THE BLOG
04/17/2013 03:32 pm ET Updated Jun 17, 2013

We Can End Homelessness: This Video Is Proof

Many of you already know my friend Lanny. You followed along the last few years on social media, and you supported Lanny by helping to furnish his new apartment. It took close to four long years to get Lanny into housing. I always say, it's not a miracle when someone is housed -- it's a miracle the system worked! The truth is, if nonprofits actually had the support needed to do Housing First right, and to QUICKLY move people from street to home, we could drastically reduce homelessness and save lots of taxpayer money!

In 1992, Dr. Sam Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing, based on the belief that housing is a basic right for all. Pathways developed the Housing First model that provides immediate access to permanent supported housing; independent apartments and intensive treatment and support services for individuals who are homeless and who have psychiatric disabilities and substance use disorders. The program uses a person-centered harm reduction approach and does not require participation in treatment or sobriety as a precondition for housing.

When I was homelessness, all the support services required that a person be sober for seven days before accessing services. YOU TRY AND STAY SOBER HOMELESS! I could not stay sober for seven minutes much less seven days. Please note, I am not advocating for drinking and using drugs. In fact, quite the opposite. What I am advocating for is DIGNITY! When a person is going to the bathroom behind a McDonald's dumpster life sucks -- let them have a beer! It's nearly impossible to stay sober while living on the streets. In addition, recovery services are disjointed. If you can get someone into detox you can almost bet that recovery centers will not have an open bed. That means you have to take the homeless person back to the park. It's stupid and a frustrating broken system that wastes taxpayer money!

The following video is proof we can end homelessness. Dr. Sam Tsemberis explains the Housing First model against the backdrop of me working to get Lanny into housing, and how being "human again" drastically changed Lanny for the better! Most people have no idea about how Housing First can help end homelessness, which is one of many reasons you need to click here to support @home campaign.

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