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This paper will attempt to explain the plight face

d by one of the largest, most vulnerable populations in America today: the homeless, and how the McKinney Act has affected it. This out-group faces many hardships and many different policies have been put into place both helping and harming their overall wellbeing.Policies Implemented For HomelessMany social welfare policies have been put into place throughout the course of history to attempt to deal with the ever present problem of homelessness. Starting at the first widespread attempt by the government with the implementation of the Elizabethan Poor Law, which placed the plight of the poor into the realm of responsibilities of the community; and serves as the very basis for our notion today of what welfare should be. It set apart the worthy and those deemed the unworthy poor, it established indoor relief for those who were seen to have caused their own misfortunes via almshouses or outdoor relief for the widows and children who had done nothing themselves to bring about their hardships that kept them in their own homes. (Jansson, 2013)The advent of the first Charity Organizations brought about a new way of thinking about how to deal with the issue of homelessness; it advocated helping the poor gain life skills and knowledge rather than a temporary solution of only throwing money towards the problem. Many settlement houses were established, and here people were housed and trained in job skills and community ties were built (Jansson, 2013).After the Great Depression left the United States with numbers of poor and homeless previously unseen, President Roosevelt enacted The New Deal which was to become the beginning of the welfare state as we know it today (Jansson, 2013). Numerous programs were developed from Social Security which is still in existence today that provided the elderly an monthly income to help keep them from ending up homeless and on the streets, to the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program which built many of our grand parks where we still enjoy the structures they built today, and it provided housing and employment for many, many men.In the 1990’s a step back was made when funding was cut and social welfare reforms were put into place like those with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or TANF, that limited the time and amount of help one and their family could receive (Jansson, 2013). As a result the number of homeless has risen sharply since then. McKinney Act’s ImpactOne policy in particular though, has had an enormous impact on the homeless population. This was the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987. This was the first, and to date still the only major federal legislative response to homelessness (NCH, 2006) . Homeless Population and ProblemsDuring the 1980’s the United States saw a sharp increase in the number of people becoming homeless, many people were affected as the federal government withdrew funding for low income housing and social assistance programs for low income families and the mentally ill (Center for Public Interest Research, nd). The Regan administration did not feel that it was the federal governments place to intervene in the issue however (NCH, 2006).The outcry from advocates for the homeless population put great pressure on the government though, and in 1986 Title I of the Homeless Person’s Survival Act was introduced into Congress. It was passed and signed into law by President Regan on July 22, 1987 but only after an intensive campaign by advocates for the homeless (HUD, 2013). After the death of the chief Republican sponsor Representative Stewart B. McKinney of Connecticut it was renamed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (Hope, 2013).People and families are homeless for any number of reasons, although the primary one is economic (Center for Public Interest Research, nd). Without adequate education many people are not able to make a living wage, as the cost of living has increased each year while pay has not. These people are not able to find affordable housing. The lack of affordable health care contributes as well to the problem of homelessness; an unexpected illness can turn finances upside down leaving families suddenly homeless (Center for Public Interest Research, nd). Political factors also play into homelessness, when the federal government slashes funding for integral social programs like housing assistance the number of homeless persons skyrockets (Center for Public Interest Research, nd). Social problems are yet another contributing factor as to why a person may end up homeless, especially with drug and alcohol addictions, and as many as 25% of the homeless suffer from some form of mental illness (Center for Public Interest Research, nd). Many women and children are homeless as a result of fleeing domestic violence and there not being adequate shelters or programs to provide assistance (Center for Public Interest Research, nd).Description and History of McKinney Act PolicyThe McKinney Act originally consisted of fifteen different programs that provided a broad range of services from emergency shelter, transitional housing, job skills training, health care, and education and in some instances permanent housing (HUD, 2013). Since its inception the policy has been renewed and expanded upon many times. In October 2000 President Clinton renamed the policy the McKinney-Vento Act when a longtime supporter of the act, Representative Bruce Vento passed away. (NCH, 2006) Currently the act has nine different titles as referenced from the HUD website: Title I of the McKinney Act includes a statement of six findings by Congress and provides a definition of homelessness. Title II establishes and describes the functions of the Interagency Council on the Homeless, an independent entity within the Executive Branch composed of the heads of 15 federal agencies. Title III of the McKinney Act authorizes the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Title IV authorizes the emergency shelter and transitional housing programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including the Emergency Shelter Grant program (expanded from the program created by the Homeless Housing Act in 1986), the Supportive Housing Demonstration Program, Supplemental Assistance for Facilities to Assist the Homeless, and Section 8 Single Room Occupancy Moderate Rehabilitation. Title V of the McKinney Act imposes requirements on federal agencies to identify and make available surplus federal property, such as buildings and land, for use by states, local governments, and nonprofit agencies to assist homeless people. Title VI authorizes several programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Title VII authorizes several programs administered by the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services. Title VIII amends the Food Stamp program to facilitate participation in the program by persons who are homeless, administered by the Department of Agriculture. Title IX of the McKinney Act extends the Veterans Job Training Act (HUD, 2013).The act has been amended numerous times, first in 1988 mostly to expand the eligible activities and distribution of funding. In 1990 amendments were made that better explained the states obligation and provided more authorization regarding education for homeless youths. 1992 saw the creation of “safe havens” which provided very low cost shelters and the creation of the ACCESS program which provided funding for programs aimed at the severely mentally handicapped, while in 1994 funding and policies regarding education for homeless children was the main focus in addition to opening up closed bases for assistance to the homeless. (NCH, 2006) Federal funding has at times threatened the programs existence and ability to provide much needed assistance to one of our most vulnerable population of out-groups in the United States. Results of McKinney ActThe McKinney Act has done much good for the United States and the homeless since its inception. The McKinney Act has made it possible for homeless to have access to shelter and healthcare, it has removed the stipulation for other social programs like social security that a person must have an address to qualify for aid (Hope, 2013). The McKinney Vento act has made it possible for homeless youth to gain access to a quality education services. It has enabled states to provide funding for health care programs to serve the homeless population; it has provided food for the homeless and with HUD grants long term housing for some people (Hope, 2013). The McKinney Act has made it so that there is a way up and back from homelessness available to people by forcing the federal and states governments hand where once the group could be and was just ignored, left to fend for themselves. It has given immigrants a chance to gain access to basic necessities as well. Mental health services have been expanded as a result of the McKinney -Vento Act. Most of all what is has done, is that it has brought attention to those people in the most dire of need with nowhere to go and no one to turn to, and shed light on the need for yet more to be done to prevent the issue of homelessness from even happening in the first place. When we are a first world country with over 3.5 million people sleeping outdoors as of last year there is more we can do. (Center for Public Interest Research, nd)But what we still need is a policy implemented that will be proactive; we need affordable housing and wages that allow people to live without having to choose between necessities like food or shelter. We are not there yet but we can achieve a nation where no man, woman, or child has to face living even one night without a shelter over their heads.


According to Streetwise of Street News Services (2010), the first reported instances of homelessness dates as far back as 1640, in some of the larger cities in the original 13 colonies. At this time, there were wars being fought between settlers and Native Americans, and people were left with no shelter in both sides (Street News Service, 2010). Later, the industrial revolution caused more homelessness, industrial accidents left many former hard-working families with a dead provider, or with severe disabilities, and then the economy entered a recession in the same time period (Street News Service, 2010). Wars always left a large number of veterans homeless. Later, in 1927, there was an astronomical flood along the Mississippi River, across multiple state, leaving about 1.3 million people without a home (Street News Service, 2010). Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, the Asian tsunami in 2004, and the earthquake early this year in Japan are still a major cause of homelessness. One of the first times the federal government stepped in to help deal with homelessness was during the Great Depression, and did just this when they instituted the Federal Transient Service, which funded work training programs, shelters, health centers, housing, and work camps from 1933 to 1936 (Street News Service, 2010). This program was shut down in 1936 when the Roosevelt administration decided to fund Social Security (Street News Service, 2010). Later, as the National Coalition for the Homeless reports, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is one of the only major federal legislation in response to homelessness, and it’s been amended four times since its original introduction (National Coalition for the Homeless, McKinney-Vento Act, 2006). The McKinney-Vento Act has nine different titles, each with various programs and goals, such as providing a specific definition of homelessness, authorizing various programs, and delegating what government agency will be in charge of running said programs (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006). This act has been amended four times since being signed into law in 1987, in 1988, 1990, 1992, and 1994. The amendments in 1988 were relatively minor, and added a few additional places where funds from this act could be distributed (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006). In 1990, the amendments changed far more of the act than with previous amendments, and many new programs were created, including Shelter Plus Care program (providing assistance to those with disabilities and addictions), and the Community Mental Health Services was amended and given a new name, Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006). The amendments in 1992 both expanded and modified Title IV, which included several programs that were overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to include the creation of “safe havens”, which are very low-cost shelters available to people who do not wish to utilize other services, and the Rural Homeless Housing Assistance grant program (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006). The most recent amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act took place in 1994, and these amendments focused on Education of the Homeless Children and Youth program, and the Surplus Property program (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006). These amendments allowed local educational administrators a more flexible way to use their funding, and empowered homeless parents to have a voice when it came to their child’s education and placement (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006). The McKinney-Vento Act is not something that is scheduled to end, but must be re-authorized every year when the budget is analyzed (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2006). Homelessness is a devastating problem that can have a multitude of causes. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, these reasons can include (but are not limited to) mortgage foreclosure, poverty, eroding work opportunities, declines in the availability of public assistance, lack of affordable housing, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and a lack of affordable health care (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009). More families than ever are just one disaster away from homelessness. According to a personal interview dated 11/22/2010 with Linore Lounsbury, director of the Genesis House homeless shelter in Olean, more people than ever are experiencing homelessness for the first time, people who are normal, hard-working people who have experience a devastating job loss or health problem that wouldn’t have led to homelessness before the economy started to slip. The United States Code Title 42, Chapter 199, officially defines homelessness as “an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, or adequate nighttime residence; and individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is – A. a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); B. an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or C. a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings” (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, n.d.). One of the problems for defining homelessness was a lack of a consistent definition between states and counties, though one has finally been provided. Another is how exactly to count how many homeless people there are. Unfortunately, homelessness can be a very difficult problem to track. Not only is there a stigma related to being homeless, but many have cognitive disabilities that interfere with them helping themselves, and many also would rather not be located. Homelessness levels are essentially impossible to track, especially on a grand scale with any accuracy, as both the definition of homelessness and the number of people without shelter in a given time frame varies greatly. In addition, there’s no way to know exactly where homeless people will seek shelter. We do, however, have ways of making a very educated guess. Jodi Fuller, the Chief Operating Officer of Developmental and the Director of the Transitions Department for Cattaraugus Community Action, and her staff participate in a Point in Time study annually, which attempts to estimate the number of homeless people in a given county over the course of 24 hours in January by speaking to various agencies regarding the number of homeless people they are currently helping, and by driving around to locations where homeless people are known to seek refuge (Fuller, 2010). According to this point in time study, Community Action discovered 120 homeless people in Cattaraugus County, 67 of which were adults, and 53 were under the age of 18, and they were grouped into 29 families and 37 adults who were alone (Fuller, 2010). This means that of the total population of 81,534 people in Cattaraugus County, 0.1% were homeless, but this is not an entirely accurate number, as any attempt to locate and account for homeless people is truly just an educated guess (Fuller, 2010). Per Maggie McCarthy’s Congressional Research Services Report for Congress titled Homelessness: Recent Statistics, Targeted Federal Programs, and Recent Legislation, the closest estimate of homeless people in the United States in 2005 between 600,000 and 2.5 million people (McCarthy, 2005). The average homeless population was estimated by the Report for Congress to be 49% African-American, 35% white, 13% Hispanic, 2% Native American and 1% Asian (McCarthy, 2005).Policies Regarding Homelessness in The United States There are many legislative policies regarding homelessness at the federal level. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, recent legislation includes programs like Section 8 voucher funding, Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs, Homeless Vets Legislation, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance grants, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the budget passed by congress in April of 2011 included a renewal for $35 million for Section 811, which provides a rent voucher for low-income households (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). The vouchers given out to over two million participating households, and this program is the largest form of assistance toward housing for low-income families and individuals (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). The National Alliance to End Homelessness states that the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which is administered by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families) runs several programs to help support families and protect youth including The Basic Center Program, which assists runaway/homeless youth with the immediate needs related to being homeless, and supports families, The Transitional Living Program (which provides a place for homeless youths ages 16-21 to stay for up to 18 months), and the Street Outreach Program, which helps different agencies fund outreach programs that help move youths off the streets (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Homeless Vets Legislation allocates $50 million which allows for approximately 7,700 vouchers to provide shelter for homeless veterans through Housing and Urban Development- Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). Another bit of legislation called the Helping Our Homeless Veterans Act of 2011 has been introduced to help better-serve veterans and allow programs to contract out for the most appropriate services for each situation, but no action has been taken on this bill yet (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). The Department of Veterans Affairs has a goal of ending homelessness amongst veterans within five years, but this still requires much more legislation to be enacted (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). Most recently in the McKinney-Vento Act, funding for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants has been increased to $1.905 billion per year, with Congress mandating that $225 million of that be spent towards Emergency Solutions Grant (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants help to fund homeless services at several different levels: local, regional, and state, thus making a more effective use of federal grant money (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). According to The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (found at Serve Center, n.d.) funds come from the federal government for educating homeless children and youths as long as the state education agency applies for the appropriate grants. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers homeless services such as case management, mental health services and counseling, mental health services, and health care which are also linked to housing services (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2011). The above pieces of federal legislation are not scheduled to end, they are voted on every year when a new federal budget it passed.New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services offers a variety of services for the homeless, including using federal grant money to create free-standing Sobering-Up stations in several large cities from homeless people who were inebriated in public as early as 1978, developing an alcoholism treatment clinic on the same site as a men’s homeless shelter and creating a long-term residential program for previously homeless people in 1981, and opening the first women and family homeless shelter in Manhattan in 1983 (New York State Office of Alcoholism ; Substance Abuse Services, hereafter NYSOASAS, 2010). Works CitedCode of Ethics (English and Spanish). (n.d.). National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved April 19, 2011, from http://www.naswdc.org/pubs/code/code.aspFederal Definition of Homelessness. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/homelessness/definitionLegislative Updates. (n.d.). National Alliance to End Homelessness. Retrieved April 15, 2011, from http://www.endhomelessness.org/section/policy/legislative_updatesMcCarthy, M. (2005, May 31). Homelessness: Recent Statistics, Targeted Federal Programs, and Recent Legislation. CRS Report for Congress. Retrieved April 23, 2011, from www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL30442.pdfMcKinney-Vento Act. (n.d.). National Coalition for the Homeless. Retrieved April 15, 2011, from www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/McKinney.pdfOlivet, J. (2010, July 7). The History of Homelessness in America, 1640-Present – Street News Service. Home – Street News Service. Retrieved April 10, 2011, from http://www.streetnewsservice.org/news/2010/july/feed-240/the-history-of-homelessness-in-america,-1640-present-.aspxThe McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. (n.d.). Serve Center. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from center.serve.org/nche/downloads/mv_full_text.pdfThe Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (n.d.). United Nations. Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtmlWhy Are People Homeless?. (n.d.). National Coalition for the Homeless. Retrieved April 23, 2011, from http://www.nationalhomeless.orgBibliographyCenter for Public Interest Research, I. (nd). National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. Retrieved from http://www.studentsagainsthunger.org/page/hhp/overview-homelessness-americaHope, P. (2013). Project HOPE. Retrieved from The College of William ; Mary: http://education.wm.edu/centers/hope/resources/mckinneyact/index.phpHUD. (2013). McKinney-Vento Act. Retrieved from HUD: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/comm_planning/homeless/lawsandregs/mckvJansson. (2013). Brooks/Cole Empowerment Series: The Reluctant Welfare State. Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.NCH. (2006, June). McKinney-Vento Act. Retrieved from NCH: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/McKinney.pdf
The Rural Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio is stricken with lack of jobs, transportation, resources, housing, and healthcare options. All of these factors affect the communities that are a part of the rural Appalachian area. A community is defined as a combination of social units that share common functions important to the locality (Kirst-Ashman ; Hull, 2012, p.128). “For example, one may think of a community as having specific geographical boundaries, like a city, or as denoting a group with shared interests and beliefs, such as the social work community. The community may be seen as a target for change, as the problem, or as the context within which change occurs” (Kirst-Ashman ; Hull, 2012, p. 129). One community that is in need of a context for change is the homeless individuals in the southeastern Ohio counties whom experience a mental illness, disability, or economic instability. Deinstitutionalization in the mental health hospitals around the United States, has been occurring over the past few decades at an increasing rate. This is where the hospitals are beginning to shut down and send individuals back into the community; this is one of the major issues affecting homelessness in people who experience mental illness. Another reason for the mental health population who are homeless is because the difficulty they may face maintaining jobs and working in general. A study done on “919 found that the top reasons for the individual’s homelessness included economic factors at 45.0%, family problems 30.4%, 5.1% said because of drug and alcohol issues, 2.4% said they liked to move around, and 1.7% said it was due to deinstitutionalization” (First, Richard J., Rife, John C., ; Toomey, Beverly G., 1994, p. 101). This shows the effect of limited resources on the homeless population in rural areas and how much it is a major factor in their lives. At Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare (ABH), the standard stay for an individual is from two to seven days. ABH serves a number of homeless individuals, especially during the winter, who have suicidal ideations because their homelessness is effecting their emotions, cognitive abilities, and personal ties. Once a patient is ready for discharge, the social worker has to find this individual a place to go even if it is a homeless shelter. Many individuals who are homeless choose to stay in Athens County or in a nearby county because of its services. In the Good Works, 2013 brochure it states that;Timothy House provides shelter for people without homes in Athens, Vinton, Hocking, Meigs, Perry, Morgan, Washington, Gallia and Jackson counties. More than 500 different people call the Good Works Timothy House for shelter each year. We provide approximately 4 to 5,000 nights of shelter to between 150 to 225 men, women and children annually (Wasserman, K., 2013, p.2). Now if you look at the statistics provided by the Timothy House owner, Keith Wasserman he has to turn away almost half of the people that call into Good Works each year. This is testament to the fact that the nine counties may need another shelter for the other 150 individuals who have to find another place to sleep. This is where a proposed new shelter that provides beds for these other individuals would be beneficial to the community and also to the agencies who want to find a place for the individuals who experience homelessness to stay. In addition to establishing this shelter, it could provide services such as a work program and meals. Individuals who would like to help in the work program could help keep the house clean and serve the meals to the other individuals of the shelter. They could also work in a garden during the day and receive compensation for their work through grants and private funding. The Athens, Ohio community is very different from other small rural towns in Appalachia. According to the “2010 Demographic Profile, Athens County has 64,592 residents” (http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml, 2011). “It’s community-ness” (Martinez-Brawley,2000, p. 94) is constantly changing due to the college students who are constantly coming and going as well as individuals who come to Athens, Ohio to receive services at ABH. However, the boundary of this city/county remains the same. Athens is considered to be a “bubble” of prosperity because it does have so many services for residents of Athens County and residents of other counties as well. This may be because it is such a thriving college town. Therefore, its horizontal ties are strong stretch forward through other counties because of the services it can provide to a number of individuals who experience homelessness, a mental illness, disability, and to other individuals who have specific needs. Also, because it is a college town, it does have strong horizontal and vertical ties to education throughout Athens and the world. Although, because the towns strong horizontal ties with its services and education, this makes for weaker vertical ties because other entities are constantly disrupting the cohesiveness of the town itself. Since “Horizontal ties” is the linkage of small communities with larger resources or “vertical ties” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, p.74), the small microcosm could be an individual interacting with a larger organization or resource such as Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare or the Timothy House. Since the 1800’s Athens has had many of the same current patterns and interactions because it has since then been a college town. The town has, in a sense, adapted to the constant changes that come with the college and all of its students. As well as it has accommodated the homeless population and those who need services. Rural social work has both its strengths and weaknesses. “One of the major concerns of social workers used to functioning in fairly large and anonymous agency settings is the difficulty of maintaining anonymity or confidentiality in the small town. Anonymity and confidentiality are closely intertwined in the small community” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, p. 268). The social workers who come to rural communities do like the fact that the community does have such a sense of “community-ness” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, p. 95). Meaning that the members of the communities have a sense of vertical ties and the residents know each other and work together on a daily basis. On the other hand, social workers in rural communities do not have the access to resources that urban social workers have. Resources in regards to transportation, access to medical centers, shelters for the homeless, and information that could aid social workers in having a broad evidenced based practice. “Anonymity, confidentiality, and accountability” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, pp. 270-289) are ethical considerations when it comes to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of rural social work. The first ethical consideration, or “Anonymity, refers to the state of situation of being without a name” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, p. 270). It is easy for clients in a big city to see their social worker and to remain nameless because others can’t put two and two together (p. 270). However, in a small town everyone knows everyone, including a social worker. So, if the residents see an individual acknowledge a social worker it may mean that this person is receiving services. It is important for the social worker rather it is a rural or urban community, to wait until the client acknowledges the social worker before the client acknowledges the social worker.Anonymity is also linked to confidentiality; the second ethical consideration outlined by Martinez-Brawley (2000, p. 275). “Confidentiality, the right to privacy, implies that persons must give explicit consent before such information is divulged in anyway” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, p. 275). Even the most common exchange between a social worker and a client in a rural community could make others look into the relationship behind the exchange. Residents in rural communities often know what is going on with other residents and if they see such an exchange they could extract such information. Thus confidentiality is easier to breach in a rural area than in an urban area by even the slightest exchange or glance. Lastly, “accountability is the use of all resources, formal or informal, that are available in a small community” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, p. 281). “One of the concerns of social service providers in small communities and rural areas is that the small size of the population makes criteria of efficiency inappropriate. Most small communities cannot afford certain services because the number of people served, as a sole criterion, does not justify the expense” Martinez-Brawley, 2000, p. 282). Luckily, Athens County has been blessed with services because it is a college town and has to be able to accommodate a number of individuals. However, the Timothy House through Good works only has 15 beds for nine counties. One may be able to see the stipulation that this puts on those who need services but are not able to attain them because the need is greater than the availability. Although Athens County does have more resources than most rural communities, the need is still there for adequate shelter for the homeless. Due to the fact that Athens County is a smaller town it may be harder for this another homeless shelter to be established due to policies enacted by the city. Thus it will be important for the community to come together and advocate for a “capacity development” (Kirst-Ashman ; Hull, 2012, p. 129). In this regard “Capacity development involves building the competency of a group or community to undertake large scale change” (p. 129). Building another homeless shelter is not just a large upscale change for Athens County but the other counties surrounding it. A lot of times stigmatization of certain populations can stunt programs from being funded and taking root. However, as a social worker intern at ABH who has worked in discharge planning, the needed for another shelter is cause for advocacy. “Cause advocacy is a term used to describe efforts by social workers on behalf of an issue of overriding importance to a group of clients”(Kirst-Ashman ; Hull, 2012, p. 130). Not only would the mental health community who are reintegrating back into the community be affected by the shelter but also those other individuals who are temporarily homeless or chronically homeless due to other factors. This shelter would have more beds and be able to accommodate more individuals from surrounding counties. Also, ABH would also be able to discharge patients back into the community and not have to hold them at the agency because they do not have a place to go. Once the agency gets off the ground they would also be able to start a work program and link services with other organizations for the clients to use as resources. That way, the Timothy House would not have to turn away so many individuals and they could redirect them to the additional homeless shelter. It would be important to take a census of the individuals being turned away from shelters because they shelter is full and then relaying this information to the city or state so that the advocacy process could begin. The positive of working in a rural community is that there is “mutual support” for the sick, poor, homeless, or elderly (Kirst-Ashman ; Hull, 2012, p. 129). This means that in small rural communities the residents are going to have closer bonds to each other because there aren’t as many residents compared to an urban area. When you have these close bonds you are more likely to care about your neighbor who is frail and needs assistance or your best friend who experiences a mental health disability. Thus the community is more likely to come together on a mutual basis to assist their friends and neighbors who needs assistance. The Timothy House is such a great service for the individuals who experience homelessness. However, because they have to turn away half of the phone calls they receive; it is imperative to look at the other half who need shelter. “The Ties that Bond” a community such as this are the vertical ties within the community itself and the horizontal ties which bond the community to other areas that it may come in contact with (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, pp. 70-95). The Athens community is fortunate to be a college town that has a multitude of services for the area. In a sense the college benefits the community in a distinct way. Therefore, when working in this community as a social worker it is important to look at the strength and weaknesses of working in a rural community. The social worker needs to be aware of the rural communities “anonymity, confidentiality, and accountability” (Martinez-Brawley, 2000, pp. 270-289) so that the client’s rights can be adhered to. The social worker must also advocate for the new program and get the community involved in the process and possible even the agencies in the area that see this as a direct need. References”American FactFinder – Community Facts.” American FactFinder – Community Facts. United States Census Bureau, 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2014. .First, R. G. (1994). Homelessness in Rural Areas: Causes, Patterns, and Trends. Social Work, 39(1), 97.Good Works, INC. A Community of Hope. Athens, Ohio: Good Works, INC., 2013. Print.Kirst-Ashman, K. and Hull, G. (2012). Understanding Generalist Practice (6th edition). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. ISBN: 0-840033-3826Martinez-Brawley, E. E. (2000). Close to home: Human services and the small community. Washington, D.C.: Washington, D.C. : NASW Press, c2000.