Leading consultant on homelessness visits Salt Lake City and met with protests

http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/leading-consultant-on-homelessness-visits-salt-lak/11744/BFf0AvXiJ0C8aKYoiXziAg

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Dr. Marbut, a leadingconsultant on homelessness, spoke earlier today at the Energy Solutions Arena.  But his presence today was met with some controversy.

Protesters rallied and stood outside the Energy SolutionsArena, with one goal in mind – to be noticed.

“This isn’t suppose to be adversarial, it’s simply about being heard,” said Tyler Hysell, President of The Legacy Initiative.

Hysell said after reading about Dr. Marbut, he had some concerns about his strategy and approach.

“He has his 7 principles, starting from number 1 on down, his 6th principle is to move off-site feeding operations to move on-site to solidify them into one location or one program,” he said.

Dr. Marbut has outline 7 principles of transformation for the homeless.
1.  Move to a culture of transformation.
“a transformative culture positively fosters individual transformation and reintegration into society.”
2. Co-location and virtual E-integration of as many services as possible.
“In order to increase success, all services within a service area must be e-integrated…which improves coordination of services, enhances performance, and reduces gaming of the system.”
3. Must have a master case management system that is customized.
“..It is critical that ONE person coordinated the services and individual receives and to do so in a customized fashion.”
4. Reward positive behavior.
“Positive behavior should be rewarded with increased responsibilities and more privileges; privacy, higher sleeping arrangements, etc.”
5. Consequences for negative behavior.
“It is critical to have swift and proportionate consequences.”
6. External activities must be redirected or stopped.
“Street feeding programs without comprehensive services actually increase and promote homelessness, street feeding groups should be encouraged to co-locate with existing comprehensive service programs.”
7. Panhandling enables the homeless and must be stopped.
“Unearned tax-free cash is very enabling and does not engage homeless individuals in job and skills training which are needed to end homelessness.”

Dr. Marbut’s, 7 principles – which are outlined in more detail on his website – are set up to move the population from enablement to engagement.

Dr. Marbut has visited 237 homeless service facilities across the country.  He has also helped dozens of cities to reduce homelessness.

However, he has become controversial because of his work.  Many critics have had concerns because of the way things are worded.  They believe it unfairly identifies who is classified as homeless as well as who is allowed into the programs.

When asked about critics remarks, Dr. Marbut said everyone is allowed into his programs.  There are only two situations in which a person would be denied entry: If they have a serious concerning medical problem, and if they are involved in traumatic felony violence.

To help protesters understand his approach, he invited to attend the speech.

“If we can get 90% agreement, we’re gonna get some big change and you don’t have to agree on everything, just the core stuff,” said Dr. Marbut.

During the lecture Dr. Marbut touched on several topics including factors that contribute to homelessness, as well as how to engage the homeless community to pull them out of the system.  After listening in, protesters still had some concerns.

“A lot of communities have used his words to create feeding bans and a lot of things that are harmful to cause a lot of backlash,” said Hysell.

Overall, protesters felt like Dr. Marbut speech today resonated well with them and his core principles were in line with their way of thinking.  Hysell said, he believed that Dr. Marbut was correct in saying that in order to address the homeless problem better, there needs to be a greater community involvement.

And after speaking with many of the protesters, they said there goal was never to challenge Dr. Marbut’s principles, but they were concerned with the way things were worded as they believe it could further negative stereotypes.  They said after attending the speech, they’re looking forward to getting a dialogue started to provide solutions for Salt Lake City’s homeless population.

Dr. Marbut, was thankful protesters accepted his invitation to come listen to his speech and is ready to listen to their concerns.  He also met with the group after his speech to to get a better understanding of each other.

Hysell, said all he was looking for was to hear him speak and talk to him more to get a better understanding from the man himself.

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