Adria Scharf 
Member since Dec 19, 2012



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Re: “The Other Cliff

We appreciate the comments of persons who clearly have familiarity with the existing system for homeless families. This family went through all the official channels and followed up on every lead Lashonda was given. Thankfully, RPS did provide bus service to school for the kids but there were lags during the time the kids were moving around.

We are happy to report that they are moving out of the motel and into a small apartment. This was possible thanks to a church emergency fund and donations from neighbors and friends which covered the security deposit and initial rent. It's the best Christmas gift, knowing they have a roof over their heads for the holidays.

While neighbors and the church have played a crucial role for this family, it's a mistake to think that this is a general solution for families in crisis or an acceptable alternative to a strong safety net. This family benefitted from the social ties they had built over the years by virtue of where they live; not all families in crisis have such networks to draw on.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Adria Scharf on 12/24/2012 at 12:15 PM

Re: “The Other Cliff

There is nothing sensationalist about this story.

The family went to the Dept. of Social Services on Marshall Street and to the Conrad Center Central Intake. Indeed those were her first two stops, after the Red Cross, in the days after the fire. As the article stated, she received assistance from Social Services (specifically: two weeks in a single motel room).

We did not claim there is no safety net. Our point is that the safety net is *grossly insufficient.*

This family needs a housing voucher, subsidized housing, or affordable temporary family housing until they can be permanently housed, because they lost their house in a fire and have no savings. There are literally NO housing vouchers available in this city. Project-based HUD subsidized apartments have wait lists so long that they've been closed. When I worked as a housing advocate in the Boston area in the 1990s there was a priority given on the housing voucher wait lists for families homeless as a result of emergency. Those emergency vouchers apparently no longer exist, unfortunately.

There are also very few transitional housing arrangements that are accepting larger families with older boys.

Our article isn't meant at all to discount the homeless services that do exist in this city. We want to see those services, and transitional and subsidized housing options, better supported, better funded, and expanded.

We want to see a far more substantial "safety net" for larger families with few means who run into situations like this.

The so-called safety net is so hole-ly it's not really a net at all. It certainly didn't catch this family or save them from falling into homelessness.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Adria Scharf on 12/19/2012 at 8:30 AM

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