Understanding Homelessness In Our Community
By Tammy Modic | Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 2:00 pm
Homeless In Our Community

Ending homelessness must begin with the understanding that people who are or have been homeless are our neighbors and members of our community. Public perceptions and attitudes toward persons experiencing homelessness or in danger of becoming homeless need to change in order for positive, long-term solutions to be realized.

Most Americans rarely interact with people who are or who have been homeless. The lack of interaction between different groups of our society, combined with impersonal or inaccurate descriptions of homelessness posed by the media and public officials, contributes to a distancing of those who have housing from those who do not. As a result, homelessness is perceived as an abstract social problem.

Those who experience homelessness are seen as the sources of their own misfortunes, and the socio-economic policies and practices that give rise to homelessness are then too easily ignored. This abstraction, in turn, lessens the degree of urgency and commitment needed to work strategically and consistently toward solutions to end homelessness that are long-term, outcome-based, and not simply responses to crises.

Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing wishes to teach and challenge tomorrow's leaders as well as empower those who have experienced homelessness first-hand, that by fostering an environment of self-worth, respect, and understanding for all people, we can and will end homelessness.

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mental / physical health »

Stable housing and supportive services are critical
From the National Alliance to End Homelessness

About half of people experiencing homelessness suffer from mental health issues. At any given point in time, 45 percent of homeless people report having had indicators of mental health problems during the past year. About 25 percent of the homeless population has serious mental illness, including chronic depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

People experiencing homelessness also have a high rate of substance use. According a 1996 survey, 46 percent of homeless respondents reported having an alcohol use problem in the past year,

and 38 percent reported a problem with drug use in the past year. Mental and physical health problems are exacerbated by living on the streets and in shelters. Health conditions that require ongoing treatment — such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, addiction, and mental illness — are difficult to treat when people are living in shelter or on the streets. Medication can require special steps, including refrigeration or special storage, that can be difficult to execute for people experiencing homelessness. Preventative care can also be difficult for this population to access due to its often prohibitive cost, so people experiencing homelessness may wait to seek medical care until a trip to the emergency room is necessary.

These mental and physical health conditions should be considered when designing effective, efficient strategies to end homelessness. Permanent supportive housing provides stable housing coupled with supportive services as needed – a cost-effective solution to homelessness for those with the most severe health, mental health, and substance use challenges.

Directors Corner »

Some Numbers To Think About
By Tammy Modic - NATH Executive Director | Posted: Monday, February 1st., 2016 8:00 pm

Some numbers to think about after 5 years

19,643 Shelter nights 453 Unduplicated individuals
381 Adults 270 males (all)
234 adult males 199 left to permanent housing
183 females (all) 146 adult females
142 left to temporary housing 108 stayed 31 to 60 days
106 were 35-44 years old 91 stayed 61 to 90 days

85 stated mental health issues 80 stayed 0-7 days 78 years old - oldest resident
72 children 71 were 25-34 years old 67 stated physically handicapped
65 no exit destination 60 stayed 8 to 14 days 53 stayed 91+ days
44 were 55-61 years old 36 male children 36 female children
35 stayed 22 to 30 days 35 were under age of 5 34 reported they were vets
26 stayed 15 to 21 days 24 were 5-12 years old 18 left to institutions
18 stated alcohol abuse 18 stated disabilities 14 stated chronic health issues
13 were 13-17 years old 13 stated drug abuse 10 stated alcohol & drug abuse
7 were 62+ years old 2 days old - youngest resident  

These numbers paint a picture of who came to Frederick Place as well as housing success stories

People often ask me how do I know we are making a difference? These numbers tell part of the story. The other way I know we are successful is when we are told by current and former residents with words as well as with actions. Actions come in the form of donations of food, clothing, money, time and talents from former residents. I also know we are making a difference in the community when groups and individuals fund raise on our behalf.

Stay tuned for many more numbers to think about in the following years to come


Tammy Modic
- NATH Executive Director