News Updates This Last Week

In Honolulu, many homeless people say they are losing precious belongings, medicine, food, and even their identification as the city aggressively clears out encampments. With some of the largest homeless encampments in the country, the city has been conducting sweeps since last November in order to enforce laws which prohibit blocking or storing property on sidewalks. 

Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma plans to use a new $1.47 million grant to continue expanding its services to homeless veterans in the Oklahoma City metro area. With the announcement this week that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs renewed funding for a third year, the program's director said he hopes to continue ramping up those services in surrounding areas.  This at the same time Goodwill is under investigation for the Ability One program to provide jobs to disabled individuals. 

A homeless woman previously convicted of murdering a homeless advocate has pleaded guilty to lesser charges. The Shawnee County District Attorney announced Tuesday that Kimberly Sharp will be sentenced Sept. 30 for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in the death of 38-year-old David Owen, a homeless advocate from Topeka who disappeared in June 2006.

Josh McManus said at the beginning of his speech at the Team Jackson luncheon on Monday that he was prone to make controversial statements. Two examples: Detroit is misunderstood and is on the rebound. By feeding the homeless, churches in downtown Jackson create unintended consequences by giving street people reason to hang around.

A police chief in southwestern Ohio says he wasn't surprised that one of his officers delivered a pizza to a homeless man. Middletown Officer Jason Deaton was recognized on the police division's Facebook Wednesday after he gave pizza and a drink to a man who was sleeping on the streets.

An Ohio County woman isn't giving up her dream helping homeless women and children.  A zoning board denied Angela Porter-Stewart's proposal for a new homeless shelter last year but now---she's found a new location off Highway 62 in Beaver Dam.

Congressman Tim Ryan announces $119,552 for Shelter Care, Inc. in Tallmadge. This grant will fund the Street Outreach Services program, which addresses the needs of runaway, homeless and street youth by providing outreach services to help young people leave the streets and transition to a safe living arrangement.

A once homeless man is now working to help others overcome adversity. Daryl Dalton worked to organize the Homeless Community Cookout and Clothes Giveaway at Macintosh Park on Sunday. Several local organizations chipped in to help sponsor the event.

Richard Gere stars in a new movie about a mentally ill man who becomes homeless. Gere has been testifying in support of improving access to care for homeless mentally ill people. Time Out of Mind is a movie about homelessness and dropping out of society. 

Joyce Robinson

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

New Orleans News Items Around Homelessness

The New Orleans-area homeless population is estimated at 4,900 (for one night)– twice as big as before the levees failed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina – and the majority sleeps in the some 40,000 abandoned buildings that remain after the storm. This is an aspect of the city that most tourists don’t see... (FYI: This is more than twice the number found homeless in Cleveland on the same night).

Abandoned house in Cleveland. We have a similar number of abandoned structures and no levee broke in Cleveland.Even after a decade, some elderly, frail, and disabled New Orleanians are without homes or essential services. Joshua Mitchell has lived in his house for the past five years without electricity or running water. That puts Mitchell in a distinct category of post-Katrina squatters, who street-outreach workers describe as “homeless in their own homes.”

Abandoned houses marked with X, homeless people and drug addicts begging on the streets - this is the legacy of Hurricane Katrina after 10 years. Ohio native Johnny Joo said that while other parts of the city have been successfully regenerated, the East Side – which was an impoverished area before Katrina – has continued to struggle.  This article has some amazing photos associated with the story.

A recent count found about 1,703 long term homeless people in New Orleans and the neighboring metropolitan area of Jefferson Parish, according to UNITY of Greater New Orleans, a collaboration of homeless agencies. That's an 85 percent decline in homelessness since 2007 (two years after the levee collapse), when it was at its peak after Katrina with 11,619 homeless people. These are based on the flawed complete count numbers which are unreliable at best.  It also should be noted that the half the population of New Orleans has not returned to the city.

The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed at least 1,836 people and is considered the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, is Aug. 29.  But 10 years later, many survivors have left and never returned, others are still rebuilding, and much of the city's Lower Ninth Ward remains uninhabited. NPR did a month of stories about the recovery effort with many interviews of people they first met 10 years ago.

New Orleans still bears the scars of Hurricane Katrina, ten years later. More than 500,000 people fled when the storm hit, and many never returned. Many hurricane survivors continue to experience mental health problems related to the storm, whether or not they returned to New Orleans, say researchers tracking Katrina’s psychological aftermath.

In May 2009, about four years after Katrina destroyed most of New Orleans, a locally based research nonprofit called the Bureau of Governmental Research issued a key finding: subsidized housing will assist more of the poorest households in New Orleans than before the disaster, and a far greater number of low- and moderate-income households with incomes between 40% and 80% of median.  The projections have not been met and poor people are paying a higher percentage of their income for housing.  The 2008 downturn had a really bad impact on the development of affordable housing in New Orleans (and the rest of the country).

This American Life had an hour on the aftermath of the levee collapse in New Orleans including the resident of the Lower 9th Ward who had moved to Dallas.  She was back in New Orleans but had to spend part of her time in Dallas begging for money for food and diapers for her kids. The whole hour is worth listening to about the dynamics of people moving into the neighborhood vs. those who survived the drowning of the City. 

Ten years later, New Orleans, which took the brunt of the damage when the levees failed, submerging 80% of the city, is a vastly-improved place on many levels. High school graduation rates have jumped from 56% before the storm to 73% today, thanks to a proliferation of charter schools.

by Joyce Robinson

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

News Updates from Around the US

Elvis Summers turned the tiny home trend into a viral campaign to bring innovative shelters to homeless men and women living in and around Los Angeles. He’s raised more than $85,000 in crowdfunding for the project, called Tiny House, Huge Purpose, and received an overflow of volunteers and building materials. City officials, however, are not so thrilled.  City Council passed earlier this year in an attempt to crackdown on homeless encampments and permits authorities to seize such items without notice.

America has the largest number of homeless women and children in the industrialized world. It's a depressing statistic exacerbated by a housing crisis that forced thousands of families out onto the street. In 2010, the Obama administration announced a plan to end homelessness among children, youth, and families by 2020—but, predictably, there have been spats over funding and how to best use federal dollars.

From Fort Lauderdale to Denver to Los Angeles, cities are struggling with a surge in people living in cardboard boxes and doorways. Local lawmakers are trying to ban “camping out” in public spaces, and ordering police to clear the fetid encampments.  The National Coalition for the Homeless is working with others to overturn these efforts to make it illegal to be homeless.

The captions below the pictures of homeless New Yorkers are blunt and derisive: “disgusting,” says one; “bed and breakfast” mocks another. The Guardian newspaper takes a look at efforts in New York City to make it difficult to be without housing.  There is a rise in the United States to make it illegal to perform life sustaining activities such as eating or sleeping in public.

When Oahu, Hawaii-based photographer Diana Kim saw her father for the first time in years, he was standing on a street corner, staring at the asphalt below. He didn't acknowledge her presence.   Kim's father was struggling with mental illness, had been homeless for some time and didn't recognize her.  

America is stronger when we have decent, affordable homes and stable communities. Yet, since 2011, Congress has allowed low spending caps to deprive families and neighborhoods of the housing and community development investments they need to thrive. This is a commentary by the Mayor of Racine Wisconsin about the need for a comprehensive policy for housing people throughout the United States.  He argues that Congress needs to take the lead on this effort.

One of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s most ambitious goals is to get the city out of the housing crisis. However, just a few days later, he was silent about nearby Skid Row activists protesting both delays in the construction of affordable housing projects as well as the recent passage of city ordinances 56.11 and 63.44, which criminalize homeless. These laws allow the city to steal items from people who live outside and put in place fines for living outside.

by Joyce Robinson

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Homeless People in the National News

Homelessness in the News

When Pope Francis comes to the U.S. in September, he will meet with people who are homeless, immigrants, and the incarcerated.  This is very noble, but, as Lewis Diuguid points out, the visits should be impromptu to avoid politicians from scripting these meetings.

Community policing in Cincinnati is one of the best in the country, but Cleveland’s police do not know where to start when it comes to working with the community.  Upcoming reforms will hopefully see the police making a positive difference in communities.

What community benefit comes from jailing a homeless person, who is obviously not in the right state of mind?  Nothing.  A person consistently, and incoherently calling 911 needs help getting a stable place to live, not prison time. 

If cities want to end homelessness and improve the conditions of shelters, maybe it is time to start adequately funding the services needed to get homeless people off the street.  After the murder of a shelter director by a former client, shelters in New York City are working to improve safety for the staff.  

Student at Chicago Portfolio School has begun designing new signs for homeless.  These new signs, drawn with an artistic touch, are meant to draw people to have an actual conversation with these people and create awareness.  Sometimes it is just small gestures that make a big difference.

Los Angeles City Council legislation would make something as small as putting a bag on the ground a cause for action by police.  LA civil rights activists urge the mayor to veto this legislation.  Criminalizing homelessness does not see the results it expects to see, but hinders the possibility of ending homelessness. 

Rapid Rehousing has been touted as a cure-all for homelessness, but for many, particularly families, it is not enough.  These families are cut off way before they are able to sustain themselves.  This report looks at the limitations or the Rapid Rehousing movement highlighted by a new HUD report.

New Orleans plans to build $7 million dollar centralized homeless shelter with less restriction. However, it faces opposition from business owners, who rely on myths about the homeless community. 

Since Obama began a push to end veteran homelessness in 2010, many cities and counties have essentially eliminated homelessness.  Now, will we see as much success ending chronic, youth, and family homelessness? Cuyahoga County will be declaring a "functional end" to veteran's homelessness on Veterans Day 2015.

A minister in Nashville, Tennessee is raising money to build micro-homes for the homeless. 

Repurposed military base becomes a recovery center for  addicted homeless people.  This shelter is different from many by allowing the residents to run the shelter, while also providing meaningful things to do during the day, such as online classes.

by Dan the Intern

Opinions represent the opinions of those who sign the entry.