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Opinion/Todd Cohen on change – Homeless plans critical

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By Todd Cohen

Homelessness, like other chronic social ills, only will get worse until communities get their act together.

With America’s social safety net in tatters, charities need to take the lead in bringing together players who can make change happen.

And while government support is critical, change depends on public-private partnerships and business planning.

“There’s no appetite to invest any longer in something that’s unplanned,” says Phillip Mangano, executive director of the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The key to ending homelessness, he says, lies in government, business and philanthropy creating market-driven strategies to house people and plug them into economy.

Misguided and hard-hearted government policies and budget cuts have left a growing number of Americans out of work and on the street.

To end homelessness, a growing number of cities are developing 10-year community plans, endorsed by local leaders, Mangano told local officials recently at a meeting convened by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.

With our most vulnerable citizens prey to crushing problems that reflect deep flaws in our social and economic system, mending the social safety net and creating effective lifelines depend on leaders who can push government, business and philanthropy to work together.

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