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The Street-Level Solution

By David Bornstein

When I was growing up, one of my father’s favorite sayings (borrowed from the humorist Will Rogers) was: “It isn’t what we don’t know that causes the trouble; it’s what we think we know that just ain’t so.” One of the main insights to be taken from the 100,000 Homes campaign and its strategy to end chronic homelessness, which I wrote about in Tuesdays’ column, is that, until recently, our society thought it understood the nature of homelessness, but it didn’t.
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A Plan to Make Homelessness History

By David Bornstein

Mattie Lord

Donna, who was homeless, with her original survey team, showed off the key to her new apartment in Phoenix.


This is a story about a plan to end chronic homelessness in the United States. It’s not an indeterminate “war on homelessness,” but a methodical approach to do away with a major social problem. Each day, roughly 700,000 people in the country are homeless. About 120,000 are chronically homeless. They often live on the streets for years and have mental disabilities, addiction problems and life-threatening diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. They are also five times more likely than ordinary Americans to have suffered a traumatic brain injury, which may have precipitated their homelessness. Without direct assistance, many will remain homeless for the rest of their lives — at enormous cost to society and themselves.
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Spreading the Care

By Tina Rosenberg

The comments on this week’s column on kangaroo care were extraordinary.  Reader after reader told personal, emotional stories of how they did kangaroo care — wearing a baby for many hours a day on a parent’s chest — with their premature babies.  I particularly liked the story sent in by Anita Bruce of Modesto, Calif.: her five- and seven-year-old boys also took turns kangarooing their preemie sister.  Many other readers discussed the wonders of holding their newborns of normal weight, and even older children.  Clearly, kangaroo care was already familiar to many people, and its benefits instinctively appreciated.
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The Human Incubator

By Tina Rosenberg

Bullit Marquez/Associated Press

A mother in the Philippines used the warmth of her body to nurture her prematurely born daughter.

Sometimes, the best way to progress isn’t to advance — to step up with more money, more technology, more modernity. It’s to retreat.

Towards the end of the 1970s, the Mother and Child Institute in Bogota, Colombia, was in deep trouble. The institute was the city’s obstetrical reference hospital, where most of the city’s poor women went to give birth. Nurses and doctors were in short supply. In the newly created neonatal intensive care unit, there were so few incubators that premature babies had to share them — sometimes three to an incubator. The crowded conditions spread infections, which are particularly dangerous for preemies. The death rate was high.
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When Lenders Won’t Listen

By David Bornstein

At the end of this week’s Fixes column on ESOP, an organization in Ohio that helps prevent foreclosures, I promised to share some stories of homeowners’ experiences. I also asked readers to write in with their own mortgage tales. Many did. The stories illustrate why trusted, nonprofit, third-party intermediaries like ESOP, which know how to communicate productively with both homeowners and lenders — and are committed to finding solutions — are needed to ease the housing crisis. Even better, a few readers offered suggestions about how to avoid this problem in the future.
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Foreclosure Is Not an Option

By David Bornstein

Ben Baker-Smith

A home boarded up in Slavic Village section of Cleveland, Ohio, in October of 2008.

Given the grim news in lending and home financing in recent months, it would appear that little can be done to stem the tide of foreclosures sweeping the nation.

Nationally, some 4 million homeowners are facing foreclosure this year and another 11 million are “underwater,” meaning that they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are now worth. During the past quarter, foreclosure filings were reported on more than 930,000 properties, with September 2010 being the first time banks repossessed more than 100,000 homes in a single month. The Obama administration took a positive step last year when it established the Home Affordable Modification Program, an agency devoted to helping homeowners in trouble, but by most accounts, it has been a disappointment. To date it has yielded only 520,000 active permanent modifications.
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How Iran Derailed a Health Crisis

By Tina Rosenberg

So how did Iran do it?   How did a conservative theocracy decide to deal with its drug addicts as if it were Canada?  In Tuesday’s column, I wrote that Iran is treating its massive epidemic of injecting drug use mainly as a health problem.  With this strategy, it has effectively managed to lower H.I.V. rates among drug users and keep the disease from spreading.  It has taken an approach to drugs known as harm reduction, which includes the provision of methadone maintenance therapy and clean needles to drug users.
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