Letters to the Editor

Focus on HUD money

The May 15 article, Lobbyist Book calling shots in homeless fight in Dade, is misdirected.

The crisis created by HUD’s decision not to fund $5.5 million worth of transitional housing and treatment for our homeless population was turned into a montage and disjointed criticism of our community’s steward for the homeless, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

Our frustration over HUD’s decision should be directed squarely at the source of the problem. It appears that in a rush to redirect funding to their treatment du jour, HUD has ignored the tried and tested transitional models that, in Miami’s case, have yielded nationally recognized excellence in assisting the homeless in regaining self-sufficiency and independence.

No other metropolitan area has enjoyed greater success than Miami-Dade County in balancing aid to its homeless residents. While our street populations have shown steady decline over the past 20-plus years, other urban centers have experienced dramatic increases in unsheltered homeless residents.

This phenomenon hasn’t occurred by chance. The outstanding leadership of our county commission and members of the continuum of care managed and led by the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, with Ron Book as chair, guided our community to achieve unprecedented results.

Let’s focus our attention on ensuring that HUD reevaluates its decision to jeopardize our delicate balance of care, rather than ill-advised snipes at the model that has worked so well in the past.

Carlos R. Fernandez-Guzman, chair, Chapman

Partnership, Miami