‘Giving people a fresh start in life’

    “We help people who are living in their own homes but need support to ensure they are able to keep a roof over their head.” Ola Pedro, Team Leader at St Mungo’s Tenancy Sustainment Team North, tells us about how his team supports people who previously slept rough to live independently in the community.

    St Mungo’s Tenancy Sustainment Team (TST) North works with people who formerly slept rough and who are now housed across North London. Our team supports them to maintain their tenancies and to further develop their skills and confidence to move on into independent accommodation – moving away from homelessness for good.

    We want to make sure people are socially included. We link them with packages of support, as needed – around mental health, substance misuse, employment, ex-offending, offending – as well as other activities to help them sustain their tenancies and feel part of the wider community.

    ‘We carry out home visits to make sure that people are living safely’

    We work with people who are often tackling three or more health and other issues, for example, substance use, risk of offending, and or physical and mental health problems. The sector jargon would be ‘high needs’ clients and they can need a lot more intense one to one support.

    We carry out home visits regularly to check that people are living safely. If there are any issues around their support needs, these can be represented in how they live. For example, if a person is going through severe depression, the state of their property can reveal that. These visits mean we can make sure the person is comfortable in their home, in their area, and to identify any maintenance issues or anything that landlords need to be aware of.

    Benefits are a major issue at the moment. The roll out of Universal Credit has caused a lot of stress for our clients. We are finding many people are having to go without money while their applications are being processed, for six to eight weeks. This is something that TST staff have had to pick up. If not, it creates issues which permeate into every other area of people’s lives and means they need even more support. We help people, for example, by offering food vouchers and topping up their electricity and gas, if needed. We have drop-ins every Monday and Friday, so people can also come in and sit down with us for some support if they want.

    ‘I feel joy when I go home’

    I got into St Mungo’s through volunteering at St Mungo’s Islington Mental Health Team. I tried a corporate job but just didn’t find it rewarding. I like the dynamism of this role – it’s extremely active, you’re never in once place for a long time. I’m the team manager but I also work with clients, I support around 55 clients myself. I’ll visit about four or five clients in one day, each needing different kinds of support, so it’s about balancing that with the managing and admin side of the role.

    I feel joy when I go home as I know I’m making a difference. I’m improving the quality of people’s lives – taking them from a place where they are not so happy to a place where they can feel confident, and our team are part of that process.

    ‘Giving people a fresh start in life’

    I supported one person, for example, who had his tenancy taken over by a group of drug dealers. They were force feeding him crack cocaine and heroin, just so they could use his accommodation to cook and to sell the drugs.

    He didn’t actually tell me this had happened until I got a phone call to say that he’d been admitted into hospital for abscesses on his arms and hands from injecting. He had also been beaten up really badly.

    When I went to the hospital, I had a really long discussion with him about why he didn’t want to tell me this. He said there were a lot of feelings of guilt and shame around why he didn’t want to tell me what had happened.

    We worked together very closely over the next three months and he’s now been rehoused away from that area. He got a chance to start a fresh life and went to rehab. He’s completely clean of the drugs that were forcibly put in his system.

    When I go home and think about that story, that’s what drives me and makes me want to do this job always.

    Protecting the foundations of hostel funding

    Emma Webb, Campaigns Officer, explains why we’ve been campaigning to save hostels…

    Today (on World Homeless Day) we handed in our Save Hostels, Rebuild Lives petition – calling on the government not to put homeless hostels at risk as they change the way supported housing is funded.

    More than 12,000 people signed the petition, and this morning St Mungo’s clients and staff built a model house in Parliament Square displaying the names of some of those signatories. The house was decorated with bricks bearing messages from our clients about what supported housing means to them – things like “hope”, “guidance” and “compassion”.

    When I joined the St Mungo’s campaigns team in August, Save Hostels was already in full swing with 4,500 signatures on the petition. I was new to the homelessness sector and, while it came as no surprise that rough sleeping was on the rise after years of austerity (increasing by 134% since 2010), I was less aware of the pressures on hostels.

    Hostel provision has seen an 18% reduction in bed spaces since 2010, alongside dwindling funding for support contracts from local authorities and mandatory 1% annual rent decreases – all in the face of rising demand for services. The latest proposed changes to supported housing funding (which you can read about in a previous blog) are potentially even more devastating.

    Since then I’ve been visiting St Mungo’s projects and services to get a sense of exactly what’s at stake with these changes. My first visit was to Endsleigh Gardens, a hostel where the basement houses a Bricks and Mortar scheme, teaching residents and other St Mungo’s clients bricklaying and plastering. As well as being an accredited course leading to a diploma and the possibility of paid employment, the scheme boosts people’s confidence and self-esteem.

    I also visited the North London Women’s Hostel, where women who are vulnerable and have support needs are housed with 24 hour support and an on-site counsellor. The hostel provides a safe environment for women who’ve experienced domestic violence or other abuse, while also offering support around physical or mental health problems and drug or alcohol issues.

    Most recently I went to Hope Gardens, a specialist hostel for those who have experienced longer periods of rough sleeping as well as drug or alcohol problems. The hostel recently moved to a new building and in the process was redesigned around residents’ wishes – from decorating the building to overhauling the induction process and incorporating a family room for visits. At the request of residents all posters were removed and what remaining information had to be displayed was framed, transforming the appearance from that of a service to that of a home.

    What these services showed me is that hostels are more than just a place to stay. They provide a home, safety, and the support residents need to rebuild their lives, and that’s why it’s so important that we protect them.

    Homeless hostels provide 30,000 beds a night in England, and currently represent the country’s primary route out of rough sleeping. For those with multiple and complex needs in particular, they are a crucial stepping stone in a person’s journey from the street to independent accommodation.

    That’s why we were at Parliament Square this morning, and why St Mungo’s will continue to make the case for secure and sustainable funding for hostels as government policy develops.

    For now, we’d like to say a huge thank you to the 12,005 supporters who signed the petition, and the 900 campaigners who recently asked their MP to attend today’s debate on the future of supported housing funding. Demonstrating public support for this issue is so important, and that’s what you’ve enabled us to do.

    To be kept up to date on this campaign and to get involved in creating change for people affected by homelessness, sign up to be a St Mungo’s campaigner today.

    Housing First, bringing learning home.

    St Mungo’s is one of the main providers of Housing First projects in England. We manage eight Housing First projects, offering more than 80 bed spaces between them.

    Housing First is an innovative approach in the UK. We’re keen to develop learning about this model and what it can offer. Here’s the second of a two part blog by Louisa Steele, who was part of a Transatlantic Practice Exchange earlier this year, and went to the US to explore how Housing First works with chronically homeless women to promote safety and build resilience. The views are her own.

    ‘A whirlwind of talking to clients and staff’

    As explained in my first blog, I was lucky enough to be one of five people working in homelessness in the UK to get the opportunity to travel to the US to research a topic of their choosing on the issue of homelessness.

    I flew out to Los Angeles at the beginning of May, with the aim of researching how organisations there use the Housing First model to meet the specific and varied needs of homeless women.

    It was a whirlwind and varied two weeks of talking to clients and staff from my host organisation, the Downtown Women’s Centre, visiting other homelessness agencies, going out on home visits with workers and attending meetings at City Hall.

    Before I go any further, I want to emphasise the sheer scale of both Los Angeles, the city, and of its homeless population.

    Los Angeles is vast, divided up into 84 separate cities, mostly only practically navigable by car, and with a stark divide between those that have and those that don’t.

    ‘Women face multiple disadvantage in similar ways to women in the UK’

    I was hosted by and based at the Downtown Women’s Centre on Skid Row. Skid Row is the area of LA where many of the homelessness services are situated, and therefore homeless people gravitate towards it, and in huge numbers. On Skid Row the community of tents stretches over several blocks, and the effects of poverty, substance use, poor mental and physical health are all too plain to see.

    It was clear that many of the women experience multiple disadvantage in similar ways to women in the UK, where poor mental health, experiences of violence and trauma, substance use, and loss of children combine.

    What is different, though, are the lack of options available to help women off the streets. I met many women sleeping in temporary beds in emergency shelters, which are dormitory style and very short term – not comparable to hostels in the UK. Women in shelters have reported high rates of violence and abuse and many women will switch between these, and sleeping out.

    ‘Diversity of services available for women’

    Another major difference is that women on Skid Row are also more likely to be older; 48% of those surveyed by the Downtown Women’s Centre were aged 51-61, therefore physical health is a major issue.

    I think one of the things that struck me the most during my time in LA, was the diversity of services available for women at the Downtown Women’s Centre, each designed around the acknowledgement that each women’s experience of homelessness and current circumstances would be very different, and with an overarching aim to get women permanently housed, as quickly as possible.

    The Downtown Women’s Centre worked with each woman from whatever stage she was at, or position she was in, whether she was street homeless and needed a shower at the day centre, or whether she was living in a tent on the pavement, had long term mental health issues and needed housing and intensive support.

    Trauma informed support was another key aspect in the response to women’s homelessness. Onsite health and wellbeing services provide physical health and specialist trauma support as well as a wide range of activities from walking groups to confidence and resilience building workshops.

    ‘Partnership working a key part of Housing First ethos’

    I was also lucky enough to sit in on a meeting of the Domestic Violence Homelessness Services Coalition, of which the Downtown Women’s Centre are key members, and drivers for change. The coalition represents an important piece of partnership work, aiming to address the gaps between homelessness and domestic violence services, and ultimately achieve system wide change and reduce the number of women experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence. Partnership working of this kind is a key part of the Housing First ethos, and it was inspiring to see such innovative work in action.

    Downtown have also worked incredibly hard and creatively to change the stigma surrounding homeless women in the community, a key piece of work in changing attitudes and fostering confidence and self-respect among the women they serve.

    It only remains to say that the exchange was an amazing experience, and I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of it.

    I am in the process of writing a report on my findings which should be available on the Homeless Link website sometime in September, and I will continue to talk about women and housing first at my blog http://louisasteele.blogspot.co.uk, and tweet about it here, https://twitter.com/louamarie.

    Saving hostels, rebuilding lives

    Rob, St Mungo's client

    Dominic Williamson, Executive Director of Strategy and Policy, explains why we’re launching our Save Hostels Rebuild Lives campaign…

    In August 2016, our CEO Howard Sinclair wrote in The Guardian about how government proposals on future funding were creating great uncertainty for organisations like St Mungo’s that provide supported housing for homeless people.

    Nearly a year on, that uncertainty remains and the future funding for these vital services is still up in the air.

    So this week St Mungo’s is launching a new campaign – Save Hostels Rebuild Lives – to draw attention to the issue. Our call to government is: “Stop and take the time to get this right”.

    At one level the issue is simple: every year supported housing, like hostels, helps thousands of homeless people escape the streets and rebuild their lives. Other supported housing prevents homelessness, for example, for young people at risk. These services will be essential to achieving the government’s own goal of reducing rough sleeping – and so they must be protected from further funding cuts.
    However, because the way the costs of these services is funded is quite complex, getting wider interest in and support for the issue is not easy.

    I’ll try to explain. Bear with me – this may get a bit technical!

    Supported housing for homeless people includes short term hostels, assessment centres as well as longer term housing with support. They are a subset of a much larger supported housing sector which includes domestic violence refuges, sheltered housing and extra care housing for elderly people. Some services have 24 hour staffing, others have 9-to-5 support depending on the client group.

    The cost of the staff providing the support are met through contracts commissioned by local authorities, through what used to be known as the Supporting People scheme. The housing costs are covered by the rent, which for most people is met through their individual entitlement to housing benefit. This includes housing management staff costs and the cost of the physical building itself including facilities such as lifts or fire alarms systems, day-to-day repairs and the long-term maintenance of the fabric of the building.

    Over the past six or seven years, as local council budgets have been squeezed, so has the money available for the support contracts. As a result, some homelessness services have shut or had the level of support reduced.

    ‘Not possible to deliver supported housing within LHA cap’

    Last year the government announced changes that would potentially be even more devastating. Driven by the roll out of Universal Credit and pressure to reduce welfare spending, DWP ministers set out plans to cap people’s housing benefit entitlement at the local housing allowance rate (LHA). This is rate varies considerably across the country and is tagged to the lower end of the local private rented sector market.

    In many parts of the country it is simply not possible to deliver supported housing within the LHA cap. Particularly in the current funding climate, where local authorities are already strapped for cash, the government’s proposal to make up any shortfall through a discretionary local top-up fund will undoubtedly lead to a further cuts in funding – and ultimately put crucial services at risk of closure.

    Over the past 12 months, St Mungo’s and other organisations such as the National Housing Federation have been working to model the potential impact of these changes on services. We have responded to a government consultation and submitted evidence to a joint enquiry by the DWP and CLG select committees. Their report agreed that that the government must take more time to develop a sustainable and secure future funding system that protects these housing and support services.

    Before the General Election ministers had been listening to the arguments and promised to protect services. Meetings have started with new ministers to make sure they also understand the risks. We are pleased to be part of those discussion and at a meeting recently our CEO Howard invited Caroline Dinenage MP, the DWP minister now in charge of the reforms, to come and visit one of our hostels to learn more.

    ‘Helping people off the streets for nearly five decades’

    St Mungo’s has been helping homeless people off the streets for nearly five decades. Over that time have seen that unless the funding regime is strong and secure, services for homeless people are often among the first to be cut when budgets are tight. Cuts to supported housing have undoubtedly contributed to the rapid rise in rough sleeping since 2010.

    This really is a matter of life and death. Sleeping rough is dangerous – the average age of death of someone sleeping rough is 47.

    Each night at St Mungo’s we provide housing and support to 2,700 people. We work to build on people’s strengths so they can recover from the issues that have led to their homelessness. A decent and safe place live and good quality support are crucial.

    There are many fantastic supported housing services across the country which seek to empower people and have been very successful in getting people back on their feet. But there is also some poor quality provision, and hostels may not the best route for everyone.

    ‘Helping people with complex needs to secure a tenancy’

    Over the past few years there has been growing interest in an approach called ‘Housing First’. Originating in New York as an alternative to the patchy emergency shelter provision that is the norm in the USA, the Housing First approach is based on helping people with complex needs to secure a tenancy first along with a long term and flexible package of support around them. There is a growing evidence base from Europe and the UK that this approach can be effective and the government has responded positively to calls to scale this up as part of the solution to growing rough sleeping.

    St Mungo’s is one of the main providers of Housing First projects in England. We are seeing how this model can work well for some people and we support the government’s intention to further pilot Housing First on a larger scale as part of the pathway to help people off the streets. However, supported housing will remain as the backbone of homelessness provision and over the past decades has helped thousands to move to a life off the streets.

    ‘Dedicated to continously improving our services’

    At St Mungo’s we are dedicated to consciously improving our services and excited about the prospect of having a wider evidence-based debate about what service models work best for different people.
    But while we gather and analyse our evidence, we need to protect existing, tried and tested services that are currently supporting thousands of vulnerable men and women up and down the country away from rough sleeping.

    We are facing a number of significant challenges. The roll out of Universal Credit and the related phasing out of housing benefit means that the funding system for supported housing will need to change. Restrictions on benefits for 18-21 year olds means that our accommodation for young people could become silted up.

    Finding a sustainable funding solution will require time and careful consideration of the full range of options. The government should – and can – take that time because housing benefit is not due to be fully phased out until 2022.

    That is why we need your help now. I hope you will join us by signing and sharing our petition using the hashtag #Savehostels.

    Transatlantic practice exchange…the countdown has begun

    St Mungo’s Housing First worker Louisa has been selected to travel to Los Angeles as part of the Transatlantic Practice Exchange. She tells us about how she’ll be using the experience to bring back fresh ideas and approaches to help in her work ending homelessness.

    I’m finding it hard to believe that I will be flying out to Los Angeles, California, USA, this Sunday 7 May!

    I am lucky enough to be taking part in the Transatlantic Practice Exchange. The Exchange is an exciting opportunity for myself, as a representative of St Mungo’s, and four other frontline staff from services across the UK to spend a fortnight in the United States, exploring different practice topics and sharing learning on our return. Similarly, services in the UK have volunteered to host five participants from the US. The exchange is a collaboration between Homeless Link in the UK and the National Alliance to End Homelessness in the US and is funded by the Oak Foundation.

    I have been a Housing First Worker at a St Mungo’s North London Housing First service for a year and a half now. Housing First works with people who have been homeless for long periods of time, and who have complex and varied needs. We provide them with a tenancy, intensive support to maintain that tenancy, and to make other positive changes in their lives.

    ‘Rebuilding shattered lives’

    When I started at St Mungo’s Housing First I was amazed at the different ethos and approach, and the great outcomes that had been achieved. With a background working in specialist services for women, and a keen interest in gender studies, I became interested in homeless women’s experiences of services, especially as their needs can be different to those of homeless men.

    The innovative research carried out by St Mungo’s in their ‘Rebuilding Shattered Lives’ report has highlighted how women are likely to have experienced sustained trauma, abuse and violence throughout their lives, have lost contact with their children, have complex and untreated mental and physical health issues, as well as myriad of other interrelated issues. This inspired me to start a project to find out more about the needs of women accessing our Housing First service, what we were doing well and where the challenges lay. So when the opportunity to take part in the exchange came up, I knew exactly what topic I wanted to focus on.

    ‘An intense but fascinating two weeks of learning’

    On Monday morning, probably fairly dazed and half asleep, I will make my way to my host organisation, Downtown Women’s Centre, on Skid Row in Downtown LA, to meet chief programme officer, Amy Turk, and begin what will be an intense but fascinating two weeks of learning. The Downtown Women’s Centre has a well-established housing first service for women, with 119 on site apartments as well as a community based housing programme. They also run an incredibly busy day centre, where 200 women a day take a shower, get meals, clothes and advice, and access health and trauma recovery services.

    I have more questions to ask than I can count! I have done so much reading on Housing First and the context of homelessness in the US I feel finally ready to get out there and experience it first-hand.
    I will be sharing reflections and some of my experiences with you in a short series of blog postsat, http://louisasteele.blogspot.co.uk, and I will be tweeting about it here, https://twitter.com/louamarie. See you on the other side!

     

    Save Hostels. Rebuild Lives.

    Rob, St Mungo's client

    This week, St Mungo’s launched our Save Hostels Rebuild Lives campaign, calling on the government to properly consider the damaging effect changes to funding for supported housing could have on homeless people. Take five minutes to find out why, and what you can do to help.

    Many people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness need specialist support.

    This expert support is provided by dedicated staff in supported housing – hostels – but these services are at risk.

    The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, are planning to present proposals to change funding for supported housing to government in a matter of months.

    St Mungo’s believes these changes will cause irreparable damage to essential services and may even cause some to close.

    A route out of rough sleeping

    Full disclosure? We provide supported housing services that could be affected by current proposals, which will compound problems faced by projects already being challenged by a reduction in rent allowance that came into effect in April 2017.

    In 2016, St Mungo’s housed 4,120 people, over half of whom have slept rough. Many of our clients have multiple and complex needs, and for them, recovery is more than a roof.

    Most funding for supported housing services for single homeless people comes from a combination of housing benefit and local authority budget for support they commission.

    Supported housing under threat

    The proposals involve reducing people’s benefit entitlement, but they don’t take into account the way support is funded. They will leave supported housing services even more reliant on entirely discretionary funding from already stretched local council budgets.

    With no legal requirement to provide vulnerable homeless people with supported housing, many services have lost their funding. Analysis by the National Audit Office shows that between 2010/11 and 2014/15 funding for housing-related support fell by 45% across single-tier and county councils. [1]

    There are many reasons to be concerned by this. One argument is that without the right support at the right time, people can get stuck in damaging cycles of homelessness, making recovery all the more difficult. Another is that causing the reduction of available places in supported housing makes no economic sense.

    The existing proposals suggest a cap on housing benefits based on local housing allowance rates, which is tied to rent levels in the private sector. This does not take into account the reality that the costs of providing supported housing are similar across the country.

    St Mungo’s believes that basing the system purely on Local Housing Allowance rates will provide little incentive to develop supported housing for homeless people in low rent areas. This would create a situation whereby availability of supported housing could be limited in places where it would be easier for residents to find affordable housing when they are ready to move on.

    A funding system that does not take into account local demand – or does not ensure that need is properly assessed – not only ruins lives, it is more expensive. Research published by the National Housing Federation found a shortfall of 16,692 places in supported housing for working-aged people in 2015/16. The research estimated that in the last financial year, the shortfall in supported housing places cost the taxpayer £361 million. [2]

    The right support for recovery

    “Making the service fit the need is really important.” – Rob

    Rob told me how he spent 20 years bouncing between sofas and services ill-equipped to help him recover and properly manage his mental health. Finally, he came to a service we run that worked for him. He’s since moved into independent living, is engaged to be married and is working as an advocate for homeless people.

    We know that sometimes people find certain environments challenging. Sometimes, people move between services because their support needs have changed or because services close.

    Recovery is a process, and moving into supported accommodation after living on the streets can be a difficult transition, but these services save lives.

    We are urging the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and for Work and Pensions to:

    • Develop a sustainable and secure new funding system that helps vulnerable people get off the streets for good
    • Introduce a legal requirement for local authorities to assess need and plan for appropriate supported housing provision in their area
    • Ensure that the system is fully transparent and accountable to central government

    With the right support at the right time, people can recover and rebuild their lives after being homeless.

    Sign our petition to #SaveHostels here

    [1] National Audit Office (2014) The impact of funding reductions on local authorities

    [2] National Housing Federation (2017) Strengthening the case for supported housing

    Five ‘giant evils’ of 1940s still exist for today’s homeless

    Rough sleeper with Outreach Worker

    The welfare state was established to fight the five ‘giant evils’ Lord Beveridge identified in his 1942 report. 70 years on, is the welfare state just as spritely when it comes to vanquishing those giant evils? Denis, from St Mungo’s client representative group Outside In, doesn’t think so: “The five evils are still evils in today’s society. They still continue.” Tanya English, St Mungo’s Executive Director of Communications, examines some client perspectives and considers our response…

    Giant evil #1: Squalor

    Beveridge wanted to break the cycle of poverty, where health problems caused by inadequate housing restricted people’s ability to work. Today, thousands of people still end up sleeping on the streets each year:

    “On many occasions I woke up and I’ve been covered in snow” Mark, 37

    “When I woke up sometimes, my foot would be so frozen that I wouldn’t move it until it proper thaws out because it felt like I had frost bites and my hands were hurting because it was so cold” Michael, 31

    Giant evil #2: Ignorance

    Beveridge thought that higher social classes were ignorant of the problems affecting communities. Our clients still experience this prejudice:

    “[Homeless people are] treated bad. Low life, dirty junkie, prostitutes, worthless dogs, but we’re not. We haven’t committed a crime; we’ve just had a bit of bad luck and made a terrible mistake, you know?” Linda, 52

    “I think people who have problems with the homeless…whatever problems they’ve had, however they end up that way; I personally think [people] should consider them a bit more. Whether you’re homeless or not you’re still human beings at the end of the day. We are all still human beings.” Leon, 36

    Giant evil #3: Want

    Beveridge was concerned with ensuring everyone in society had what they needed to survive. Unfortunately, many people who are homeless feel they have to resort to crime just to be able to eat:

    “[Homelessness] actually turned me to crime and…I’m a bit ashamed because I’ve caused a lot of damage to properties having to steal lead and that was just to survive… when you get your dole money if it doesn’t last or you get robbed, you’re going to find it very, very, very hard. I found that very, very difficult to, you know, to get a meal most days.” Stuart, 44

    Giant evil #4: Idleness

    Beveridge called for training and work centres to be set up across the country to help everyone find a job. Although many people who are homeless would prefer to work, many still struggle with overcoming bureaucratic hurdles:

    “[When] you do go for a new job you say, ‘I’ve been homeless; this is why I’ve been out of work’, they just say, ‘What have you been doing?’” Michael, 30

    “I was at the job centre. Loads and loads of work, but it was the same answer every time I picked the phone up, ‘We need proof of your address in London’” Jason, 39

    Giant evil #5: Disease

    Beveridge believed that tackling health issues was central to helping people out of poverty. Health is a significant barrier to work for a number of people who we help:

    “I’ve nearly been killed three times doing [prostitution]. I’ve been raped doing it. I’ve… as a result of that I got HIV doing it.” Angela, 38

    “Some people don’t understand [depression]… A lot of the time I have kept myself to myself. It’s only recently I’ve started to push myself out there a bit more. But even still there’s stigma. Any hint that you’ve got this, especially when I’ve been in the mental hospital, people think straight away strait jackets; nutjob.” Michael, 30

    At a time of great financial uncertainty, Britain’s welfare system was set up to direct limited resources towards those who needed them most. Now in the middle of another financial crisis 70 years later, those who are most vulnerable are still tumbling through the gaps in the safety net to the streets below. Our response must be to strengthen the net, not cut more holes.

    (more…)

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