You guys rock at reviewing my copy… can you please do it again? Tell me if anything is unclear in this piece. Did you read all the way through it, or skim? Is it too long? Did you want more information? And especially tell me if it leaves you with positive or negative feelings about Nifty Agency. Thank you!
A point of clarity– Nifty Agency serves only people with AIDS, a fact that is already known to anybody who would be reading the newsletter in question.
More points of clarity: this newsletter goes out to the friends and supporters of Nifty Agency. The article is intended to explain the Housing First concept.
HOMELESS NO MORE
Housing First. It’s a simple but powerful concept.
If you live on the street, every aspect of your life suffers. If you have no bathroom you can’t wash yourself. If you have no kitchen you can’t store and cook nourishing food. If you have no refrigerator you can’t keep perishable medications in usable condition.
In the desperation of living without the security of a home, you may find it hard to make good, safe choices.
The philosophy of Housing First asserts the basic human right to shelter, with no conditions attached. A person who is ill, struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, or in need of counseling can deal with those problems only if their most basic needs are met first.
King County is in the midst of an ambitious undertaking: The Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Not reduce it. Not make it invisible to tourists. End it.
A huge Catch-22 stands in the way of housing for all. Most programs that provide supportive housing services require clients to be clean and sober. Yet often it is the people who are not clean and sober that need supportive housing the most.
Imagine you have a disease like AIDS or tuberculosis that must be treated with multiple doses of medicine every day. Are you more likely to successfully adhere to your medication schedule while living in a safe, secure home, or while bouncing from shelter to shelter or sleeping on the street?
Similarly, treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is best undertaken while stably housed.
Nifty Agency supports the Ten-Year Plan in concept and in deed. Last year three quarters of the residents admitted to our program had lived on the streets. We care for those that need us, even if they can’t pay. Even if they’re mentally ill. Even if they’re struggling with addiction.
In a safe, secure environment, health improves. Home cooked meals bolster the immune system as well as the soul. Caregivers ensure that medication is taken on time.
A Housing First approach for people with AIDS serves the dual purpose of providing compassionate assistance for those in need and reducing the spread of the disease. Studies show that individuals with homes engage in less risky behavior than those on the street.
Each year as winter approaches the critical nature of the housing crisis becomes clear. We salute King County and numerous other communities across the United States that have taken on the challenge to end homelessness in ten years. We at Nifty Agency are proud to do our part.