The Partnership for the Homeless

Arnold Cohen’s Response to NY Times Op-ed

Re: Fighting Poverty, And Critics

Re:       Fighting Poverty, And Critics
            New York Times, September 3, 2013

Dear Editor,

Whatever we may think about the efficacy of the Millennium Villages Project’s work throughout sub-Saharan Africa, we can’t let that debate impact on our embracing of Jeff Sachs’ bold vision to end world poverty. 

Indeed, I have seen first-hand here inNew York City (and throughout our nation) how a tamped-down approach to poverty has allowed us to accept homelessness as an inevitable part of our urban landscape.  As a result, we wind up putting in place measures that simply manage the problem, oftentimes absolving ourselves of responsibility by blaming the individual for their own predicament.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that we shouldn’t apply real social science rigor to test our efforts and evaluate the impact of programs. Study is essential to the development of scalable, evidence-based ‘best practice’ models, which, in turn, will help us decide, with limited resources, which solutions should be given priority.

In the end, we must put our boldness to the test – and let good qualitative and quantitative data speak to our successes.


Arnold S. Cohen
President & CEO