No credibility, no urgency

posted by Mike on April 7th, 2006

On March 7, the Worcester City Manager’s office released a report that called for a five-year plan to end homelessness.

It doesn’t inspire much confidence.

The report’s second sentence admits that it comes out of the same process that brought us the city’s anti-panhandling plan. Almost none of that plan was implemented. The parts that were implemented were failures.

Should we expect anything different from the anti-homelessness plan?

In any case, five years is far too long. If the city wants to be in the business of ending homelessness, what is needed is a focused one-year plan with clear priorities. The City Manager’s report is scattered, reads like a laundry list of concerns, and avoids making tough choices about what really matters.

It is unfortunate that city government has no credibility and no sense of urgency on homelessness. Homelessness hurts all of us, and we each have a role to play in ending it.


Last month during a presentation, I gave my harsh critique of the failed anti-panhandling plan, and inadvertantly offended a city employee in my audience. So I should say that I’m not pointing fingers at people, or at departments, but at processes.

For the “good cop” to my “bad cop,” see Ron Madnick’s take.

Kevin Ksen points out the NPR story “Priest Tends to Mexico City’s Dump Dwellers.” My personal anti-poverty plan: more practicing Christians.

Mr. Moynihan of the Telegram & Gazette sees a much brighter picture:

Mr. O’Brien [the City Manager] assigned administrative responsibility for the Worcester dimension of [producing a homelessness plan] to Jill C. Dagilis, commissioner of health and human services. He further illustrated his seriousness by recommending creation of a new position in Ms. Dagilis’ department dedicated to coordinating work on homelessness.


Ms. Dagilis reportedly has been examining “best practices” in other cities and will seek to develop “good neighbor policies” as well as “fair share analysis.”

So the priority assigned by the mayor to homelessness is apparently being honored vigorously by the manager and the council.

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