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Letter: Housing First Model is best way to help homeless

Housing First Model is best way to help homeless

In 2013, the total estimated number of people who experienced homelessness in Western New York was 5,754. Emergency shelters and temporary assistance are not enough to get people securely housed. Thus, we leave thousands of our fellow human beings to fend for themselves on the streets.

Homelessness is not a choice. Family issues, health and economic reasons, and loss of job/income all lead to homelessness. As a News article pointed out, the Housing First Model is the most promising approach to addressing homelessness. In Buffalo, the recent opening of the $5.6 million Hope Gardens complex has served as a housing opportunity for chronically homeless women.

The Housing First Model is an approach to combat homelessness. It focuses on providing affordable, stable housing for homeless families and individuals. Housing First doesn’t require people to participate in treatments or take drug tests as a condition to obtain or keep housing. This method of combating homelessness is more cost-effective than current methods of dealing with homelessness; it saves incarceration, emergency/medical and transportation costs. Also, by taking this approach, homeless people are given much more humane treatment.

One way in which the residents of Buffalo can help is by reaching out to city leaders to encourage them to further implement the Housing First Model in our city. Encourage our leaders to provide more funds to organizations such as the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center. This model should become the norm in how homelessness is dealt with in the city, and in return, homelessness will decrease, bettering Buffalo.

Alyssa Wolfe

Carrie Whitford

Buffalo