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Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 03:06 am

FRESH START FOR HOMELESS CARE

Those on the front lines of caring for the hungry and homeless have been talking about working together ever since Ossie Langfelder was mayor in the 1980s. The efforts to coordinate and cooperate usually get bogged down for one reason or another, but the good people keep trying again, as they announced they will do at a press conference Tuesday. Now the Heartland Continuum of Care, a longtime behind-the-scenes social services planning group, has gotten involved to help keep everybody on task and talking to each other. “Homelessness and hunger are very complex,” said the current mayor, Jim Langfelder, who recalled that his father’s administration helped build Contact Ministries, from which the Helping Hands organization emerged, and that Mayor Tim Davlin helped set up the Continuum of Care. “The question has always been, ‘How can we work together on a regional approach?’” Erica Smith, executive director of Helping Hands, said the goal is to take people “from homeless to housed,” but acknowledged there are “gaps” to getting there. A man in the audience spoke up to say he has been denied housing because he served time 12 years ago for a felony conviction. “Felony is a barrier we need to eradicate,” Smith said. “We aren’t there yet.”

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