On Saturday, January 26th, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a Letter to the Editor from PCEH, describing how the current shelter-based system of solving the homeless problem utterly fails. This letter was in response to an article published the previous Wednesday, entitled “What the Region’s Homeless Need” by By Charles W. Levesque. According to Mr. Levesque,
A new business model is needed. Unfortunately, it’s not clear what that model is. Should shelter housing be increasingly incorporated into and subsidized by market-rate housing? Should every new housing facility for the homeless contain space that can be rented to generate income? Should shelters launch more social enterprises or purchase business franchises to generate revenue and employ residents? Or will such activities distract them from their core missions and diminish their efficacy?
PCEH appreciates the efficacy of asking questions, but these questions are in the context of an assumption that most of the “homeless industrial complex” of Philadelphia has accepted for decades: The shelter system is here to stay–it seems to be working, right?–so what should we do with our wonderful shelter-based program now?
PCEH has received some very interesting responses to our letter. The first one starts out our comments section (see the Comments link, below). A response from PCEH to come.