David Brancaccio of the great news program NOW finally asked the Bush Administration about their dramatic cuts to housing at the same time they are "solving" homelessness. I have waited for five years for the answer to this question. At least Mr. Brancaccio asked the question, but there was no answer; just spin. Brancaccio asks Philip Mangano, leading homeless car salesman for President Bush, about all the cuts proposed by the Administration in the face of claiming to "solve homelessness."
BRANCACCIO: Does it frustrate you when you see this administration, in its budgets, cutting back money for programs like that?The Coalition agrees that Housing First initiatives are great, and that it proves that mentally ill and drug addicted people can live in housing. These homeless individuals do not have to cure themselves before society offers them housing. The unspoken truths are that we are going to have a big price tag to sustain these operations, and it is a raindrop in an river of need. It is hypocritical to destroy public housing while putting millions into permanent supportive housing. The administration seems to be saying public housing is an experiment that America has tried since 1946 and we still not sure that it works so we choose to put one one thousandth of that money into the Housing First movement which we are sure will work because it is so successful over the last decade. Where does the rest of the money go that is cut from HUD and Dept of Agriculture? Iraq, defense, homeland security and drug companies are the places we have decided to put our federal tax dollars.
MANGANO: No one has an intent, whether in Congress or in this administration, to increase homelessness, but we're still wrestling with how to best apply housing resources to get a better effect. It's only as we've concentrated resources on people experiencing chronic homelessness, to create change where change was thought to be impossible. The promise of that, is that as the numbers of people on the streets go down, that will re-moralize us to invest more in the other populations.
It was a good segment, which you can watch online. I wish more media would start challenging the spin in Washington DC.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.