Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)
9/5/2007 10:00:00 AM
Mayor Nickels announces $3.5 million
to help end homelessness
Money provides permanent supportive
housing units for homeless people
SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels today announced his 2008 proposed budget includes $3.5 million to help fund 84 permanent supportive housing studio apartments for chronically homeless people. Half the units at the Plymouth Housing Group’s First and Cedar project would use a “Housing First” model, which combines homeless housing with important in-house medical and mental health services and other support programs.
“For too long, we attempted to manage homelessness through a system that in many cases provides little more than a mattress for the night,” said Nickels. “Housing First seeks to break the cycle of homelessness by offering a safe, clean place to call home - and much more.”
There are an estimated 500 to 700 chronically homeless individuals in Seattle frequently using emergency services for treatment of mental illness or addiction to drugs and alcohol. The Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness has outlined a strategy to shift from a shelter-based, emergency response system to an approach that promptly moves people into housing with necessary services. Stabilizing this population through a Housing First strategy will reduce costs or increase access to those systems for homeless people who can achieve stability through less intensive interventions.
“We appreciate Mayor Nickels’ support in the effort to end chronic homelessness,” said Paul Lambros, Plymouth Housing Group executive director. “By providing people with a safe and supportive place to call home, this funding will help people regain control of their lives and begin the work towards self-sufficiency.”
“We are grateful to the city of Seattle for the continued support of the Ten-Year Plan and for the new funding to create additional units of supportive housing for homeless individuals,” said Bill Block, director of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. “The participation and commitment of our many regional partners helps us to maximize our resources and achieve the greatest return on our investments, allowing us to create not just new housing but also hope and healthier futures for individuals and families across King County.”
Combining services with housing reflects a shift from the “reactive” emergency shelter approach to the “proactive” housing first model. National studies have shown homeless families and individuals are more responsive to interventions and social services after they are safely in permanent housing. Providing on-site services reduces the use of emergency services and improves both tenant health and the efficient use of public resources.
The mayor presents his 2008 budget proposal to the City Council on Sept 17 at 2 p.m.. Watch it live on the Seattle Channel.
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