WWL>Topics>>4-16-14 1:10pm Angela: on ending homelessness

4-16-14 1:10pm Angela: on ending homelessness

Apr 16, 2014|

Angela talks about the push to end chronic homelessness with crisis intervention specialist Cecile Tebo, UNITY director Kathleen North, and Dannie Conner, a man who overcame being homeless.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well I hope you're having a glorious day because it is that outside. I know some -- you saying oh my gosh it's too cool. My theory is for every cool thing -- -- just not. So it is glorious out there. And I think we have three very good shows -- The first two definitely good news stories. And the third I've so looks forward to we're getting the chief of police that she surpassed itself. I hope you'll join us from three to four have if you know just listen to what he has to say he's got. Some things going on in with guts and big questions forum. But time I'm so glad that he's coming back. But we're gonna begin with have you noticed fewer homeless people on the streets of New Orleans lately. Well you shouldn't because the numbers are down drastically. Because of a systematic program by unity for the homeless. And it is not finished. Your biggest goal is to end homelessness in New Orleans by the tenth anniversary. Of Katrina. Here to talk about what unity has been doing. And its goal of eliminating homelessness. Is Kathleen north. Who is the director of unity supportive housing registry. Cecile Tivo a crisis intervention specialist. Did any -- who was formally homeless. And very shortly we're going to be joined by retired judge Calvin Johnson who also just retired from the metropolitan human services district. And everybody says he's not retiring from anything else. But we have a lot to talk about it you know -- look at these numbers lesson I just was overwhelmed. Incredible. What you'll have achieved in I think relatively short period of time from 4579. People. Into -- 2013 down to 677. Yeah I mean in one short hour how to -- it. -- we have focused. On the chronically homeless and what we realized this that. In a lot of people fallen -- suspect -- state there. The chronically homeless. Have a lot. Their needs are a lot greater they're very ill often. We have something called vulnerability index that census there. Likelihood of dying in the next few years and almost half of them will score as -- vulnerable. And so we realize setup we wanted to and homelessness in recent of people that use a lot of the resources to it and the ones that Kennedy ER's frequently there I'm. Jailed frequently I don't know pop ever -- chronically almost -- has spent some time in jail. And they they're the ones that used shelters will not all of them but a lot of them do. So there's a lot of resources that are used but none of -- and homelessness and we said you know we really want to. Be effective. We're gonna have to focus our resources. On this population. So you started win and you just one at a time. Well yes but yeah we started. Cents after Katrina as you know. Population doubled and shortly there after we started. -- it's been a process we started doing something called housing first and we had -- on the that a forehand that really. Focus more on house in -- which meant that we didn't people jump throw these tips for healthy that they used to have protectorate. You know they didn't have to get stable on the excitement on the street they didn't have to get clean first so we started. Really pushing housing first and that chronically homeless people were able to get in the house -- In ways that they never had before. And over the last year ex couple years we've done we participated in a 100000 -- campaign which is a national effort and chronic homelessness and in the last year even we double the numbers of chronic homeless every month we try to get in about sixty a month and house. Again just four for all of our listeners and myself could you more clearly defined chronic vs it's more situation. Right chronic it's in order to be classified as chronically homeless you had to have been homeless for at least a year. Straight and that means living on the streets. In an abandoned building in a shelter. Or in your vehicle it's we don't include couch surfers in that period. Or you had to have four episodes. Of homelessness and the last three years so that means you. You're homeless some time in the may be somebody lets you stay at their house for a few months and -- -- homeless again. Maybe get a job and you get into an apartment for a little while -- -- homeless again. That that would. I -- wanted to talk to Danny Connor and I I wanna say. How much I appreciate you coming on because it as I said to you this test to be very difficult subject and it you're very break. And I'm gonna just sort of some not size a little bit the information on hand. Which ones you want you went to portray. Humor in the marine reserves. You were living your life you're married you hand a good job. And then Katrina hit. Yes ma'am. Thank you from it's allowed me to be here. It's working trigger everything was fine you're fine apartment for 500 dollars. But after Katrina Ayers thing just went you know haywire. In my illness I have arthritis real -- my concern that theory. But with the grace of god in unity and other programs in the city taken some of the homes people. All the streets. My situation. Name you know situation in my family. Is kind of hard try to take -- -- when united critical of the work. And then trying to -- some weapons Leo you know that's what Greece and I'll end up homeless because in my condition. So eat you when your wife split I guess you're sad and yet I know that you were a superhero and Katrina this is a guy that was. Getting people on boats and saving lives I mean you've been through at all. I guess man Katrina. It was something. It was something I can't explain that is right. Rescuing people out the houses. The year on the porch you know passing of both the newsstand. Can you help us -- them bring -- bring to the school. -- living in Ali growing Carrick an area I was bringing people down -- highway in my boat. Bring him to debris it's the National Guard taken from there and bring them to you know to shelters in San Antonio Houston where it was bringing them. And I keep it at all what the two days bring people back and pull it utility National Guard as the leaders and their people he said no we were about -- anything not to did. And as -- you know in us as -- once scenario but when I came back to new laws and things have changed a lot of band and houses and in what have you jobs would net clinical. And who's tough with a you ended up essentially living on the street are yes ma'am and you only live like that for a couple of years to be honest two years now. Tough. Yes he was was literally living under the bridge. Hundred creates bad and howls. On it -- it where is he knew where he has help alleviate casting out the weather. You know I think all of us listening have seen you have seen people and wonder why can't they just. Find a job why can't they find a house what is it what are we -- Their conditions why can't I and house -- found a job for so why can't find a job some people have healed this that they can't allow them work. Like in my situation I have chronic arthritis and -- -- I need to care raise concerns bone on bone. So are gonna go to work but how long can I work a week two weeks you know you know and is -- -- kind of Holland. Didn't try to go to work and trying to save enough money to get a house would get paid a deposit whatever. Situation everybody had different situations different anybody in the homes. Home is not. Low income people -- to be for anybody if you don't have anybody here and you huge what can you do. You think. You just sent it. We're gonna take a break we're gonna come back and we're gonna talk about. What unity did for -- and for others run activist -- -- under the W. We are talking about the -- Really the successes of the unity for the homeless. Helping so many homeless get homes so the numbers are way down but we still have some very significant issues. I loved that Danny Connor would tell his story of spending two years on the streets and again I hope you heard it. This is a man who had just what we would call regular life. And after Katrina and things fell apart as it did for many. Loss at home ultimately he and his wife divorced he could not get a job because of illness and he lived on the street for two years. What was the turning point -- that you got help. The turning perjury when I help is when a lady came -- -- and Robert for unity -- in. How long you've been on the street I think I'm down before Wallace he said would you. -- -- teachers that wanna come back and -- application that you came back on two days later brought the app I was surprised he came to the two days later and probably applications you say it was application out. They get their called knock on pick it up. And that aren't on I haven't contacted at about two months. You know for one reason other you know human assets on a winnable but -- she did not the contact her. He says he worked up public support of housing and house you know and I was -- you know I thought they act as sales -- because that's the other guys they look at our houses. They say 81 with the one appeal to streak but I know I want to go to street this idea whatever it took to get out to street could admit. When I got my birth that if they do when I got my surly kid because the everything they ask me to do and I did it and nine days after out multiple -- how then house. How did you live on the street and how did you find food. That's one thing about new laws is you want is publicity. Because everybody they have different programs -- churches. They have the rebuilt scanner data different shelters. They have all places people -- churches come to a under debris -- to bring people home I mean right on sad is the pranks on my ninth time today. On Sundays without -- this time it 'cause everybody that church. But on Sunday -- do have. Three of four people bring in a different organization bring people to the people on the debris it. OK let's go back to where we are and where we need to be Cecile you have from. You've been all over the with a I didn't know where to begin with the -- but I mean you and your your crisis intervention but you're also. But recently retire I take recently in time flies when you're having it relate to -- are retired as commander in New Orleans place department crisis. And did that challenge. That we still haven't certainly it was a huge glaring challenge after Katrina because -- percent limited services. But the challenge really which continues to be is that coordination. But the services. That we do path. And -- they are they heard they error but it's a matter of getting people to them -- minutes matter. But those services on talking with one another and I'm really call it a village leaders and village for wellness. And and when you're working with a chronically mentally ill. You need a lot of players in that village and that includes caseworkers the family that consumers. Housing specialist medical specialists landlords. Your insurance folks administrators. Lobbyists block enforcement. Does are the main players when look at that village proponents. In what happens is if one doesn't talk to the others so somebody. Goes into the hospital. And make it discharge without talking to the rest of the village that person and starts at square -- If you -- And you been receiving all of these services and you can -- longer than thirty days your services are no longer available to you. And there is nobody out there are taking hinted that individual. And getting them back into the village in getting the village. To speak to one another. Winning it does happen. You know win you do have somebody like me you're tackling taking him when it happens we see wellness. But there needs to be the well that those people because we have so. Home many people living. In the shadows of our city who are suffering from homelessness and chronic mental illness. And we need to welcome the professionals. To be part of that village and Calvin Johnson who were gonna talk to later with recruited and two. Metropolitan. He did that. He -- the red to. Gathered that feeling -- build an amazing village for twelve minutes. In it simply now getting those folks to be part of getting them to walk and getting somebody to help them coordinate those services. Let me ask Kathleen. Of those could you say there are 6077. I think still to find homes for -- these that you just don't have the homes are they reluctant. Because I understand some homeless don't wanna be on the street. Well I have to tell you I tell everybody including multifamily one at one point said that to me. I've never really meant a homeless person that didn't want to be in house thing I've met homeless people who. Are very mentally ill and who may -- are scared or don't wanna jump through the hoops but. If we spend their time in and that's part of the resource problem that we have but I agree with Cecile that a lot more -- nation needs to happen. But some of the issue is is that. We. We have. Mental health services at different levels and we have will be contact team now focus on. People that are severely mentally ill. But the engagement piece you know when it takes an outreach worker 400 times to go out and finally convince somebody that they can be trusted. And we get amend how few people -- and holds the 2030 years okay. It can happen but it's time intensive and that we don't have enough -- We don't have enough people and able to do that. But no I don't believe that people wanna be homeless I don't think they wanna be bitten by rats I don't think they wanna be raped I don't think they wanna be insulted. I don't think they wanna have become non people where nobody looks at them anymore that's one of the hardest things that they deal with -- people just don't look at them. They don't interact with them now they don't want any of that they don't wanna be cold. Or hot or bitten by spiders. In -- they they don't. And what they. What they do want is for people treat them with respect and and for us to be able to get them. Enact reasonable way into a house without having to jump through this -- that make no sense you know I think this is not the first but. We haven't heard a lot about the program to find the house and -- it's been more. I'm going to shelters food and the resistance at times because an in our understanding is they don't wanna play by the rules of the shelter. So sheltering is the emergency thing right vs. We want you to have your own apartment right or is shared with another person or are these are single note some people share but but often -- single and I can tell you it's. When you consider that resources that are used for someone to stay on the street whether it's like -- before their emergency rooms or whether it's shelters whenever. It's really more cost effective for someone to go into an apartment. And this is yet thanked -- often when they go into an apartment. That alone will help stabilize their psych psychiatric symptoms and if they didn't use scene. Alcohol or drugs often they're able to let that go or they're not using as much and there will begin and the treatment. The key is is to get them in the house and it's better for the attack. Tires and it's better for the client. OK you know we're gonna do we're gonna take a break and go to the newsroom but let's talk about what this is costing -- now let's go to the newsroom and Chris Miller. Kathleen not north with unity for the homeless -- Tebow -- Who was just a firecracker. Crisis intervention specialists and social worker center. And our new friend -- Connor who. Lived through homelessness for two years and now is hopefully on the other side of it and has told his story. What we're talking about. All of the positives that are happening in getting so many of these people. In housing now which as you keep saying Kathleen is the first -- again and housing and then the other issues and if -- -- at Cecile. The new plug them into the very services. And yet one wonders what is this costing how. How do you pay for the apartment if they need the mental help hounded me -- I would assume and maybe I'm wrong that many of these people. Have never had to pay a bill they don't know how to -- check -- in all of those. Life skills. Where does that come into play well when you look at an iPad. Actual numbers and I can actually send it to you because there been many many studies on the S and when you look at the cost for institutionalization. And inpatient care and jail. Which is where 80%. At these folks end up without getting involved and a program like unity. The cost for unity program even though we're talking about this big village and on these folks need to be involved. It's like is 60%. Deep crease and cost to our citizens -- taxpayers easy it. Is significantly. Lower. And and the -- part of it is that for the consumer for the person struggling -- outcomes Ers ball much batterer. For lots of the past but theories still sort of this on you know this it. Marlin gust and has 80%. Of our -- He is our largest. Provider. For inpatient mental health care he has sixty dad's. Jess set aside for the chronically mentally know which -- all. Every day. And it's not the place that in these folks need to -- for about this because what happens. It's after they're done with their discharge this eat right and -- and you know. Hopefully. -- we're really only getting the tip of the iceberg Willie. I mean what where we are our numbers are looking really good but the reality is. There are so many are that are in need these services in many of these people are medically. -- -- and mental illness is medical right. And but -- it it does not get the same respect in the medical community are reimbursement rates aren't even close to being equitable if you had a heart disease cancer diabetes and mental illness is more prevalent and I'll read as combined with the reimbursement rates are so much hot or you can go in the hospital. And be treated for heart disease he can be treated for diabetes she can be treated for epilepsy beach can't be treated for mental illness. Even know -- -- a medical -- treatment I received his medical discriminate ultimately I don't understand aka want somebody in the hospital and and be told. We don't have any -- for him her. They -- for every other medical to signal that is the chipping away the stigma that is a tragedy. And true tragedy it back to the but the housing that -- doing and the work that your doing. It is through Medicaid. Well. We have different. Hud funds housing. Along with other funding sources but predominantly -- And you know we got some good resources that came through after Katrina it from the hurricane recovery money. And so we have. We have Powell seen not enough OK but we have it. What Medicaid where Medicaid plays a role is that we get it when you were saying earlier about people going in the house and you need needing support of services. Okay said. Sometimes when people go into a house all kind of things can happen that would make them fall -- as a as we say in the field -- of the housing. Somebody can take advantage of them and we've had people kicked out of their apartment bias a local drug dealer that took it over. We've had people that don't really know how to negotiate their needs with. Landlords or. Get the medical care that they need or there's all kind of things -- you that can happen but it behalf supports our as the most of our people once -- get in the house and they study in house team. We have a pretty high success -- with. They stay -- -- fall back out but that's because of the support services. So Medicaid is paying current than most of the medical serve. The support services now the problem that would have been as. Is that in this state. Recently we stopped dealing Medicaid disability. So with that means is is that a disabled person and our people aren't just mentally you know which battle alone is enough. They have heart disease they have cancer we have people on the streets that are on kidney dialysis. We have people that he should be getting phone Merrill transplants but they don't because they have no word stay in the doctors won't do it because they know that they are homeless. And I they won't be able to recover. So you have all that and yet even if they have all about OK we have people that. Are so sick you just would not believe it -- he -- yourself they can't get Medicaid in the state and lest they get SSI. Well you know of their people with children that can get a that this particular population which is the -- that. Biggest portion of homeless and that's a certain age group they're not old enough to get. Retirement benefits but. They need the Medicaid and the only way that they can get a does that again on SSI. And that's tough to do and it's very difficult I can take a really long time as. Many talented yeah. You know why it took me six. Six month but the thing about it they give you many -- but the Medicaid they give you is you -- -- certain places. But it when you get as as I -- you know -- McKee but what about the people. That not able to get -- as high because of the condition in the ought to -- part of Mickey. You know and when you get it's it's not automatic Medicaid to expand. Right so this is what's happening you want an example earlier. So we have a lady that recently died that would we had gotten the housing and she's going ten times a week. To an emergency -- to get her treatment for these major mechanical medical problems that she has. And because she has she's Thomas the site yet she's not able to get on society. So if you look at ten visits a week at a thousand dollars a visit that's 101000 dollars a week that were hanging. When she could just be on Medicaid she can have a primary care doc. You know a lot of that visits that she's going would be done in a primary care box office. So it's it's it's situation that is not the taxpayers in Louisiana ought to be really outraged by this. No I hear you and and it's. You know what is the voice and -- Baton Rouge sang we got to change this system. Make it more efficient where is that -- we got a caller let's take the call bread very quickly. Oh -- Important topic. I am currently dealing with a friend that's. What was it make it from -- -- And you know and in. Currently I'm wondering about money here from your Kia. Is she is already Klein. Out and news services and yet even that. Probably seen him -- -- and count so. And we can't appeal and we frankly it -- -- took off yesterday in central and said. The -- we don't need right. And I want and she would fault why steel for the current. Even cut back laughable. I'm wondering whether there might be housing. Upper atmosphere in the night in the shelter in or. Otherwise. Coming up the state we're in and I am really worried about this issue. I think there is Som. If she has a disability. There something we call the state permits part of housing program. That she may qualify for. In how many -- number off the top of my head -- to -- -- right. 5685468. In that doesn't work call me I'm Kathleen. At 8994589. Extension. 111. Oh okay. So in that such -- 899. 4589. Extension 111 and I can only -- -- -- that number on that's coming back. Hopefully that's a little different I think any parent -- The social worker and you know. Appreciate. Larger issue which you're immediate solution that we need. Is meant people. Should face eviction. You know even if they'd be wrong and I'll and I'll say with Mike brand. I think the current met her old landlord you know -- -- -- a profit. Got the -- -- -- the to a victim but I can tell you that it wasn't able to get a hold -- me in my -- to capture her possession and actually put him in my driveway. And we sorted through Clinton has been very European. That people would mail and should not stop her conviction -- -- her client. And I don't we got a possible election coming up that's all that frankly we need to reform here people don't. Don't deserve to be objective. I agree yeah I think that that's act that week. And I know -- this and say you and I need to talk about that too because I haven't even I haven't even touched upon act. 181 of the other things as we talk about the residential peace because that really has -- out. And you know whether somebody in an -- -- referring to those with chronic mental illness you have to have a stable place to live whether it be in a relative's home. Whether it be in a permanent supportive housing with a supportive services because it's gonna fail without. Any have to have this wraparound services. Or we're now one of the things I've been involved and it's a program that is called a community shared living program it's not a license group home but it is. 87 folks all living within their own community to -- -- and it is actually defense of mental illness that are running this program. And I really I can honestly tell you I was not a believer. And I ended up at this program in New York I stayed there for a couple of days it's one of the oldest programs around. And I came back and I went oh my god this is this is gonna work and we start with one resident and we have 87 and they live together as a community and these are folks really have not been able to make it independently. And our goal ultimately is to get everybody an independent living but. Sometimes being part of that community. It some like I think I am -- eating -- you know hey it works because your -- visitors sharing in the same disability. And and they're such strength that comes from that and deceive folks that -- to go one swap roles well you know be eradicated weapons. And their house managers. Are an -- I mean it is but not it is completely changed my train of thought because when I left the police department I was looking at buying old ceremony -- And because I really felt that we needed blocking -- and after being a part of this now for two years I see that that clearly is not the case. We'll have to take a break but we're but we're talking about now is hope just -- with this stay. -- We are talking about homelessness in New Orleans in the strides that are being made and they are absolutely being made. Kathleen you were talking about can always use more housing is that all around this area. Yes it is now we do we do something we cults what we -- a fixed sites where. An on line our congressman Keller building. Has a mixture of people have been formally homeless and low income. But most of our house in spots are scattered around city and so people get to choose where they wanna live. Any use you we're told a couple of years of coming now you what you found your own place. -- -- And -- river in Algiers now. As the real nice community mostly senior citizens but is mr. nice. I had time -- Iran Algiers and never lived over here still but it means you audited and I'm I'm blessed to have my own home you know. No problems. You know policy anybody and enable -- -- stand that but Izturis peacefully and I really love it. And he's a good neighbor and -- I think graphs and no but that's great so you feel like your life is back oh yes yes ma'am calm our plan and around on back to school. You know that's the -- That is terrific role when new. Wrap that up you come back on and tell us what you're doing and we'll just continue. The life of Dan aren't -- -- Graham has spent I think the point is. Yes so many of it is mentally ill but it's also people who hit hard times. And that can happen all of us that right. And you could be on the street could be a month that could be for six months from Danny's case two years but you've got. Angela we need to landlords we need to we need people willing ran at an affordable affordable rate in making. If you don't mommy plugin as they can call Pam Callahan an 8994589. Extension 114. If they're willing to do that -- we need people who are willing to employ. Almost eight and you know and people liked to have drive by and again a child up their car window that hey we need employers will -- to hire them. And not be afraid you know you mentioned stigma. And unfortunately. When something really bad happens. Officer -- -- cotton you know who allegedly was killed by a gentleman with chronic mental illness. We reflect on that and we don't look at the thousands and thousands and Danny's. You know who have reached recovery who have reached wellness. And are so available. And and -- Because our financial situation is so -- to meet the needs of these programs we have to happen community people involved. And I like -- seeing out to everyone his listening come be part of the bill that she hits the cool just. Village in the world be part of I wake up every morning and I agreed to race. And the ability. To work with this population because I hope I'm giving something to them that they get something to meet each and every day. I got home with such. Chile and breed bullets and mines are and to be you know being right here next to an end to see. What he has achieved. It's life it's all it's -- -- yes and it's and it's it's why we are here it's hurt. Stay with these aren't the lights. Stay with this will be right. I want to thank Kathleen north and Cecile Tebow but especially -- -- thank you thank you for telling your story you have you're you're living you're living it. It can happen. You can become on homeless. Thank you for all you do and he's a little -- lady -- -- it happens stay with us we're going to be talking about a completely different subject it's court watch. What's happening in our courts right after this.