Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Letters to the Editor

Homeless service systems must change

Your May 15 editorial “Cutting shelters” includes incorrect information about funding for centralized homelessness assessment. You unfairly place blame for a rift with Toledo shelters solely at the feet of the city administration and Toledo-Lucas County Homelessness Board.

Coordinated assessment, or “so-called centralized intake,” as you call it, is a requirement of both federal and state dollars to support homelessness programs. This is known and attested to by four of the letter signers you refer to in your editorial (Family House, Catholic Charities, St. Paul’s Community Center, and Aurora Project).

They collectively received more than $1.1 million through the homelessness board, which duly reviews and approves funding for local homeless service providers.

The board’s decision to partner with United Way of Greater Toledo for coordinated assessment is grounded in that agency’s long-standing experience and ability to match resources, which reduces costs. The United Way provided exemplary service to the recent homeless prevention and rapid rehousing program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated more than $4 million over three years to our area, serving hundreds of homeless people and at-risk households.

Coordination of our local services is not an option; it is a necessity. Our model maximizes resources and eliminates barriers to permanent housing, and is a nationally recognized, evidence-based model. 

No one can afford to keep doing things the way we’ve always done them.

The case of ending homelessness will be ill-served by inefficient funding, redundant programs, and fractured efforts.

PAUL TECPANECATL

President Toledo-Lucas County Homelessness Board

Toledo

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