Measuring Homelessness Prevention

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Seth Diamond, commissioner of the NYC Department of Homeless Services, then Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at the Coalition for the Homeless, talk about the effectiveness of homeless services and a controversial plan to measure what's working.


Seth Diamond and Patrick Markee

Comments [9]

living wage + affordable housing + quality affordable childcare = Homeless prevention.

Rocket science not needed!

Dec. 13 2010 12:44 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn

Hi, Brian, I know a little something about homelessness. Back in the summer of 2008, I lived on the streets of Manhattan, near the Waldorf Astoria. I don’t think that homeless people should be denied services, period. Being out on the street, whether it is summer or winter, is a horrible and demeaning thing. I was sort of lucky in that The Midnight Run and Common Ground people were very nice to me and my cat. But I have heard that the police are/ were harassing the homeless sleeping in subways and other places. I don’t know if homes are being built for the homeless but if they aren’t they should be. Perhaps Warren Buffett and the other billionaires could help out with that kind of project. Nobody deserves to be out on the street. Eugenia Renskoff

Dec. 13 2010 12:37 PM
Janice from Brooklyn

'Cruel and unusual punishment' is not an IRB standard for informed consent. The IRB process for research is intended to insure that research will provide benefits without doing harm. The burden is on researchers to demonstrate that their research does no harm beyond risks encountered in daily life. The City has not demonstrated this (and could not possibly meet that standard). It is astonishing that this study received approval.

Dec. 13 2010 10:56 AM

Was the study vetted by any independent Investigative Review Board? Since it involved direct experimentation on humans, there are very strict guidelines allowed by the NIH/FDA.

The concept of a "double-blind" placebo-style study doesn't match the stated objective.

As discussed in other venues, the study raises simple ethical issues.

In the circumstances mentioned by Mr. Diamond, informed consent is as questionable as if done to prisoners and other similar populations who are deprived of full freedom of choice and/or not fully informed of the possible consequences of the experiment. Examples include use of Texas convicts by Dr. Burzynski (cancer MD) and the infamous Tuskeegee STD experiment.

Dec. 13 2010 10:47 AM
Ben from Park Slope

I applaud Commissioner Diamon and the Dept. of Homeless Services for doing this study.

The activists who complain (and even Brian, who just characterized them as "denying services") are relating this to a drug study -- once a company determines a drug is effective and life-saving, they often absolish the "control" group and give everyone the life-saving drug.

in this instance, the Dept. is trying to figure out if this money is usefully spent. The economy is tight and the city is broke. The only real way to see if the money really prevents homelessness is through a controlled study.

Dec. 13 2010 10:42 AM

Please ask the commissioner whether he would be willing to participate in such an experiment.

Dec. 13 2010 10:40 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

From what I read about this in the paper this weekend, the homeless families that were being used as the control group had to sign releases to participate in this program and were also steered toward other, non-publicly funded programs. Not, of course, that this clears anyone of blame in the event that these people actually wind up homeless, but is this true? Are there sufficient non-publicly funded services to sustain the homeless? And are they permitted, as the publicly-funded services are, to go out and round up the homeless during times of critical weather events, etc., and take them to shelters?

Also, I understand that many homeless don't want to go to shelters due to the abject conditions there? Do the non-publicly funded services provide better shelter conditions?

Dec. 13 2010 10:40 AM
bernie from bklyn

speaking of wolves in sheeps clothing, like our friend from connecticut from the last segment, remember mario cuomo? remember how he shut down all the psychiatric facilities and replaced with a minimal amount of halfway houses therefore releasing thousands of sick people out on the streets?

Dec. 13 2010 10:39 AM

How about the new homeless? Those you have lost (or losing) their homes are part of the growing ranks of homeless families all over the country. And because you're considered "middle-class" there is virtually no help for you!

Dec. 13 2010 10:37 AM

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