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Archive for September, 2007

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) – in anticipation of proposals in the air about expanding the definition of homelessness to include those who are living doubled or tripled up with family or friends – has released an estimate of the impact of expanding the definition.

NAEH estimates that if the definition of homelessness were expanded to include those doubled or tripled up, the increase across the nation of those considered homelessness would increase from 744,313 on an given night to 3.8 million.

Read their report here.

Obviously, this is a significant increase; it underscores the work that still needs to be done to end homelessness.

In the 2004 PRISM survey of those accessing soup kitchens and food pantries (not all of whom were homeless), 40.5% indicated that they stayed with family or friends the night before.

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Buffalo PRISM Plan

Philip Mangano, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness provided a clear warning to communities across the country when he went to Pittsburgh and called out the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County for not doing enough to end long-term or chronic homelessness.

The text of the article can be found below – but Mayors and County Executives Across the Country including here in Buffalo and Erie County should be mindful of such a public reprimand.

While the Homeless Alliance of Western New York has been working diligently to enact many of the recommendations that Mr. Mangano said should be put into place by our western neighbors, a greater commitment by all sectors of our community is needed.

The article is certainly worth a read.

Read it here.

Effort to reduce homelessness behind schedule.

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As outlined in the PRISM 10-Year Plan, the Homeless Alliance is conducting outreach with faith community leaders, members, and volunteers by giving them tools for responding to those in need. The faith community can not only give money, food, or clothing to those seeking assistance; they can also help screen for eligibility for income-enhancements, apply for these enhancements, and link those in need with local agencies that can assist in keeping them housed. This is a key part of the Alliance homelessness prevention efforts (The “P” in PRISM…for more about the plan, go here).

As such, the Homeless Alliance is proud to announce the second in a series of workshops entitled “The Homeless and At-Risk at my Door: What Can I Do?”. This workshop will provide the faith community with a wealth of information on local resources and mainstream benefits for those in need.

Free Workshop:
“The Homeless and At-Risk at My Door: What Can I Do?”

A free continental breakfast and workshop for faith community leaders, members, and volunteers.

When:October 16th, 8.30am to noon

Where: American Red Cross, Board Room ( 786 Delaware Ave)

Speakers from local human services agencies will present on available local resources and income-enhancements for those experiencing poverty and homelessness.
Continental Breakfast provided.

This event is free and open to all members and leaders of the faith community. Spaces are limited; call Devan at 853-1101×18 to reserve your spot. Registration ends Friday, October 12th.

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Many of the presidential debates conducted thus far have not spent a significant amount of time on issues of poverty and economic disparity in America. However, one particularly notable debate occurred this past June 28th. Taking place at Howard University, the All-American Presidential Forum covered issues that were addressed in The Convenant with Black America , published in January 2006. Among the topics covered in the debate by the Democratic candidates are poverty in America, health care, education, outsourcing of jobs, and economic disparity.
The Homeless Alliance doesn’t endorse all views mentioned in the debate by the candidates nor any particular candidate represented therein. However, with the knowledge that homelessness disproportionately effects the black community in Erie County (57% of those experience homelessness identify as African-American), the Alliance offers this link to a debate which addressed important issues of economic development, parity, and justice.
The Republican Party candidates are slated to debate at a similar forum, scheduled for September 27th @ 9pm ET on PBS. You can watch the debate live on the web; the Alliance blog will also post the video link when it becomes available.

Watch or listen to the Democratic debate here

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On January 24th, 2008, the Homeless Alliance of Western New York will conduct our 2008 Street Survey. This effort is a large-scale event to collect information from low-income and homeless persons in our community. A similar survey was conducted in 2004 and the information collected was used to create our PRISM plan, which is a ten-year plan to end homelessness in Buffalo and Erie County. In 2004, 165 volunteers surveyed close to 1,000 people at over 35 locations throughout the area.

The Street Survey is an unparalleled opportunity to gather valuable information about our low-income population who may be at risk of becoming homeless and those who currently experience homelessness. This type of analysis helps us to assess problems in our community. For example, in the 2004 survey, transportation was cited as one of the greatest needs. This led to a follow-up survey done on barriers to access, affordability and safety of transportation throughout the region.

Not only will the Street Survey yield a wealth of information, but it is also an exciting opportunity to join forces with our community members and raise public awareness of poverty and how it affects our area’s population. There is much work to be done over the upcoming months and it will only be possible with the support of our community and generous volunteers. Please consider joining one our committees to help us plan this exciting event!

Committee Meeting Dates

Questionnaire Committee: September 13th

Location Committee: September 17th

Volunteer Committee: September 20th

Street Outreach Committee: September 24th

Logistics Committee: September 24th

Please contact the Homeless Alliance for meeting times and locations at (716) 853-1101.

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