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July 30, 2005
Interview: National Coalition For the Homeless
Michael Stoops is the acting executive director of the Washington D.C. based National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). He held an online discussion on July 26th to discuss homelessness in Washington D.C. as well as the progress of the NCH.
One of the first questions asked about mental illness was how many homeless people have a mental illness? By going to a homeless shelter do they get help for their disorder or just a place to sleep? In response Stoops stated that about 30% of the homeless are mentally ill and half of all shelters give food and shelter while the other half also provide such things as case management and health services. Unfortunately, there is a higher need for such services than there are resources that provide them.
Stoops states that the three major causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, lack of affordable health care, and low paying jobs. Stoops believes that if those three main issues were addressed in America we could reduce the homeless population by 50%. Another question was asked regarding whether food was preferable to give to the homeless or instead something like t-shirts or toothbrushes was better. Stoops believes that the best thing that you can give to the homeless is your time or friendship. Getting to know the person and their story will help you understand them and will give them someone to talk to. This also gives you a way to find out what they need rather than just guessing.
Here is an excerpt of the interview:
Michael Stoops: You can't always tell by looks alone someone's physical and mental health status. For all the homeless folks that are out there there are simply not enough services. So while it is easy to blame the victim we should also ask ourselves why we don't have the programs available" (Washington Post, 2005).
At the end of the interview Michael Stoops states :
The source of this article is the Washington Post.
A Full Copy of the Interview is here: Interview Transcript
Posted by christine at July 30, 2005 02:25 PM
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