Local Reports from the National Coalition

One of the best part of the meeting of the National Coalition for the Homeless meeting is hearing the local updates from around the United States.  It is good to hear that the struggles in Cleveland are nothing compared to some of the other areas of the country.   Every once in a while there are victories that we could all learn to replicate locally. 

South Dakota

Has decided not to expand Medicaid.  Worked to establish a state Housing Trust Fund in March 2013, and part of the fund goes to economic development.

Washington State

They are experiencing such a rough time with the budget that there is a proposal to cut homeless assistance by half.  Advocates are rallying to push for "closing loopholes" in taxes to prevent the cuts to human services. 

New York

They have had record numbers in the shelters with 50,000 reached last month a new record.  That marks a 61% increase in shelter during the Bloomberg administration and a 20% increase in one year.  The point in time count released by HUD is highly inaccurate, but it the numbers show that 1 in 4 homeless people live in New York City.  One of the big issues is the loss of targeted housing vouchers for homeless families that the Mayor cancelled.  There are regular fights with the administration over access to shelter.  Advocates have been fighting over the "diversion"  rules in court.  They hope to delay the implementation until a new Mayor can make the final decision.  They are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy with many still in temporary locations.  There have been protests and efforts to extend the time people have to find housing. The plan to house everyone who lost their housing in the hurricane is still not in place, but the City continues to set arbitrary deadlines.

New Orleans

The Public Housing Authority has been successful in replacing as many as 2,400 units which has helped to keep the homeless population down.

Mississippi

They have put together a plan to end homelessness with a focus on children and families.

California

Advocates are working on a Homeless Bill of Rights.  There was an attempt to weaken the legislation to make it largely symbolic.  This was successfully beaten back, but there is no guarantee that the Governor will sign the legislation. They have a Housing Trust fund without money, and there is an attempt to find a revenue source.   There have been stories in the local paper of individuals being transported from Nevada to California and dumped.   There is great concern for the local housing authorities having to evict people beginning this summer because of federal budget cuts and sequestration. 

South Carolina

There was a anti-camping ordinance passed that allows homeless people to live under a bridge for 48 hours before they have to move on.  There are no resources to help people in South Carolina and a tangible fear and loathing of single homeless males and lower income citizens. 

Ft. Lauderdale

They have expanded their drop in center to serve larger numbers.  There is an expanded health care for the homeless clinic operating in the community.  The entire state has a large number of attacks, brutal treatment of those living outside and massive numbers of arrests.  It is a rough place for homeless people to live.

Denver

The anti-camping ban passed and they are still dealing with the results.  People are feeling less safe and feel constantly under threat for arrest. While there have not been arrests using the anti-camping it is an opening to do a background check and arrest for some other reason.  They are trying to renovate  an old VA hospital as a transitional housing facility and rehab center.  There is concern that HUD will not allow congregate living arrangements after a controversial court decision that attempts to de-concentrate disabled populations.  The problem is that the only way to make these projects work is to have larger scale facilities with over 100 people living together.  It is a problem that Congress or HUD need to resolve this issue.   They continue to develop 100 Permanent Supportive Housing units a year and the latest property increased the size of the Denver Health Care for the Homeless clinic. 

Brian

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