Explicitly invite faith-based and nonprofits to participate in goals beyond HUD's reach by itself
A city homeless shelter in my state closed a month early, due to lack of funds. In the article about this, I noted the below statement:
Twelve churches and synagogues also volunteered to house homeless men in January and February, diverting a dozen men from the shelters during the busiest and coldest months.
Where in the plan, and on HUD's website, is the encouragement and support for groups supporting the larger mission of which HUD is a part, but not the whole? HUD cannot solve America's problems by itself. Problems cannot be solved from the level they were created at, one must go to a new level, as Einstein noted. If a church wanted to help out, what are the model policies they need to have? What do they need to know for their insurance carriers? Do they need to secure a part of their building, i.e. not let people roam freely? Do they have to have someone on site, to oversee? Is 1 person enough? Do(es) that person or persons have to be awake the whole night? Many churches, but not all, have some kind of commercial kitchen space. For those that don't, what are typical requirements? Do you have cost-effective recipes for meals that taste good? How would such an organization post what it's doing on HUD's one stop shopping website, to solicit donations of clothing, say? Maybe even in specific sizes? I read in the paper that the need for domestic violence shelters way outstrips supply. For an organization wanting to help that problem, the same questions apply, and they would need security, at least the security of anonymity. HUD is not Santa Claus, and cannot do the whole thing by itself. It never could. No one entity can. No one entity ever could. How is HUD planning to do this? What relationship is there with the Workforce Development boards, to get homeless people job training, where appropriate? Where is the one-stop shopping website to get all these questions answered, without having to resort to Google? Where the 12 major areas that need to be covered are cited, with hot links leading out to resources lists, where one can follow these intuitively, without a lot of computer knowledge, or knowledge of HUD? The Department of Veteran's Affairs has a Home Based Primary Care program. Really. Where is HUD's description of this program, in a place that lists all similar programs, where clients can post information since HUD staff can't know everything? Where is the description of Medicaid Waiver programs, on that same list?
My mother took in a homeless woman, and her 2 children, in the late 1970's, at a time and place where shelters other than jails did not exist. One major piece of information that one needs to know, in doing this, is the resentment people who have to accept charity feel. With rare exceptions, people want to be or become self-sufficient, as soon as possible. Where is the HUD resource page, that tells people how to become self-sufficient? That lays out at least one path, if not several, with resources coming off each page of progress? That tells success stories, told by people who got off welfare, or out of a shelter? If Chicken Soup for the Soul books can list such stories, why can't HUD? What about resources and ideas recommended by people who have already made it? HUD talks about Knowledge Management. What about capturing the knowledge of people who have gone through the homeless system, who have gotten off welfare, who graduated from subsidized housing into market rate housing? Many of these people want to give back, to help others. Where is HUD's web page that welcomes input of these ideas, into something like an Active Server Page? You know, if people could share knowledge like this- you could even use something like a flip video camera, and have video on YouTube, of people talking about how they overcame problems? Where are these resources? Why aren't they part of the plan? How can you possibly hope to accomplish some parts of this plan, without resources like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr3K8vxKw1c&feature=related people are already posting useful stuff. But it's not easy to find, you have to know what subject, and then to go through the entire catalog. Why can't people post hot links to a HUD site, or satellite site, and also rate them the way books and comments are rated, on Amazon? The plan talks about this, but doesn't talk about implementing. We need to get started now.
Every successful nonprofit I've ever seen says it starts with opening your mouth, and asking, and asking, and asking. The Insurance industry has what they call their "tigers", who expect 50 nos, before they get to a yes. If you say no to them, on the telephone, they actually say thank you, as that is one more call closer to the yes. Why isn't HUD asking? In detail? Why isn't HUD helping its clients to ask? How can HUD possibly achieve the goals laid out, if it does not do this?
Someone is going to say that doing all this is somebody else's job. That's just great. When you say that, unknown person, how about you track down that somebody else, and get them off their lazy behind, into action? Because they haven't been doing it. The problem will never be solved with that attitude. I donate useful items to a program that helps people coming out of shelters. It's not my job, I don't get paid for it, and I pay for those items out of my own pocket. If I don't do it, nobody else does it. If just 10% of America's population did this, just 10%, many of these problems would be far less than they are. All of us need to find ways to sell the idea of helping out. If Native American tribal nations can do it, with far fewer resources, then we can, also.