I read this fascinating article about the very successful application of the “housing first” strategy for ending homelessness at Logan Place in Portland, Maine. As the article explains, “the idea is to offer safe, permanent housing to chronically homeless people as a first rather than as a last resort, and only then attempt to address their mental illnesses, multiple addictions, and physical depredations.”
I love this.
At one point tenant Ed Page talks about meeting with former Portland Police Chief Mike Chitwood, who was not too thrilled about the project: “So he and Swann met with the chief, and after convincing him of their fervor for making the project work, the chief went so far as to hold his monthly officers’ meeting at Logan Place. ‘That was a turning point, when they saw who was actually living here, the same people they used to scrape up off the sidewalks.’ Some they no longer recognized in their new haircuts and better-fed faces–even after being told their names. ‘I think it was then they realized that Logan Place was a solution and not a problem’”