Showing posts with label transitional housing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transitional housing. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Homeless Terms To Know - Transitional Housing

Transitional Housing is the name given to homeless programs that require the homeless to participate in rehabilitation. 

Of all the misused terms in the homelessness industry, “transitional housing” is the most abused.   And, the programs called “transitional housing” are the most problematic.

First of all, the term “transitional housing” is a misnomer, being that houses, (or homes of any kind), are not actually involved.  In truth, the living arrangements of a transitional housing facility are no different than in regular homeless shelters – dormitory style with several people assigned to each room, all functions are operated in mass, with no opportunity for privacy or individuality.

Being that homeless shelters also provide rehab programs of one kind or another, the only real difference between transitional housing and a regular homeless shelter is that in transitional housing the rehab is mandatory.

The rehabilitation that takes place in transitional housing is supposed to prepare, or retrain, a person for a return to life in mainstream society.  Yet the effectiveness of the programs offered have not been proven to effectively prepare a homeless person for “real life”. Certainly, the basic life skills that are taught in transitional housing facilities are important to learn, yet a lack of these skills has not be proven to cause homelessness. Nor does mastery of these skills prevent homelessness.

Because of these and other factors, a movement is in progress to stop the creation of any more transitional housing programs and to repurpose current transitional housing programs into something more efficient and effective in ending homelessness.

Back to Homeless Terms To Know

Saturday, November 29, 2008


On Monday, everything will begin to change here at The Homeless Guy. More blogging. Video broadcasting. Being in the mix, as it were.

The main thing that has come to light during the past 6 months of "transitional housing" is that I do not stay on the "housing" path on my own. Sure, if someone else takes the lead, and I'm allowed to follow, and be supportive, sure, I can have myself some housing - a house, a home. But not on my own. And even if I was to take the lead, and I had some solid and constant support, like from a loving caring family, sure, then I could achieve housing, a home. But not on my own. Not left to my own devises. Then I wander, I roam. Purpose, intention, priorities flow around, in and out, glow and fade, ebb and flow - anything but become static and solidify. The mix is never allowed to harden enough to support the weight of consistent place.

This "transitional housing" program that I have been in for the past 6 months has not worked for me. And I was unable to work for it. Perhaps this happened because this program revealed itself to not be what I was led to believe. This was not a "housing first" program, but only Section 8 housing, with a twist. Housing First was what I hoped for - what I believed I was to receive.

There may very well be some Nashville homeless people in the Housing First program, put together by the Nashville Metro Homelessness Commission, but not me. Most people would not know the difference, nor think the difference to be significant. But it is, especially when the potential outcomes can be extremely varied.

Section 8 housing vouchers - federal grants that help pay a person's rent when they can't - have always been in short supply. So local governments have always had to set priorities, as far as who would receive them. Well, it has always been the case, at least in Nashville, that single male homeless were last on that list. Which given the rarity of section 8 vouchers, meant that single male homeless never received them. Well, what the Homelessness Commission has done, being that it is an arm of the metro social services, is to allocate a few of the vouchers for single male homeless. Yippie - this means that some homeless men would now be able to receive federal assistance in paying their rent. It is a good thing, in one respect. And I'm glad for it - it's very overdue. But for the truly chronically homeless without some sort of income assistance from the get-go, this is not working out too well. These people need a real "Housing First" model by which to rehab. You bet, Housing First is an even lower bar than the Section 8 voucher program. And Housing First is more expensive. Actually, I bet it was the hope of city officials to avoid having to raise public funds by utilizing Section 8, instead of the prescribed Housing First model. Such is the state of politics. The public demands so much, but refuses to pay for it.

I have heard that "some" homeless have been provided true Housing First situations. These were offered to the homeless living at Tent City under highway overpasses. How long things will remain "housing first" for these people, once they are processed into the program and leave Tent City, is anyone's guess. But I imagine that once they accept housing from the city, they will be required to accept Section 8 vouchers to pay for their rent. The main issue with Section 8 is that a person is still required to pay a minimum rent, even if they are not employed. And that once employed, Section 8 will immediately start garnishing a percentage of the person's wages. Considering the high cost of rent, low wages, etc. there would be no way for most people (especially chronically homeless people) to ever get ahead financially to leave poverty. It's hard enough to stay motivated toward busting your ass, knowing that your employment efforts will not get you anywhere, without also trying to rehab from the problems that caused you to become homeless, at the same time.

Yes, case managers are provided, and they are good case managers, as far as case managers go, perhaps the best, but they don't rehab you - they present options, 'middle men' as it were to resources that may or may not help. And resources are few and thinly funded.

Well, the deal with me, and I'm sure for others, is that I need softer kid gloves and more safety nets than the Homelessness Commission currently offers the Chronically Homeless.

This Monday, I'll be returning to life as it was before this, "transitional housing."

I didn't transition.