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Ways to help those who are homeless that will benefit us all

By Staff | Feb 17, 2021

To the editor:

As a community we need to come together as one and help find different ways to help those who are homeless besides handing out money and crying not in my back yard. We may need to look at other programs from different parts of the country and around the world and find the ones that will help us help. I am not saying that one size fits all (like it says in some clothes and we all know that’s not true all the time) but find ways to modify them to work for our community and for those who are homeless here in Lee county. We may be able to use a program like this one that is used in parts of California.

https://homelessgardenproject.org/ this is part of their story: In May of 1990, the Citizens Committee for the Homeless, a Santa Cruz County nonprofit, began a new project by opening the gates of an organic garden on Pelton Avenue. The Homeless Garden Project would provide job training and meaningful work in a therapeutic environment. The Homeless Garden Project began as a place to provide sanctuary, refuge, and meaningful work within the healing space of the organic farm. Blossoming over time and furthering the project’s benefits, the farm harvests have provided an opportunity to support our vision and community through our CSA program, farm stand, and crafts, which are sold at our local Santa Cruz stores and on-line.

https://housingfirsteurope.eu/countries/finland/ Since the mid 1980’s tackling homelessness has almost continuously been a focus of Government programs in Finland. During recent years Finland has been the only country in the European Union with decreasing numbers on homelessness.

The Finnish Housing First approach was introduced in 2007 as a housing solution for the most vulnerable homeless people. Permanent housing based on a normal lease and individually tailored support services were the core elements in the approach. Increasing the supply of affordable rental housing was necessary. Also, preventive measures were reinforced. Since then, hostels have been converted into supported housing units with independent flats for the tenants and several social housing organizations have provided housing for the programme. New ways to support people and to improve integration in the neighborhood have been developed.

https://thhi.org/shelter-and-housing/ Our purpose is to lead the Tampa/Hillsborough County Continuum of Care (CoC) in collaboration with agencies in order to develop and provide innovative solutions to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring in Hillsborough County.

This collaboration with a wide range of partners (homeless service providers, government officials, advocates, business and community leaders, and people who are homeless) engages and mobilizes systems of care on a local, regional and national level to develop effective prevention and intervention services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.


What Veterans Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Homelessness Should do for Help

Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are strongly encouraged to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance. If Veterans do not have access to a phone or the internet, only then are they to visit their closest VA medical center without calling in advance. VA also urges Veterans who are not homeless or at risk of homelessness to contact their VA medical center before visiting for any reason. These steps are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Each VA facility has created separate areas or zones to isolate Veterans with possible or confirmed COVID-19 from uninfected patients who need other routine and emergent care. VA is also identifying appropriate quarantine options for Veterans who are homeless to receive treatment if they are symptomatic or screen positive for COVID-19 but are not ill enough for hospital-level care.

No Veteran Should Be Without a Place to Call Home

VA is committed to ending homelessness among Veterans. Our focus is threefold:

• Conducting coordinated outreach to proactively seek out Veterans in need of assistance.

• Connecting homeless and at-risk Veterans with housing solutions, health care, community employment services and other required supports.

• Collaborating with federal, state and local agencies; employers; housing providers, faith-based and community nonprofits; and others to expand employment and affordable housing options for Veterans exiting homelessness

These are just a few sites we can go to and be able to find solutions that work for us here in Lee county, some way there is help for the homeless and I hope we as citizens of this great county can come up with ways to help and leading the way for the rest of the country to follow our example, beside crying not in my back yard.

Steven Comstock

Cape Coral