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Arlington Gets Praise In First Year Of ’100 Homes’ Campaign

by Aaron Kraut — July 26, 2012 at 10:30 am 2,686 46 Comments

Earlier this month, the 2012 National Conference on Ending Homelessness recognized Arlington County as one of 15 communities nationwide that are “on track” to end homelessness among the medically vulnerable within four years.

The claim is based on a benchmark set by the National Alliance to End Homelessness — cities or counties that moved 2.5 percent of their chronically ill homeless population into permanent housing each month made the list.

Arlington’s “100 Homes” campaign, a partnership with the nonprofit A-SPAN, put about 30 homeless people with life-threatening medical issues into permanent, federally-funded supported housing since starting up last October.

“It does actually cost the community a lot more to leave them homeless,” said A-SPAN Director of Development Jan-Michael Sacharko. “If you can keep people out of the emergency room, out of shelters, out of jails, you save a lot more money.”

The initiative, an outgrowth of the national “100,000 Homes” campaign, was cost-free, Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick said.

And it rallied significant volunteer support. About 180 volunteers went out at 4 a.m. for three days last fall to survey the homeless and check for those with hypothermia, chronic kidney disease, AIDS, HIV or other diseases.

“We’ve always had data on people who were homeless in Arlington,” Larrick said. “This was the most specific.”

Larrick said the survey found 113 “extremely vulnerable” homeless people. The 30 who moved into permanent housing did so with existing county and federal housing programs. Many are clients of A-SPAN, which provides individual case managers to track progress.

As of Arlington’s last count, which came in January, there are 451 homeless people on the streets and in homeless shelters, Larrick said.

Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief

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  • novasteve

    It would be even easier to end homelessness in arlington if they didn’t try to attract homeless people to arlington in the first place.

    • scubasteve

      I know right, they should stop mailing fliers to the homeless people’s addresses letting them know of our Homelessness Program. Should probably stop advertising on tv too or place ads on the internet. Homeless people will see that and drive to Arlington to become homeless. What are they thinking? Stop attracting the homeless!!

    • KalashniKEV

      +1

      I think we all know what time it is…

    • Arlanon

      Seriously? Snark about this?? Most of these homeless are mentally ill. I know, as a family member works at the psych unit at VA Hospital Center. These poor people are admitted, but since they have no insurance, they are then discharged to the street, where (as they are mentally ill) they cannot continue with their meds and the cycle continues. Also, many are veterans with serious mental issues post war. And worst of all, many of them have families who refuse to acknowledge them or help provide long term care.

      • NorthArlingTim

        + 10000

        I worked for a homeless shelter in Falls Church for six years. Then I went on to work @ Arlington County Section 8 (ugh) and Fairfax County Public Assistance (double ugh). There used to be a time when just about every homeless person in RB knew me and addressed me by my name. The stories I could have told you … people used to tell me I should write a book.

        Thank you for making that so clear, Arlanon.

        (ugh is what it’s like working for county governments. Gosh, I hated those jobs, and obviously NOT because of the homeless – I really liked a lot of them).

  • nunya

    there’s a guy [looks like santa claus] who lives at the bus stop underneath the skywalk by key bridge marriott. i sometimes see him plugged in to a light pole in the gateway park checking his emails.

    • KalashniKEV

      He’s managing his portfolio on eTrade.

    • Jim Moron

      I’ve seen this guy as well. Has a laptop and he often uses the free WiFi at Starbucks. God bless America. Someone get this man a “cost free” home!

      • CW

        He has lived there for all the years I have been here. He doesn’t seem to bother anyone and I have never seen him asking for handouts.

        • nunya

          ive seen him at the corner of lynn and lee, where you get off 66, panhandling.

  • bobco85

    I was shocked to see the number so high at 451. I think the 100 Homes campaign is a great community service. I’d much rather have the homeless in shelters than on the streets, as I think they have a much better chance at getting back up on their feet and they are far less likely to develop illnesses (mental and physical).

    I recommend looking at the statistics generated from the survey completed last October. Here is a link to it: Registry Week Facts and Figures. I was shocked at the number of ER visits that were made by the homeless people surveyed.

    • IP678

      The homeless around here are the invisible type. Look at other cities, in San Francisco they’re around to sell you weed. In New York they’ll clean your windshield. You know, make themselves useful. Arlington has the most non-vibrant homeless of anywhere I know.

      • Jim Moron

        The NYC bums mostly stopped cleaning windshields under the Giuliani administration. It’s pretty rare to see them nowadays. The broken windows theory worked.

        • KalashniKEV

          “The broken windows theory worked.”

          +1000
          It shouldn’t be a theory, it’s a Law.

          • Josh S

            DC police tried to implement it and the only result was an increase in citizen resentment, refusal to cooperate with information about crimes, increased danger to cops, etc.

            Even the inventors of the theory have denounced the zero-tolerance approach as being an ineffective exaggeration of what they were getting at.

      • NorthArlingTim

        No, they’re not invisible – you just have to know how to see them.

    • UA

      FACT: #1 911 call for Fire Departments/EMS in Washington Metro is from the Homeless wanting a sandwich. They make the free 911 call and say they are in a medical emergency “usually chest pains” and get transported to the hospital and get a sandwich there.

      NYC: #1 call is for being trapped in an elevator

      • bobco85

        Please provide your sources of information.

        • UA

          IAFF.org

          • bobco85

            I didn’t find anything to prove your claim from the IAFF website. The only references to homeless people are those that were saved by firefighters and charitable acts (firefighters providing sandwiches and other food and water to homeless people).

  • B22201

    Are you still considered homeless if you camp out in the same place each day/night in a shelter? Like the guy in the park as you go down towards Roosevelt Island on the Custis trail. He’s got a whole house built complete with a fence, and that seems to be okay with the Park Service for the past 5 years or so, or whomever owns that land. The guy near the Key Bridge Marriott. Just up from there on the other side of their parking garage is another “house”. The guys that camp out behind Wilson School each night drinking beer.

    If we want to end homelessness, how about making it illegal to panhandle? Give money to places like ASPAN or whomever else will do good with the money. It would also get rid of those that are probably not homeless, but would rather not really work. Like the woman that sits outside of the Rosslyn Metro with her 5 “birthdays” a year, “3 kids” that need Easter Baskets, School Supplies, Christmas Presents, or whatever else she can come up with that week. How does one know she doesn’t need money? Because she walks away from her mail bin with money in it. If you NEED money, you don’t walk away with cash in your bin.

    • KalashniKEV

      It’s an alternative lifestyle.

    • novasteve

      Panhandling is free speech. However they could criminalize giving homeless people money.

      • UA

        Loitering

      • ArlingtonWay

        Or creating a hazzard by walking in traffic begging from the median strip.

      • KalashniKEV

        So is Stolen Valor, apparently.

      • porkchop_milkshake

        Not anymore. They declared giving money “speech” with Citizens United.

        • drax

          Nope. It was Buckley v. Valeo, 40 years ago, and it didn’t say money is speech, it said spending money on speech is part of the right of speech.

    • SomeGuy

      I try to feel/show compassion for homeless people (NOT in the form of giving them money on the sidewalk). But I don’t know which Rosslyn panhandler I find more objectionable: the “homeless” woman mentioned by B22201 who needs a new fan every week in the summer, coats for her 3 kids every week in the winter, etc. sob story du jour before calling for a ride at the end of her evening panhandling shift… or the guy with the cane who “subtly” urinates in the nearby garage and either harasses pedestrians or is their best friend depending on how his drinking schedule plays out that morning.

      I find the actions of passers-by who reward their antics objectionable in all cases. These two give homeless people a bad name.

      • B22201

        Cane guy wearing scrubs. As long as I say “hi” he’s okay each day with me. But yes, I know to step over the urine stream coming from that loading dock each morning once I figured out why it was always there. He can be also be quite loud and abusive towards people when he’s had a few drinks. Aside from his issues, he does keep his 20 feet of hanging out space very clean by picking up cigarette butts and whatever else might need sweeping each day.

  • novasteve

    Can’t wait for Arlington to become more like San Francisco!

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Human-waste-shuts-down-BART-escalators-3735981.php

    • Josh S

      58 degrees and overcast? Yeah, me too, brother, me too!!

      • KalashniKEV

        I think he means trolley cars and QUAINT CHARM.

  • Cletus Van Damme

    Meanwhile, the gentleman in this photo spends everyday at the bus yard down by S. Glebe Road and then trudges up to Pentagon Row to sleep every night under the bridge back in some brush. No home for him, eh? But we can make him the picture in this post. For people who know his story, I’d appreciate it you’d take his picture down in connection with this post. This was a poor decision to use it on your part Arlington Now.

    • KalashniKEV

      Why?
      Tell us his story…

      • Cletus Van Damme

        Sorry KEV, no food for trolls.

        • KalashniKEV

          Well, you’ve certainly piqued my interest…

          Why is it a “poor decision?”
          (I would say sleeping in the bushes is a poor decision… but we all do it once in a while…)

        • Interested

          Actually Cletus, I would like to know his story and I’m not a troll. I see him in the 100 degree heat sitting there at Glebe and Eads and wonder if he’s ok.

    • SomeGuy

      Cletus, I wouldn’t want to have my likeness posted on ArlNow either, regardless of the circumstances. However, I’m not sure you’re the poster child for objection to this type of offending material unless you have express written permission from a certain Phillies player whose photo you’ve taken as your avatar.

      That said, ArlNow’s policies are entirely inconsistent and whimsical, so you’ll just have to catch its purveyor on the right day to achieve removal of the picture above.

      • buzzrbtr

        That’s tough talk coming from a guy without an avatar. Comeback when you are ThatGuy.

        ARLNOW should have published the mans name, story, and tried to help this gentleman versus pump up Arlington County, and use this man’s picture to increase hits.

        • SomeGuy

          I wasn’t objecting to Cletus’ point for any reason except his own “offending” use of someone else’s image, which is likely being done without permission. That’s why his concern about ArlNow’s doing the same thing seemed ironic to me.

          Wasn’t tough talk. Just a keen observation.

          • buzzrbtr

            Here’s a keen observation for you. Without a copyright, the picture is fair game.

          • KalashniKEV

            Actually, 1) in public 2) not for profit, is fair game.

          • SomeGuy

            Here’s an observation for you: the picture of the baseball player is almost certainly copyrighted, but one might be able to make a “fair use” argument for Cletus’ usage of it. You’re still missing the point though. I wasn’t discussing the legality of it Cletus’ usage (ArlNow’s usage is legal too). I was discussing the irony.

      • Josh S

        Careful, they’re pretty sensitive around here and will boot you out for continued criticism.

  • b0rk

    I know of that guy in the story photo — I’d pass him on the way to work every day. He pushes his cart and duffle bag down from Army Navy to the corner of Eads and S. Glebe every day to sit on that traffic island next to the poop plant in the hot sun. I have no idea why he goes there and just sits with his head propped on his hands, next to a sewage processing plant. It’s ungodly hot and smelly out there. Why not down 100 yards south to the creek?

    Guys like this need help. I’m OK with programs that use modest tax dollars to give it to them. My internal libertarian hates it, but my sense of humanity overrides.

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