Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Economist, the Homeless and Medicine Hat

HANDING a homeless alcoholic the keys to a free furnished flat may seem foolish, unfair or both. That was certainly what Ted Clugston, the mayor of Medicine Hat, a Canadian town of 61,000, used to think—but experience has changed his mind. No-strings housing offers have helped bring the town within sight of a goal it set itself five years ago: to end homelessness by 2015. At the time over 1,000 people passed through its homeless shelters each year, many between spells on the street. If the municipality succeeds, it will be the first in North America to do so.
In 1992 Sam Tsemberis, a professor of psychiatry at New York University, started a programme that turned that sequence on its head. Pathways to Housing gave rough sleepers furnished flats in poor districts. Medical care, treatment for addiction and help in learning to cook, pay bills and so on were offered, but not required. After five years 88% remained housed.

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