Friday, July 31, 2009

Fort Worth's plan for the homeless in jeopardy

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I attended a meeting of our neighborhood association (Arlington Heights), where the city's Homelessness Coordinator, Otis Thornton, spoke to us about Directions Home, Fort Worth's plan to get its chronically homeless citizens off the streets within a decade. It included a lot of what sounded like sensible and pragmatic approaches, such as bringing job training to the homeless shelters and providing subsidized transitional housing. From what we heard, it sounded like the program was well conceived and effective, and we were pleased to learn that our city has a thoughtful, dedicated civil servant like Mr. Thornton working on this intractable issue.

Then today, over lunch, I read Dan McGraw's article "Detours Home" in the current issue (July 29th) of the Fort Worth Weekly and learned that the city council is contemplating a cut of $1 million dollars -- a third of its funding -- from the program. It would be a shame, I think, for the city to withdraw funding from a program which has already demonstrated its effectiveness in a problem this city was late in addressing. As one of the fastest growing cities in America, surely we can do better than this. Write or call your council member today and let them know this isn't acceptable.


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