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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

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Entries in NCH (12)

Monday
Jul212014

Does Institutional Violence Provide Cover to Hate Crimes?

Over the weekend the Albuquerque police made an arrest of three young people accused of killing two homeless people.  This after police shot a homeless person who was giving himself up earlier this year.   It seems that cities that mistreat homeless people or pass laws directed at homeless people are also the cities that have higher numbers of hate crimes directed at homeless people.  Albuquerque police have a large number of officers involved in shootings (40) of which 26 were killed since 2010.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty just released a report on the large number of laws directed at homeless people.   The Law Center details the surprising rise in cities which have made it illegal to feed people outside.  There are panhandling laws, anti-sitting laws, anti-"camping" laws, loitering, and no feeding laws.  These "quality of life" ordinances are on the rise, and there are consultants sitting in hotel conference centers crafting new ways to hide homeless people.  Then there are police actions to arrest and hide homeless people.  These include private security for Business Improvement Districts harassing homeless people to go into hiding.  Then in those cities that use law enforcement to solve homelessness there is a corresponding increase in attacks on homeless people

In the 1990s, when there were routine arrests of homeless people for sleeping outside in Cleveland we also saw regular attacks on homeless people.  We saw the stun gun attacks and bricks being thrown from motorists.   We have not seen the level of hate crimes that they see in Cincinnati, which still has not worked out how they deal with a growing population.  If government targets homeless people with laws or arrests it seems to give cover to violent or fringe elements of society to attack fragile populations.  If you place the National Coalition for the Homeless hate crimes report on top of the National Law Center criminalization report you see some huge overlapping cities especially in cities in Florida. 

We have been dealing with homelessness for 40 years, and it seems as though cities have not learned anything.   They still try to deal the problems associated with homeless people instead of dealing with the root cause of homelessness: housing.  They are still trying to regulate homelessness out of existence instead of providing affordable housing and behavioral health services.  Fair share development laws, minimum wage increases, universal access to treatment are sure fire ways to end homelessness.  Passing "quality of life laws" are sure fire ways to prolong homelessness. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Wednesday
May212014

Spice Alert Issued for the Shelters

The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council has issued a warning for the shelters to be aware of a dangerous new drug that is sending homeless people to the hospital.  Two weeks ago, hundreds went to the hospital in Austin and Dallas Texas after using these synthetic drugs.  Please distribute this in the shelters and social service providers.  We have included a pdf version that you can print out and distribute.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of the individual who signs the entry

Friday
Apr112014

Discrimination Against Homeless People Report Released

The National Coalition for the Homeless has issued a briefing paper this week in Washington DC on the opinions of homeless people in the nation's capital.  This was a summer project by students at George Washington University to interview homeless people about their treatment that they receive by law enforcement, private businesses, medical services and social services. 

It is no surprise that law enforcement and private businesses were widely described as having discriminating against homeless people.   I find it incredible that more than a third of the homeless people living in Washington felt that they had been discriminated by social service providers and nearly half of those who responded were mistreated by medical service providers.  Much of this discrimination is minor inconveniences like no bags policies at businesses but others were life threatening discrimination in limiting access to emergency rooms or not allowing homeless people to sleep outside when the shelters are all full. 

There are recommendations at the end of the report which includes passage of Homeless Bills of Rights and passing anti-discrmination statutes in municipalities.  There could be better training of law enforcement in how to serve low income individuals and legal cases brought against businesses that routinely deny services to fragile and disabled populations. 

Check out the report.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday
Dec162013

Ohio Safer for Homeless People in 2012

William Gilmore reading the names at the 2011 Homeless Memorial DayIn the new report issued by the National Coalition for the Homeless they rank the states according to how dangerous they are for homeless people.  Ohio has been in the top 5 for dangerous states for the past 10 years.  Typically, we have had seven to ten attacks with one or two resulting in death.  Cleveland has seen rock attacks, stun gun attacks, rapes and bricks thrown from cars.  Most of the attacks over the last 14 years took place in Cincinnati and the Dayton area.  It is always strange how cities with a great deal of hostility toward homeless programs and people always are at the top of the list of hate crimes directed at the poor. 

50% of the perpetrators of these attacks were under 20 years old.  38% of those who are attacked are older than 50 years of age.  There were a total of 88 crimes against homeless people documented by police or advocates in communities throughout the United States.  Florida with twice as many attacks as the nearest state of California was number one again this year in hate crimes.   There were 15 attacks that resulted in the death of the individual including the serial killer in California who was targeting homeless people in 2012.  

The non-lethal attacks in Ohio included a rape of a teenager in Columbus Ohio in December 2012.  In May 2012, a group of Toledo teenagers beat a homeless person named Todd Swint.  There are resources in the back including local contacts and updates on the movement to pass a homeless bill of rights in states throughout the United States.  Check out the report and support the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

 

Saturday
Jun222013

National Homeless Group Selects New Director

The Board of Directors of the National Coalition for the Homeless, of which I am a member, announced this week the appointment of Jerry Jones as its new Executive Director. Jones follows the successful work of Neil Donovan, who stepped down from this role in May.

Board President John Parvensky announced the new hire:

"Homelessness in America is a national tragedy that has been tolerated for far too long. We can no longer stand quietly while budgets are cut and our political leaders try to manage the problem rather than solve it. We intend to escalate pressure to demand a response that is proportionate to this crisis, and we have hired an Executive Director with a strong background in grassroots mobilization to lead this effort. We are especially committed to making sure that the voices of those experiencing homelessness themselves and others living in extreme poverty are heard in this debate."

Jones has a twenty-five year background in community organizing, issue advocacy and national-level campaigns. He is a former aide to the late Mitch Snyder, a prominent advocate for the homeless during the 1980s. More recently, Jones worked with the Center for Community Change, where he has served as the Director of Special Initiatives. His roles there included founding the Center’s electoral program in 2004, helping to launch the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support, and coordinating a national progressive coalition in response to last year’s Fiscal Cliff.   Jones has experience with community organizing and assisting fragile populations with voting.

For more information about the National Coalition for the Homeless, please visit our website: www.nationalhomeless.org. Look for more information from the new director in mid July.