One of the newest and most successful trends in addressing the homeless problem is getting the homeless into permanent, supportive housing. Permanent supportive housing has proven to be a better alternative to constantly cycling the chronically homeless through the criminal justice system and hospitals, which studies have shown are more costly. PSH provides assistance (not necessarily on-site) for drug and alcohol abuse, mental health treatment, physical disabilities, and other chronic needs.
November 28 and 29, I was invited to attend and join a panel at the annual meeting for the Corporation for Supportive Housing in Arlington, Virginia. CSH is a national non-profit that assists governments and non-profits in developing strategies to develop permanent supportive housing.
The conference was extremely helpful. There were around 200 people in attendance from all across the country, including representatives from state and local governments. I learned so much listening to best practices that were beneficial in other communities, as well as programs that didn’t work as well.
Karen Rayzor, head of our Environmental Health Department, attended as well, and we both got a lot out of the conference. In December, we met again with representatives from CSH to discuss ways they can assist Dallas as we develop a comprehensive approach to homelessness and build the Homeless Assistance Center. This month, Ms. Rayzor and I will be meeting with Mike Rawlings, the Mayor’s appointed “Homeless Czar,” to discuss what we learned at the conference and how we can apply it to Dallas.