powerful force for improving lives the department can be, especially for low- and moderate-income people.

Enterprise will work tirelessly with HUD and our partners around the country to make progress on our shared mission of building diverse, dynamic communities, increasing racial, economic and social equity, and supporting the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Together with President-elect Trump, HUD Secretary Nominee Carson, incoming members of the next administration and the 115th Congress, we will strive to build an infrastructure of opportunity for low-income families across the United States.

As we all prepare to gather with family and friends during the holiday season, our thoughts remain with people and communities most in need. We are grateful for your continued support and partnership.

Best,

Terri Ludwig 
President & CEO-- Enterprise Community Partners

Here is the Corporation for Supportive Housing Statement:

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Dr. Ben Carson to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

We are eager to work with the Trump Administration, Dr. Carson and Congress to create more opportunities for Americans to access affordable housing, and to ensure the most vulnerable individuals and families in need of supportive housing are housed in their own homes and healthy.

Our economic future depends on finding sustainable ways to ensure everyone, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, age, family status or income, can access and afford safe, decent rental housing. Not only is this crucial today, but for our children and grandchildren too.

For those in need of supportive housing, their very lives depend on finding stable homes with access to the healthcare and other services that offer them the chance to move forward with independence and purpose, which benefits everyone in the community. In too many instances, our nation continues to over-rely on expensive institutional care that inadequately houses and fails to address the needs of the most vulnerable people, shortchanging them and the rest of us. Supportive housing is a proven, cost-effective alternative that empowers individuals and families to thrive within our communities.

Evidence tells us housing is a key social determinant of health for individuals and communities alike, and CSH will continue to work with policymakers at all levels to enhance and increase the integration of housing and healthcare.

CSH will be in the forefront of ensuring the new Administration and Congress have the extensive data, reports and personal stories demonstrating beyond question that supportive housing works, is cost-effective, holds down healthcare and public safety costs, revitalizes neighborhoods, and creates jobs and economic development, making a real difference in communities across this country.


By Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Thursday
Nov102016

Draining the Swamp in America

What does draining the swamp look like?  Some say it is about ridding DC of the "establishment" and lobbyist, but then we see only establishment and lobbyist figures so who knows.  Here are my thoughts on what is ahead for homeless people in Cleveland.  I am basing these projections on what Donald Trump said when he ran for office and how it will impact homeless people.  Some have said that those were just statements for the campaign, but his supporters will expect delivery on these ideas.  I have also looked at the Campaign website for some hints and base these projections on previous attempts by Republicans in Congress.  Some of these items were stopped because of divided government which is not the case at this time.  Voters were angry at the "establishment" for not responding to their concerns, so they are not going to stand for Trump not fulfilling these promises.  Here are the four websites that I looked at to formulate these projections:

The other issue for those of us in Ohio is that Trump has said on the Campaign trail that he is fiercely loyal and feel that those who have slighted him should be punished.  He repeatedly talked about the Congressmen who turned their back on him and those who did not live by the pledge they signed to support the Republican nominee for President.  The Governor of Ohio as well as the Senator just re-elected both distanced themselves from the President Elect.  Governor Kasich never endorsed the candidate and stated that he would not vote for Trump despite the popularity of the Presidential candidate.  Portman revoked his endorsement after harassment allegations arose and stated that he was going to waste his Presidential vote with a non-existent write in candidate.  There are debates about whether to end the earmarks ban, but Ohio may not benefit since we only have one member in leadership and that retaliation problem by a vindictive administration.  In addition, there is a plan for infrastructure improvements, but would Ohio score poorly because of our leadership team not supporting the Republican nominee?  If there is a dramatic infrastructure program that could put the skilled laborers sleeping in our shelters in Cleveland to work.   Overall, it looks like Ohio is going to be a rough place in the next four years.  

A Rise in Hate Crimes Against Homeless People

There is a great deal of fear and anxiety in America and typically people we do not understand become targets.  Homeless people, those who stay outside, and panhandlers are certainly misunderstood and often viewed as the enemy.  They are the visible expression that America is not a great place for everyone.  We fear that there will be a rise in hate crimes against homeless people because of the sharp rise in hate crimes over the last few weeks.  The next Justice Department is unlikely to be as sympathetic to protecting people living on the streets as the current Civil Rights Division.  

Medicaid Will Likely Contract

There was such hatred for the Affordable Care Act and the cornerstone of so called "Obamacare" was the expansion of Medicaid to those living at 132% of poverty or below.  This is unlikely to survive any change in the health care law.  Homeless people will have to go back to the emergency room for care.  Before Medicaid expansion in Ohio less than 20% of the population had insurance.  Today, between 70 and 80% of the population have insurance.  This has dramatically improved the health of the population and we were talking about using health care expansion to pay for stable housing because housing is healthcare. This is off the table and will not happen in the current environment. There is talk of moving to a "health savings account" system, but I am pretty sure that the savings accounts of homeless people will be overdrawn. There is also talk of privatizing Medicaid which will be great for the big insurance companies, big pharma, and horrible for low income people who are frequent health care customers. 

Dramatic Changes in Housing Programs

There is no real housing lobby in Washington.  We have not had a national housing policy since 1972, and no real production of housing for decades.  There was no discussion of housing in the Presidential election, and the beneficiaries of housing unfortunately do not vote.  People who live in subsidized housing are not protected like seniors who vote in huge numbers and protect Social Security like no other program.  I see two options for the next Congress to begin to cut the budgets for housing programs.  One is to privatize the market as much as possible, which the new Businessman in Chief would support.  The other option is to time limit the housing like welfare reform.  They actually could do both to contain costs.  Congress could provide a five year lifetime limit on subsidized housing to try to reduce the huge waiting lists (7,000 people on the voucher list in Cleveland and 21,000 on the public housing list in Cleveland).   The privatization has already started with housing authorities going to banks for private funding to rebuild their properties.  This will only be accelerated in the next few years.  Time limits would quickly fill up the shelters with disabled and fragile people who have no ability to pay the market rate for rent in Cleveland or any community. 

Sequestration on Steroids

Veterans programs, military, and social security will be protected according to Trump campaign promises.  While all other government programs will be subject to an across-the-board budget cut. Trump campaigned on a 1 to 2% cut in government spending to tackle the debt.  This would have a huge impact on social services.  We already lost shelter beds every year since Sequestration started and this will only accelerate with any cuts.  It is hard to cut 1% of the beds locally, so entire programs close. Shelter beds, treatment programs, re-entry programs, food stamp programs, health care for those without money, transportation dollars, and food assistance will be reduced.  The unemployment compensation and worker's compensation program has huge debt problems in many parts of the country. Both worker's assistance programs could be further privatized to attempt to eliminate federal bailouts.  

Block Granting

The Congress has tried this in the past but not very successfully.  Food stamps is the last of the entitlements that is not time limited.  While most homeless people do not collect food stamps, this is the program most likely to face a time limit and a block granting to the states to administer.  Funding for the shelters could also be block granted to the states.  Again, this might not be so bad for some states, but in Ohio rural communities always seem to get a disproportionate amount of federal and state dollars. The rural legislators are far more powerful than the urban legislators and demand a larger piece of the pie.  The example is the Ohio Housing Trust Fund which is slanted toward suburban and rural communities and those who live in urban communities suffer.  

Priorities for Other Government functions

We know that immigration, building a wall, deporting millions, an infrastructure program, legal and judicial resources to defend these positions, renegotiating trade deals, and improving care to Veterans will be the priority for the administration.  Trump has also promised a big tax cut for corporation and the middle class.  All of these will leave little room in a balanced federal budget to also fund shelters, housing, welfare, Medicaid, and food assistance. Again, because these programs do not have a powerful lobby they will not fair well in a Trump administration.  There was a promise to end all government funding for "sanctuary cities" that construct a wall between local law enforcement and federal immigration officers.  This type of precedent could impact many of the largest cities in America and their homeless services funding.  If the feds withhold money from Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco for being "sanctuary cities" can those housing dollars go to Columbus and Youngstown?  It also could be a dangerous precedent used by the federal funds to withhold dollars from local communities that do things that the President does not like. 

Immigration debates could also seep into funding for the shelters in another way.  The shelters have always had a strict privacy protection so that even families have a hard time getting information on their loved ones.  Will the federal government demand the publicly funded shelters turn over their rosters to screen them against the list of 2 to 3 million people that the Trump administration is looking to deport?  The President may demand that they open their HMIS data to federal ICE officers for inspection.  The shelters may be swept into this national debate for offering a safe place to anyone who shows up at the door vs. receiving federal dollars to keep out foreign nationals.

Most of the Plans Require a Growing Economy

The Paul Ryan "A Better Way" Plan repeatedly outlines the need for a healthy growing economy in order to facilitate projections for growth in charitable giving and a recovery of the housing market.  Under President Obama, the economy has grown steadily for seven years.  It cannot go on with growth forever.  There will always be downturns, and we do not have the safety net services that we had in the past.  We will not have the tax base to absorb the number of people who need help.  We do not have the shelters, the affordable housing, the job training programs that we had in the past.  We are ready with food, but every other safety net has huge holes.  It will be tough for everyone.  

Veterans Homelessness Will Most Likely End

There are a few good things that are most likely coming in the next few years.  With the public pronouncements of improving the Department of Veteran's Affairs.  The Obama administration made a good headstart on ending veteran's homelessness.  With a renewed focus on improving the entire VA network in the new administration, it is a good bet that veteran's homelessness will end over the next few years.  

Treatment Could Actually Expand

The one area of positive reform of the social safety net might be the rate of incarceration and then the diversion into treatment programs.  There has been bi-partisan plan to reform the criminal justice system to reduce some of the costs.  This could translate into more resources into treatment to keep people out of jail.  This could benefit Northeast Ohio which is buckling under the opioid epidemic.  This may be a scratch in the end if hundreds of thousands lose health insurance locally.  We could overwhelm the few additional treatment and detox beds with those without health insurance.

Snapshots

  • Fewer affordable housing options because of time limits or privatization and a continued decline in the number of shelter beds.
  • More homeless families with health issues or an inability to find a job.
  • More single homeless people with fewer places to go.
  • Cleveland has guaranteed access to a shelter bed.  This is unlikely to survive with the expected federal funding cuts. 
  • Fewer homeless veterans and more treatment beds in the community.
  • The local community will be expected to pick up the slack for a withdraw of funds from the Federal government. Image Post Swamp After Being Drained
  • Trump has pledged 25 million jobs and that will benefit homeless people.

There are many in the social justice community who are worried about individual liberty, privacy and hate crimes.  There are those in the social service community worried about federal block granting and huge cuts in healthcare, housing and job programs.  These two worlds rarely co-exist, but may be forced into a shot gun wedding.  There are a lot of unknowns, but if the Trump Administration fulfills half of the promises he campaigned on, homeless people are going to be in big trouble.  By Thanksgiving 2017, the face of poverty will be much different compared to 2016.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry