Friday, December 17, 2004

Homeless money
The local op-ed referenced below (read it!)was printed on the same day that our own Mayor Purcell got front-page coverage for issuing his 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness. The headline looks great, in big big words, and if you didn't know better, you'd think the Mayor woke up and decided to tackle homelessness as a primary goal.

I'm glad for him to get the coverage, and hope he's successful, but the truth is we are one of the last cities to develop such a 10-year-plan. Why is that such a common thing now? Because the Bush Administration is tying federal money to having such a long-term blueprint in place. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; I don't know. Only that the motivation here for such a grand announcement is less about concern for the homeless than it is about fear of letting all that money go to waste.

If you don't live in Nashville, your city may have a 10-year plan too. If so, it will be full of responsibility phrases team Bush loves, like "Only services proven effective will be funded." So that's the bad news; just like schools. If we have further increase in homelessness, or it stays the same, we get less money (for failing), not more.

Is this just Phase One, like the Leave No Child Behind fiasco, of a conservative plan to cut government out of the services business all together by "proving" they do a poor job? We'll know when we see Phase Two: Bush touting the great work on the homeless problem by private, and faith-based, programs.

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