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.

News Updates on Criminalization, Youth and Other Homeless Stories

by Dan the Intern

Homelessness, Government, and Politics

Homeless Youth


Opinions are those who sign the entry.

Unfriendly Honolulu Push Homeless People Out

Honolulu is a beautiful place to live, but a horrible place to be homeless.  Honolulu police are officially cracking down on homelessness at the direction of the Mayor. They are confiscating personal belongings, closing public parks at night, banning tents and lean-tos in public spaces, imposing fines for public urination/defecation, and rousting those from sleep on the sidewalks. Mayor Kirk Caldwell explained, in an essay published in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, that they are battling homelessness. Caldwell has demanded a war against homelessness. However, to John McCormack, a 55-year-old homeless man from Waikiki, it’s becoming more and more evident that “he’s making a war against the homeless," according to an article in the New York Times.

In the most amazing Orwellian language, Caldwell calls the crackdown "compassionate disruption." Meanwhile, police are ticketing homeless people for pushing their belongings in a shopping cart on the sidewalk; they are demanding that homeless people leave the city without offering alternative solutions. Caldwell calls the policy “doing it with aloha," the Hawaiian word that means compassion. Meanwhile, Jerry Jones, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, told the NY Times, “have we gotten so far out of touch with reality that our first reaction to people experiencing destitution is that it spoils our view of the beach?” 

Indeed, perhaps the root of the problem is the conflict between homelessness and tourism. While more and more tourists flock to the sunny island, the homeless population has increased by 32 percent in the last 5 years. Michael Stoops, the director of community organizing for the National Coalition for the Homeless, claims that the war is “a war going on between tourism and development versus helping the homeless." People come to Hawaii for the sand, sun, and surf, and they cannot get away from the problems faced by every major American city with thousands of homeless people wandering the streets and beaches. Caldwell, who has received letters of complaint from bothered tourists, responds “with notes asking [the tourists] to give the city another chance”. He insists that homelessness is ruining the economy and the city, and he urges the war against homelessness to go on. Clearly, the tourists are winning this war. 

By Lora Zuo

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Columbia South Carolina Passes Crazy Law

It is easy to make fun of the Southern states, and their commitment to bad government.  From their defense of religious symbols in public places in violation of the US Constitution to voting against their own interests on a regular basis.  I mean most states below the Mason Dixon are last in education, access to health care, life span rates, and income levels, but they continue to elect state officials who never address the quality of life issues faced by their constituents.  Instead they focus on railing against Obamacare or federal regulations or raising fears about a threat to the second amendment to get re-elected. 

Columbia South Carolina passed a shocking ordinance to limit the number of homeless people within their borders by a unanimous vote of the City Council.  It is easy to laugh this off as another crazy law from backward legislators, but this law is especially disturbing.  Urban homelessness disproportionately impacts African Americans in the United States.  In Cuyahoga County 80% of the homeless population are black while according to the US Census the overall county statistics show that only 30% of the total population are African American.  The Columbia South Carolina Mayor is black and four out of the seven City Council members are black yet they all voted to make it illegal to be homeless in the city.  The Council said that they were concerned that they were becoming a "magnet for homeless people"  as the reason for this nonsensical response.

The Huffington Post article details the high cost of incarcerating individuals for violating this new law when compared to offering housing to the population.  The cost of incarcerating an individual for six months in Columbia is $9,000.  The cost of paying 100% of a person's rent for six months in a one bedroom apartment at the fair market rent would be $3,870.  The ordinance would give people on the streets the option to relocate or get arrested for living outside.  There would be police stationed at the shelter to monitor the streets, and a hotline will be established to "report" homeless people violating the law to be "removed."   This would mean that people would have to stay in a shelter, go to jail or leave the city limits.  

What happened to the "get government off our backs crowd?"  What happened to the Columbia law director not seeing the many constitutional violations here?   What happened to the majority African American Columbia City Council not seeing how this will have a disproportionate effect on blacks?  What happened to the freedom of movement?  Is there any evidence anywhere that law enforcement is good at scaring people into not being homeless?  Business owners are complaining that they have thrown money at the problem for 20 years and it has only gotten worse, so they are giving up and making it illegal to lose your housing. 

Cooperative homeless people will be given the option to go to a remote 240-person bed emergency shelter, which will be open from September to March. The shelter will also be used as a drop-off for people recently released from prison and jail, too.

The City Council members actually believe that making a segment of their poor population into criminals will "open up a window of opportunity."  It seems that the only opportunity created would be the opportunity to leave the state. The Gospel Mission staff quoted in the article stated the obvious in the most understated manner claiming that this might give off the impression that Columbia does not want homeless people.

According to ThinkProgress, clients at the shelter will not be allowed to leave the premises without permission and a police officer will stand guard at the road leading to the building.

They have decided on expanding public housing in the form of jails instead of building affordable housing.  They have decided on deportation orders rather than operating safe places for everyone to put their head at night.   They have opted for punishments for people making mistakes rather than forgiveness and offering safety to those struggling.  It is slapping on handcuffs over a hand up.  It is distrust of your fellow man conquering the religious conviction to help your brother. 

Brian Davis

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