Skip to comments.Stimulus Dollars Helping Fight Homelessness
Posted on 10/18/2009 6:09:00 AM PDT by TornadoAlley3
Oklahoma is getting about $12 million to fight homelessness in the state.
Funds will be used for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, which targets those who are newly or nearly homeless and are having trouble coming up with this month's rent, are behind on their utilities, or need help with a car payment.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A common criticism of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been that too much of the money is going to support or expand social programs. No wonder, then, that some people roll their eyes over the fact that $1.5 billion in stimulus money is going to prevent homelessness.
Oklahoma is getting about $12 million to fight homelessness, far more money than has ever been thrown at the problem at any one time before. And there are many who feel strongly that the money, aside from being long overdue, will make a real difference.
One reason is that the face of homelessness is changing. In Oklahoma City, in Tulsa, and across the state, families are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population, and homeless advocates believe current conditions only threaten to make things worse.
"Because of the economic situation we have families in our community that are struggling," said Tom Jones, president of City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City.
City Rescue Missions director of social services, Debbi McCullock, said theyre gearing up to help those families and others who find themselves on the brink.
"The idea is that we can try to prevent a first episode of homelessness," McCullock said.
City Rescue Mission is one of several agencies in Oklahoma City contracted by the city to help disburse its $2.1 million homelessness allotment. The program, known as Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP), targets people who might be having trouble coming up with this month's rent, are behind on their utilities, or need help with a car payment.
Jane Ferrell, Oklahoma Citys urban redevelopment specialist, said she sees this as a one-time opportunity to help a population that tends to be overlooked.
"We're looking to serve a minimum of at least 200 people a year. It's a three-year program," Ferrell said.
Tulsa is receiving two direct ARRA disbursements for HPRP, which adds up to about $1.9 million for the city of Tulsa and Tulsa County.
Agencies there, as in Oklahoma City and across the state, will not be using the money to re-house the chronically homeless. That population, often characterized by long bouts with addiction or mental illness, is excluded in the stimulus program. Screeners will determine HPRP eligibility by checking applicants income levels and by asking a series of questions.
"One of them is, 'but for this money, would you remain homeless or become homeless?'" said Sandra Lewis, executive director of the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.
Lewis said theyre looking for the person who is nearly or newly homeless; the person, for whom the only thing keeping them from being self-sufficient is the payment of a bill or two.
Another $8.1 million in stimulus money is going to the rest of the state. That includes the states ample rural locations, where pride might be more likely to keep those who have fallen on hard times from asking for help.
"So it's going to be the responsibility, in our opinion, of many of these agencies receiving funds to reach out, to go to utility companies and see if they can't get some referrals," said Vaughn Clark, director of community development for the state department of commerce.
Supporters of the program say this is an excellent use of stimulus funds because it not only fulfills a moral obligation to lift up the downtrodden but keeps those people from putting an added drag on the economy.
"I'm not an economist, but common sense would tell me I'd rather have as many people as possible staying on the job, keeping their house, paying their utilities," Jones said.
Lewis said financially helping those in need to become self-sufficient will end up costing less in the long-run.
"Often, when someone becomes homeless, everything around them crumbles and they lose, not only their place to live, but their job and their support system, and it costs more for us to shelter someone than it does for us to keep them in their apartment," Lewis said.
HPRP officially begins operation October 19th. Those wanting to see if they qualify for assistance are asked to call 211
Shovel ready news.
...Obama’s Stimulus = More Handouts....
....of course what would you expect from a community organizer...this is how the mind of the urban black Democrat works....the role of government is more give-away programs.
“We’re looking to serve a minimum of at least 200 people a year. It’s a three-year program,” Ferrell said.
...would this be a new, new, newer deal? Or a great, great, greater society?
Hey, Obama, how about cutting taxes to business and people so these folks on the edge can get jobs and work for a living? And to think these Obamite morons have hundreds of billions of (future)taxpayers’ moneys to dole out over the next couple years.
Asked of applicant:
“but for this money, would you remain homeless or become homeless?”
Proposed 2nd question:
“But for this money, would you be able to buy that 48” TV? What about your new ride?”
These stories are nation wide, I think it is well past time to call it what this was and it was not Stimulus,IT WAS REPARATIONS ,PERIOD case closed
Ever notice how much government money goes toward stuff that is non-durable?
It’s like spending billions of dollars on cotton candy or disappearing ink.
In the hands of a business man, the money would buy something tangible and functional, like a copier or a delivery truck, and he’ll use them profitably for years. In the hands of the government, it goes toward food, and the same people will be back for another handout tomorrow.
Charitable organizations should care for the homeless, not the government.
While I pity these folks who have lost their jobs and cannot pay rent or utilities, government handouts are not the solution. They need jobs and poring taxpayer money into social programs produces no jobs other than for the government bureaucrats running them.
So, if I get this straight, their idea is to throw billions of dollars at giving money to people to prevent them from experiencing their first homeless episode.
Okay...so we prevent their first homeless episode this month. Then what? They completely ignore the employer, tax the crap out of them, and the job just disappears next month.
I guess we will give them more money again?
And again the month after that?
But if you criticize this approach...”What? You don’t want to help poor people about to be homeless? Cruel, heartless conservative!”
Liberals DO believe money grows on trees, because most of them in government have never done a day’s work, managed a balance sheet or produced a product. People like John Kerry, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Obama.
As usual, throwing money at a problem. This money is going to do nothing.
Some of these people do not want help.
My son is a heroin addict and is homeless (he just checked himself into a detox center in Eureka CA) I hope this time he addresses his unlying mental illness, otherwise this will not work.
We tried to get him off the streets. He refused. I had a chance to talk with other homeless, and most of them want to be left alone.
That's not including any interest we'll have to pay for this borrowed money that's being given out so freely!!
$12.1 million is going to Oklahoma!!!
"We're looking to serve a minimum of at least 200 people a year. It's a three-year program,"
$4 million per year for helping 200 people a year? You do the math.
We all laughed when they said "Obama gonna make my house payments - Obama gonna make my car payments."
But they will accept money.
There ya go: YOUR earnings paying for somebody's ESCALADE/PIMPMOBILE.
Is this a great country, or what?
No jobs, just free Obama money.
Obozo does not understand what a job is. Free money is the way he always got his during his lifetime. He has no clue about how normal people live.
$200,000 a person.
The average sales price of a house in Oklahoma City, OK was $126,000 in September.
I presume this means, they are going to buy the homeless a house and a car.
4 million divided by 200 is 20K, still a lot to ‘save’ one 125K mortgage.
I was using public school math.