Written by Scott Sowle Oct. 7, 2005

President Bush made it top priority in 2001 to get to the root causes of homelessness. He reactivated the US Interagency Council on Homelessness and provided more funding for programs.

The Executive Director of the Interagency, Philip Mangano, who was appointed by the President, has been making a whirlwind tour of the US promoting an end to chronic homelessness.

In his visits to the US cities who have implemented a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, Mr. Mangano delivers great enthusiasm in his speeches. The Bush appointed homeless czar rallies the advocates, service providers and organizations together and explains the need to "think outside of the box". Mr. Mangano also states that, "Our strategy begins in the White House and extends to the street in collaboration with state and local government, homeless and mainstream providers and advocates, and homeless people." He also states that "We can reach into a disaster (Hurricane Katrina) and bring out something that is redemptive in the lives of those who have been chronically homeless."

The 10 Year Plans that are being implemented throughout the US and 3 territories focus on providing permanent "housing first" to the chronically homeless. It is found that chronic homelessness consists of less than 20% of the homeless population but consumes more than 50% of funds available for support. Through ending chronic homelessness, service providers will be left with more funds to use for the temporary homeless.

Throughout the country numerous organizations, local and state governments, advocates and private individuals have stepped forward to collaborate on 10 Year Plans in their states and communities. Their main concern now is funding. This year the President has made it promise to cut the budget and many of these cuts are aimed towards programs that would fund the need to end chronic homelessness.

President Bush supports ending homelessness but yet is calling for budget cuts that fund it. When Mr. Mangano is asked about this issue, he is quick to avert to other subjects. If the President wants to stick to his guns and support ending homelessness in the US, he then needs to find other areas to cut spending other than the programs that fund the efforts to end chronic homelessness.

The plans have been devised the programs implemented and the states and communities enthusiastic about ending chronic homelessness, but is President Bush willing to continue supporting this need or will he attempt to skirt it?

If you are supportive about the need to end chronic homelessness in your state and your community, today is the time to contact your Senators and express your concerns about the cuts aimed at vital funding programs.

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