Associated Press, October 13, 2005


[Rachel's introduction: Philadelphia has set a goal -- to end homelessness in 10 years -- and is now evaluating ways to get there. That's foresight in action.]

PHILADELPHIA -- City officials announced a 10-year plan to eradicate homelessness in Philadelphia after meeting with advocates and others trying to best tackle the problem.

Mayor John F. Street said $10 million in city, state and federal funds have already been earmarked for the plan. However, he said that it was unclear where additional funding will come from in subsequent years, and how much will be needed beyond the initial amount identified.

"The political will is here," Robert Hess, a city deputy managing director, said Wednesday. "Can we be the first American city to end homelessness? Yes, we can."

Street estimated that about 400 people currently are homeless in downtown Philadelphia. That is up from recent years, though still fewer than half the number from 1998, Street said.

The $10 million is in addition to the $64 million annual budget of Philadelphia's emergency services office and $30 million annually in other funds for counseling and medical care to the homeless.

The plan came together as officials talked with 300 people citywide, including advocates for the homeless, about how to best tackle the problem, Hess said.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press