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May 10, 2013


My post about the homeless brought loads of emails.  Not all were kisses, some were bricks.

I am in on the trick, am well aware that my style offends some folks in non-profits and local government.  Even the Fourth Estate...

Lots of folks wanted to know why I was so harsh with IHS and US Vets.

After years of providing help to the homeless, they are no more able to sole homelessness than anyone else.  Truth be told, there is money to be made in collecting an endless stream of cash to provide services.  Directors of the two programmes make a good living doing good.  Regardless of mistakes, they have folks convinced that they are on the cutting edge of helping the homeless.  They have data to back them up.

Folks who are 'au fait' with this blog know quite a bit about the old geezer.  I am at my best when adding personal experience to the story being told.  This story should be no different.

I have dealt with mental illness the whole of my life.  PTSD and Bi-Polar.  Two big issues to deal with.  I have been lucky.  When times were darkest, there were folks who loved me and got me to doctors.  I have been in hospital, done years of treatment and come to accept the reality of taking medication to control my mental illness.  I am honest with myself.  Facing the stigma of mental illness was not easy to come by, but when it was faced, it made living with mental illness more easy to cope with.

Every day I sit and listen to homeless folks talk.  Every day I meet folks who are mentally ill, some more ill than others.  Many of the folks living uncovered are mentally ill.  Many of the homeless do not have the courage to face their illness.  Most do not have anyone left who cares.

Years past, Hawaii had loads of places that helped the mentally ill get help in coping with the struggle of life.  Most of the programmes that helped the mentally ill have had monies taken from and the ability to service this very needy homeless group is under served.  Trained professionals who knew how to reach troubled souls are not so readily available.  Programmes that helped the mentally ill homeless get help getting off the street find funding hard to come by.

Honolulu is trying to find answers to the homeless problem.  The mayor gets loads of advice from folks who say they are able to deal with the problem.  Right, so long as funding comes their way.  IHS is not in the mental health business.  Serving the needs of the mentally ill is not something they do well.  I hear the stories and I have personal experience as to their lack of understanding of how to deal with the mentally ill.  US Vets is capable of helping folks, so long as they can pay their own way, or the government provides a grant to cover the cost.  I doubt that either non-profit really knows how to reach out to the mentally ill homeless.  Mind, they will get it a good try if there is a grant to be had.

It may well be that Honolulu needs to run its own homeless programme.  Stop passing the buck to non-profits that clearly have not had much luck in lowering the number of mentally ill living uncovered.

When the state of Hawaii took funding from mental health programmes, it had to know on some level that the cost to society was going to rise.

There is no easy fix to getting homeless folks in housing.  Offering housing to mentally ill and abusers of drugs and alcohol without conditions is not the answer.  Mind, IHS and US Vet will roll out data that supports this approach.  What a waste of money.


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Posted: Friday May 10, 2013, 11:05 pm
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Rob Defrees
male, age 67, single
Hilo, HI, USA
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