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Housing comes first

A proven way to help the homeless who can't help themselves: First provide shelter, and the other solutions will follow

By Christine Donnelly

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 02, 2014

~~<p>The method hailed as the best way to end chronic homelessness was born of desperation more than two decades ago on the streets of New York City: Psychologist Sam Tsemberis despaired seeing his severely mentally ill, drug addicted or alcoholic patients cycle from the streets to jail, psychiatric wards, homeless shelters and back to the streets.</p>
<p>He knew that what they needed most was a permanent home -- a simple, decent rental in the neighborhood. But the standard protocol at the time would never get them there, because the client had to stop drinking, for example, to be deemed &quot;housing ready.&quot; Tsemberis flipped that model: He moved homeless people straight into their own apartments and simultaneously offered intensive treatment to help them achieve mental stability, lead healthier lives and join the broader community. Rather than &quot;if you do this, you can come inside,&quot; the message was &quot;come inside, and let's do this.&quot;</p>
~~

The method hailed as the best way to end chronic homelessness was born of desperation more than two decades ago on the streets of New York City: Psychologist Sam Tsemberis despaired seeing his severely mentally ill, drug addicted or alcoholic patients cycle from the streets to jail, psychiatric wards, homeless shelters and back to the streets.

He knew that what they needed most was a permanent home -- a simple, decent rental in the neighborhood. But the standard protocol at the time would never get them there, because the client had to stop drinking, for example, to be deemed "housing ready." Tsemberis flipped that model: He moved homeless people straight into their own apartments and simultaneously offered intensive treatment to help them achieve mental stability, lead healthier lives and join the broader community. Rather than "if you do this, you can come inside," the message was "come inside, and let's do this." Login for more...



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