MANCHESTER (February 27, 2007) – Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta has presented “A Home for Everyone: A 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in the City of Manchester.” While emergency assistance and other programs for individuals in need will always exist, this report shows that there are known practices that are shown to prevent homelessness and helping individuals to return to stabile housing environments.
“This is a call to action. It is time to take a moral stand in declaring homelessness to be unacceptable in our city,” Mayor Guinta said . “Cost studies have demonstrated that it is more expensive to keep people on the streets, incurring the excessive costs of crisis intervention, emergency room health care, and a revolving-door intervention program, than it is to provide permanent supported housing that produces much better outcomes.”
The Mayor’s plan contains eight primary goals and actions, most notably:
- rapidly housing those who may become homeless;
- providing adequate employment to assist those in affording a home;
- increasing access to supportive services; and
- building public awareness on the causes and costs of homelessness
Manchester ’s plan has been developed with the leadership of the Mayor and Patrick Tufts, the President and CEO of Heritage United Way. They serve as the co-chairs of a homelessness task force made up of leaders from a cross-section of the Manchester community. According to Mr. Tufts, Manchester ’s plan was written with the help of an independent facilitator, Pamela Brown, who combined input from the Task Force, individual interviews with various stakeholders, and meetings with numerous community organizations including the Manchester Continuum of Care (MCoC), the Healthy Manchester Leadership Council and the Greater Manchester Association of Social Agencies (GMASA). As a result, this plan represents the insights, commitment, and support of those who know Manchester and the needs of its residents well.
In the course of a year, more than 1,500 people in the City of Manchester experience homelessness, approximately 400 of whom are children. Nationally, one fourth of homeless people are children in homeless families and approximately 26 percent of homeless people are veterans, with the numbers likely to increase from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 20 percent of the homeless population is, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “chronically homeless.” Studies have demonstrated that chronically ill individuals in long-term homelessness utilize community resources costing $40,000 to more than $100,000 per person per year.
Recognizing the high costs of long-term homelessness, cities throughout the United States are demonstrating success in reducing homelessness and improving health outcomes with permanent housing that is combined with intensive supports. These supports cost no more, and often less, than keeping seriously disabled people in long-term homelessness, jails and hospitals.
Maureen Beauregard, President of Manchester-based Families in Transition, an agency that provides safe and affordable to homeless individuals with or without children, says “numerous agencies in the city have been working hard on these issues for many years and are doing exceptional work. However, there are still waiting lists of those in need and too many people still living on the streets in Manchester.”
Manchester ’s plan recognizes the need to make a community-wide commitment to ending homelessness, to increasing the resources available to meet the needs of homeless individuals and to focus on integrated strategies and solutions that will demonstrate an end to homelessness.
Task Force member Cathleen Schmidt, President and CEO of Citizens Bank of New Hampshire, states that, “The vision of Manchester’s plan is that Manchester is a city where all children, adults, and families have access to decent, safe, and affordable housing and the resources needed to sustain it.”
More than 310 cities throughout the U.S. have developed or are committed to developing ten-year plans to end homelessness. Positive results are being reported by cities large and small, including Nashua; Boston; Denver; Seattle; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Portland, Maine; Portland, Ore.; and Columbus, Ohio. Cities that are implementing permanent supportive housing programs are experiencing declines in homelessness as high as 50 to 70 percent. Meanwhile, the greatest cost savings and successes in reducing the numbers of people on the streets come from addressing the needs of the chronically homeless.
“Mayor Guinta and the expansive community task force assembled to create the 10-Year Plan are to be commended for joining a National Partnership to end a moral wrong,” said Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the White House United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The Mayor and the community stakeholders have done their homework in creating a plan that is realistic and will accomplish the mission of reducing and ending the homelessness of those who are the most vulnerable, most disabled, and most expensive in the community.”
Manchester ’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness is intended to continue the efforts that have been underway while additionally addressing the needs of all persons vulnerable to or experiencing homelessness, including families, veterans, single adults, children and youth.
A full copy of Manchester’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness is available through the Mayor’s Office www.manchesternh.gov; or onHeritage United Way’s Web site www.heritageunitedway.org.