The current debate about the emergency shelter program has very narrow parameters. The Senate Appropriations Committee is pondering the House’s addition of $21 million to the Budget Adjustment Act, that would extend the motel program from March 31 to June 30. The Scott administration, staring down the barrel of a losing battle which would (rightly) paint Governor Nice Guy as a heartless Scrooge, has proposed $11 million to shelter some people during those three months.
$21 million versus $11 million. That’s the debate.
Well, it shouldn’t be.
This week, to absolutely no notice from Our Political Press, a coalition of housing advocacy groups presented a plan that would actually provide a bridge for the unhoused instead of a cliff. It is, in fact, called “Bridges to Housing.” The plan isn’t meant as gospel; the groups decided to lay out one idea of what a solid plan would look like, just to show that it can be done.
Because, you know, the current debate still involves a cliff. It’s a matter of when we let recipients fall off the edge — March 31, June 30, or a mish-mosh in between.
This plan ought to spark some serious discussion, not to mention soul-searching, in the corridors of power. Will it? The fact that it got zero press attention would suggest that it will not.Continue reading