Sunday, February 11, 2024

Beacon Minute 2/11/24


Beacon Minute

"All In is a multi-year, interagency road map for a future when no one experiences the tragedy and indignity of homelessness--and everyone has a safe, stable, accessible, and affordable home."

This past week I was at a two-day conference with other providers in what we call the Balance of State Continuum of Care. It was a good opportunity to learn from experts in the field of homelessness encompassing initial contact to permanent housing and after care. It was a good opportunity to meet new people, network, make plans to visit and learn more about specific shelters, and learn about things like All In.

During my time at the conference, there were notable quotes. One is from the video that I will share at the end. 

Tomorrow evening, I will be speaking at the Ladysmith City Council meeting. Before I became the director, the Lighthouse board sent a letter to the City of Ladysmith asking for some financial support for the shelters. My understanding is that it has been discussed once with little support, maybe even a second time. Tomorrow will be the second or third time.

I heard some of the reasoning that councilmen were against the funding was that the shelters aren't in the City. Which, TECHNICALLY, is true. But the shelters are only just out of the city limits. Beyond that, many, many people that have been housed at the shelters are people that have been in the City needing shelter. And even beyond that, is the reality that all communities in our County need to be aware and part of the solution to end homelessness. 

"Just because someone does not have a house, does not mean they're not a voter. And just because someone can't vote because they've been disenfranchised, doesn't mean that you don't represent them." Richard Crews.

That's powerful! I wrote it down when I heard it at the conference.

I hope to use my influence to bring people to the table of inclusion for all people in our communities. My goal is to ensure that we don't allow our governmental leaders to dismiss those on the fringe of society and those already disenfranchised. There's nothing more important than our elected leaders making decisions for all people; not only those that vote, or have jobs, or can afford housing.

Without housing, people are unlikely to make other positive changes in their lives. People often don't want to interview for jobs if they don't have access to a shower and clean clothes, while homeless. Statistics show that positive outcomes happen when people are placed in housing first. Housing first offers services at the same time and continued after housing. 

Homelessness is a life and death issue, not a crime to be solved. Criminalization can cost 3 times more than housing. We need to work at moving our system from punitive to prevention. 

Katie Bement, Embrace Executive Director, said at the event, "The less one has, the less one has to do to be incarcerated."

"All In is the Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, which set a bold goal to reduce homelessness by 25% by 2025 and ultimately build a country where every person has a safe and affordable home. It encourages state and local governments to use the plan as a blueprint for developing their own strategic plan and for setting their own ambitious goals for 2025. The plan is built around six pillars: three foundations--Equity, Data and Evidence, and Collaboration--and three solutions--Housing and Support, Crisis Response, and Prevention." You can view the implementation plan and guidance pate at the following link:

Erin, Executive Director

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