Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tis the Season
Local News--The Nashville City Paper reports on disturbing, growing trend here: more and more homeless families are being denied shelter for lack of space.
On a chilly night last month, Safe Haven Family Shelter, a local nonprofit serving homeless families, was forced to turn away more than 700 families looking for a place to spend the night.
[Safe HavenÂ’s Executive Director Bruce] Newport said 700 requests per night from families looking for shelter arenÂ’t unusual.
So, how close are we taccommodatingng this need? The Safe Haven shelter, one of only 2 substantial family shelters in the entire state, has "9 rooms and 6 transitional homes" for families. For more than 700 nightly requests.

Why are there no more shelter space for families? Because the federal government, which subsidizes a fair percentage of local efforts to shelter the homeless, is focusing its funding attention on "chronic homelessness." That's a fabulous idea, but it's defined as "an unaccompanied disabled individual who has been continuously homeless for over a year." Families don't fit the definition. Unless they split up.

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