I don’t want to shock anyone, but the new year brings the chance that City Hall will stumble into a way to control and even reduce homelessness. This revelation follows the embrace of a tool other cities have deployed for years. It’s called a Homeless Management Information System, or HMIS. The idea is obvious: coordinate services, outcomes and data involving homeless people. That’s about it.
There’s nothing new about coordinating housing and mental health services for people who live on the streets or in shelters. Integrated management systems have been around for years. Semi-annual homeless counts are one example of coordination.
Holiday season makes me think about my friend Randy Paragary. Randy, who died from pancreatic cancer in August 2021, loved the holidays. He decked out his restaurants in classy Christmas motifs and smiled as reservations filled up with parties.
Sometimes holiday celebrations took over every seat, with one exception. Randy always saved a table for our weekly lunch. That lunch is what I miss most.
Our lunch was more than two friends getting together for drinks and food. It was an event that grew into something like a local institution.