first_imgThe Vancouver Housing Authority is planning a “low-barrier” housing project like the one in Longview. Lincoln Place Apartments would be 30 studio units in a new building proposed for West 13th Street, across the street from men’s homeless shelter Share House. The tenants would be those judged to be at greatest risk of dying on the street. Lincoln Place has gotten pledges of financial support from the state and from the city of Vancouver, although it hasn’t been approved for construction yet.Proponents of the “housing first” approach say getting a roof over the heads of chronically homeless people is the first step to improving their lives; but they acknowledge that mental illness and addiction are frequent in chronic homelessness, and take time and effort to overcome. It’s not guaranteed nor required that “housing first” residents ever change their ways. At least one critic of the Vancouver plan, Ceci Ryan Smith, believes that any building for chronically homeless people should provide medical services too. Lincoln Place plans to offer case management and opportunities to connect residents with services, but it won’t be a medical clinic.In Portland, a large “housing first” building called Bud Clark Commons has generated complaints from neighbors and police; it’s also resulted in improving health for many residents and significant health care cost savings for the public. Earlier this year it was reported that Medicaid costs dropped steeply for people who moved into the building — from an average of $1,667 per month to $899 — even while the vast majority of residents report long-untreated mental and physical health needs being tended at last.LONGVIEW — A pilot project that its testing the controversial idea that homeless people need shelter before they’re asked to stay clean and sober is struggling.Nine months since the Lower Columbia Community Action Program housed six homeless men in a home on 33rd Avenue in Longview, the original case manager has been fired, four clients have spent time in jail, thefts in the home are common, guests have reportedly brought drugs into the home and residents are at odds with a stricter new manager.last_img read more