Homeless Targeted Around the USA

City Workers Hose Man Sleeping in Seattle

John Eze was in a sleeping bag under a pergola in Pioneer Square, Seattle on the morning of April 2, 2008 when three police cars pulled up on the stone pavers beside him. Although it was only 40 degrees that day, one of the officers had a nearby Parks Department employee turn a garden hose on Mr. Eze, spraying him and his sleeping bag. Next, an ambulance arrived, taking the soaking wet man away involuntarily for a mental health evaluation. Witnesses said he was not posing any imminent danger to himself or others. The Parks Department stated that the employee was merely removing feces and urine under the bench and that Mr. Eze was not mistreated in any way. The employee told a bystander who tried to stand up for Eze, “I’ve been dealing with him for five weeks and he won’t move, and I just need to do my job.”

From Real Change                                                                                  

April 9, 2008

Tighter Identification Requirements Pose More Obstacles

Tighter standards to receive identification are making the already difficult process harder for the homeless. One Oregon man Keith Butler, who has been homeless for 25 years said, “I couldn’t get a birth certificate without ID, and then I couldn’t get a Social Security Card without a birth certificate or the social security card. And I basically had nothing.” Keith’s problem is not unique and only growing. Start July 1, applicants for new, renewal, or replacement ID’s will need proof of a social security number, they will also need to prove their legal residence in the U.S. This can be done with a passport, birth certificate, or immigration papers. Drivers’ licenses, military ID’s, nor a letter from a corrections agency will be accepted. The standards have been tightening since September 11, 2001. The government wants to protect against identity theft and fraud. However, by making these changes it’s harder for the homeless to get an ID and therefore harder to get housing, legal employment, public assistance, or sometimes even a library card. Another problem is that there are fees to get birth certificates and ID’s. In Oregon the price for a birth certificate is $20 and the price for  a non-driver’s ID is $29 which will increase by $4.50 in July to accommodate for the new changes.

From Street Roots, Mara Grunbaum

May 6, 2008

Two Sought in Shooting at Homeless Camp

Robert Clipner, 47, returned home on July 2nd, there days after being shot in the chest by two teens. Clipner lives in the chest by two teens. Clipner lives in Franklinton Camp. A collection of homeless tents near train tracks in Columbus. The camp had been harassed during the last few weeks by teens who throw rocks and bottles at the camp from the train tracks in Columbus. The camp has been harassed during the last few weeks by teens who throw rocks and bottles at the camp from the train tracks. On June 29th, Clipner decided to confront the young men shouting, “This has got to stop!” The young men had a guns, but Clipner did not believe they were real. He shouted,” If that’s a real gun, then you better shoot me!” One attempted to shoot Clipner, but missed. The other shot and hit him in the chest. Clipner survived the shot, walking out of the hospital Wednesday night with the bullet remaining in his chest. The police have had a few leads on the culprits, but have not arrested anyone. Attacks like this against the homeless have been increasing. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, with 13 attacks, Ohio is considered the fourth most dangerous state for the homeless after Florida, California, and Nevada. The National Law center on Homelessness and Poverty reported that there were 160 unprovoked attacks, 28 being fatal, on the homeless which is up from 142 last year. Ken Andrews, an Outreach Coordinator with Open Shelter said their have been a lot of problems with outsiders and Franklinton camp since last year. He reported,” There have been situations where camps have been totally destroyed.” He also suspects such attacks have been under reported. Clipner and his girlfriend Becky said, “I’m scared to be out here, I’m scared to sleep at night.” 

From Columbus Dispatch, Theodore Becker

July 6, 2008

Activists Deliver 2,000 Signatures Protesting the City’s Abhorrent Laws

Advocates for People on the Streets filled Portland City Council Chambers with 2,000 signed postcard’s calling for the suspension of the city’s sit-lie and anti-camping ordinances. Currently, there is a ban on sitting or lying on the downtown street sidewalks between 7a.m. and 9a.m. People are not allowed to sleep on public property. These sit-lie laws have been in effect since August 2007. At the time they were created the city was supposed to create more shelters for the homeless to stay during the day they were also supposed to create more public bathrooms. However, none of this has happened, but the sit-lie laws are still in effect. The Council made no comments about the presentation.

From Street Roots Joann Zuhl

June 13, 2008

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #85 in July-August 2008 Cleveland Ohio