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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, February 5, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesA Plan to Reduce Homelessness

A Plan to Reduce Homelessness

Dear Source:
I appreciate the coverage given my recent visit on St. Croix to meet with Gov. de Jongh Jr., visit homeless programs, and address the Virgin Islands' Interagency Council.
While your article did a good job covering my remarks, I want to clarify two matters of interest to your readers. First, the title of the article, "Cheapest Help for Homeless is Free Housing," may be misleading. We have learned from research that for those who are the most disabled and vulnerable, the provision of housing is less expensive than their ricocheting through expensive health and law enforcement systems.
But that housing isn't necessarily free. Those placed typically pay 30% of their income for rent. For example, in the 75-unit program cited in Seattle, more than 70% of those placed pay some rent. The stability and security of housing creates a trajectory toward employment, a source of rent.
The intent is to restore dignity, self-esteem and independence. Such self-sufficiency is enhanced by having a place to live and work to do.
Second, in my meeting with Gov. de Jongh and his chief policy person, I found a well thought out receptivity to the innovative approaches that are making a difference in the States. Gov. de Jongh's background in finance and industry makes him a quick study of the business approaches currently creating a reduction in homelessness in many cities across the mainland.
The timing seems right for the Virgin Islands to move forward with a business-informed, results-oriented strategy to reduce and end homelessness. You can be assured of our partnership in Washington.
Philip F. Mangano,
Washington, D.C.

Editor's note: Philip F. Mangano, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, was appointed by President Bush in 2002 to reduce and end homelessness in our nation beginning with a prioritization of those who are on the streets and long term in our shelters. To learn more about 10-Year Plans to end homelessness, please visit www.usich.gov.

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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