Monday, November 12, 2012

Program Model Proposal

When I was a young guttersnipe, working full-time and homeless, I was briefly a resident of Guerrero House, a transitional living program for aged-out foster kids and homeless youth in San Francisco.  It provided housing, case management, access to psychiatric and counseling services, vocational training, a savings component, and structured activities that included assistance with learning much-needed life skills.  It was a highly successful program that resulted in a low recidivism rate and was a positive influence on the lives of many people.  One didn't have to be an out-and-out junky eligible for Walden House; Guerrero House (much like Larkin Street Youth Service's ATI) was for you if your problem was simply homelessness and a lack of material stability.

I suggest a proposal be made to the likes of Swords to Plowshares or the Veterans Administration.  I am the son of a Vietnam veteran and know first hand many returning soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen suffer from a whole host of physical and psychological problems that can often manifest as drug addiction, domestic violence, and unemployability or at least hard-to-resolve workplace issues.  It stands to reason that a transitional living program along the lines of Guerrero House, set in an urban area such as San Francisco, could prove beneficial to returning veterans.  Instead of ending up on the street, struggling to make their way, they could ease back into life "in the world," and learn how to readjust to civilian life and stabilize themselves with the assistance of the surrounding community.  Those who need continued physical rehabilitation would be able to maintain a consistent schedule instead of missing appointments because they're struggling to survive homelessness, for instance.  And imagine what a keen source of prospective employees the program would be for employers on the look-out for resourceful, disciplined self-starters?  I could spend all day extolling this concept...