Tough Love Ain't Love

"Sometimes you gotta show clients tough love so that they'll get their act together."

That is a direct quote in a community I was just in, and the third time in just over a week I had heard a similar sentiment. 

Tough love ain't love. It's being a coercive, power-hungry jerk and convincing yourself that it is love. Tough love is so far from love that it is like saying your socks are a portable napkin stuck in your shoe.

Continue Reading 3 reactions Share


The annual conference of the National Alliance to End Homelessness is happening this week. For more than a decade I have been here presenting. I have seen the conference grow through several hotels that could accommodate the increased demand for the conference and what it has to offer. I have seen superstars within the sector stay with it as long as I have, and seen others come and go.

Continue Reading 1 reaction Share


This week marks another birthday for me. It isn't one of those milestone birthdays, and yet I have found myself more retrospective than usual for some reason. This blog is an attempt to share some of the lessons I have learned up to this point in my life.

Continue Reading Comment on this article Share

VI-SPDAT: 14 Things That Irk Me

Here are the 14 things that people do with the VI-SPDAT, say about the VI-SPDAT, or don’t know about the VI-SPDAT that irk me:

Continue Reading Comment on this article Share

Depression Sucks

It has been a few weeks since I have blogged. I have wanted to. I have not been able to. Not because I have been busy. Not because I did not have access to a computer. Not because I didn't have some ideas of what to blog about. I just couldn't.

Continue Reading 15 reactions Share

Insensitive & Desensitized

How do we get people to care about homelessness?

That question comes up a lot. Sometimes "people" means the general public. Other times it is elected officials. Sometimes it is the business community or the police. It also refers to homeless service providers in some instances.

Continue Reading Comment on this article Share

Hawaii Progress: Views From an Outsider

Recently, Hawaii released data in their progress towards ending homelessness. Hawaii (the Big Island), Maui and Kauai all posted decreases. Oahu more or less stayed the same, but perhaps because of improved counting methods in their Point in Time Count. As an outsider, I want to focus a bit on what they were able to achieve on the Big Island. Having visited Hilo and Kona several times over the past couple years, I want to share some observations of what I think the difference makers have been to see a greater than 30% reduction there. And if you are unfamiliar with the Hawaii landscape by way of geography and policies, this reduction is truly extraordinary.

Continue Reading 1 reaction Share

If You Were Your Successor

What if you were the person that replaced you in your current job? 

What would you do differently? Is there something that is occupying your time that you would eliminate from your day to day? Is there something that you should be making a priority that you are not making a priority? Is there a relationship you need to build or fix that you are not attending to - or other relationships that you need to let go of? Is there a new idea or project that you really want to get off the ground but have not been able to operationalize? Is there something that is definitely not working in what you are doing now but you have not been attending to?

Continue Reading Comment on this article Share

3 Main Approaches to Coordinated Entry

As communities work toward establishing a high functioning coordinated entry system for housing, there appears to be some confusion and lack of knowledge on effective models to achieve this aim. Here is a high level overview of the three main approaches.


Continue Reading 2 reactions Share

Ending Homelessness: Slogan or Policy Proposition with Action?

Ending homelessness. Sounds great. Really hard to do.

When you say it…when people you work with say it…when other organizations say it…when elected officials say it…do they mean it? Do they mean it the way you mean it?

Say it again: ending homelessness.

If I were to ask anyone, “Do you want to end homelessness or do you want to increase homelessness?” the answer is going to be, “End it.”

If I were to ask anyone, “Do you want to end homelessness or do you want to keep managing homelessness?” the answer is also likely to be, “End it.”

Continue Reading 2 reactions Share