Sunday, November 30, 2014

Important Dallas Morning News Piece re Discharge of Persons Experiencing Homelessness from Hospitals

Check out this important piece in the Metro section:

This story, like many others, highlights the importance of all service providers operating in a system-like manner. The Dallas area Continuum of Care, and MDHA as its lead agency is actively developing a "coordinated access" system, that will enable providers to do just that.

One thing this type of system will do, is make sure that persons experiencing homelessness are never just discharged from a hospital, mental health institution, prison, jail, etc. to the street.

One of the things this article emphasizes is a point that comes up again and again in any discussion of homelessness. Obviously, we should do the right thing by our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness, because it is more humane. However, humanity aside, smarter approaches to the problem of homelessness not only don't cost more; they always end up saving tons of money!

So, why don't we do these things already? One reason is just habit and inertia. However, often, it is because the costs, benefits and savings are in different places across the system, rather than in one place.

Once again, this is the reasoning behind the legal requirement that each community have a CoC, with a lead agency, to bring all the different parties to the table. This, along with HUD requiring communities to form a coordinated access system, helps communities shake that inertia, and step up to the plate, change and operate like a system. This system not only serves end users better, but saves you and me money, as taxpayers.

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