Reno's HELP is catching on elsewhere
November 27, 2002 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Riding the dog gets some folks home to loved ones or care takers. For a few, the bus is home. Reno News and Review's Deidre Pike takes a look at Reno, Nevada's Homeless Evaluation Liaison Program (HELP). Other cities have taken notice, and have begun to consider similar programs modeled after Reno's.
posted by mr_crash_davis (2 comments total)
This happy little human-interest-for-the-holidays story comes off all sweet, but isn't their HELP program just a bandaid for the problem? If other cities start similar programs, won't they just end up blowing lots of money shuffling people they don't want from city to city?
posted by maniactown at 2:27 PM on November 27, 2002

Sure it's a band-aid, but it's a potentially helpful one if considered in the long term...

Many folks leave their "homes" at the beginnings of their hard core addictions, at the beginning stages of their mental illness, because they are sliding downward so very fast. Their families often don't realize til they're gone (and on the streets) how severe the problem is. They may try to "get them back" to no avail, because the sufferer can't see their way home, or see their way to help, or they just can't find them. But knowing that a caring family or some other social support awaits them at "home," then helping them physically get there, could very well lead to long term help for them. Just knowing and seeing that a caring presence exists for you might be a spur to getting more help - and if you can't get home cause you can't afford a bus ticket, you may have lost an opportunity.

That, and the fact that the people involved seem to be treating their clients with such care and humanity (perhaps the first time some of them have experienced that), makes me think it's a beneficial project.

I know, it's not a cure, but it could be a step, and for that, I thank the HELP folks. I thought this was a beautiful article.

Please also note in the article where it points out that "handouts" aren't going to help someone in the long term - they can often temporarily assuage a homeless person's cold or hunger, but often can contribute to a day to day scraping by to the detriment of longer term solutions (also contributes to continued alcoholism and drug abuse, in many cases).
posted by tristeza at 6:04 PM on November 27, 2002

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