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Archive for November, 2007

The Homeless Alliance has spent some time compiling a list of blogs that touch upon homelessness, hunger, and poverty throughout the country. Below is a list with short descriptions. Take some time to visit them and learn more!

The Homeless Guy – long-standing blog of Kevin Barbieux, chronically homeless veteran from Nashville. He blogs on his experiences while homeless. Check out the “Debate” tab at the top – an interesting read.

Picture the Homeless – NYC homeless peer advocacy group that works on campaigns to highlight the lack of affordable housing and safety nets for those in need in New York City.

New York City Coalition Against Hunger – A coalition of 1,200 emergency food providers in NYC that works to impact policy that effects those experiencing hunger, particularly in the realm of Food Stamp advocacy.

LA Homeless Blog – John Joel Roberts, CEO of People and Partners Assisting the Homeless, maintains this blog on homeless and housing policy.

Poverty Law Prof Blog -A Professor of Law blogs on laws and policy affecting those experiencing poverty. A lot of interesting research links here.

When you shop online – visit the Homeless Alliance at www.wnyhomeless.org to give 5-10% of your purchase price at sites like Amazon and Macy’s.com to help the homeless in Buffalo and Erie County.

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As the holiday season approaches and you are considering your shopping options, consider using the Homeless Alliance website for your shopping. The Homeless Alliance has links to a number of large retailers – such as Amazon.com, iTunes, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Magazines.com, Macy’s, etc. When you click on these links and then make your purchases, the Homeless Alliance receives a percentage of your purchase price – at no additional cost to you. So you can shop for the holidays while contributing to the Homeless Alliance. Click on the image above to go to the Homeless Alliance Holiday Shopping Page.

Also, if you would like to make a donation to the Homeless Alliance this holiday season, click here to make a contribution through direct mail or PayPal. No PayPal account required.

Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry, thanksgiving, christmas

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The following schedule provides times and locations of dining rooms that are serving Thanksgiving meals over the holiday. Let those who are in need of this service know about the availability.

Thanksgiving Dining Room Schedule
2007

Loaves and Fishes Dining Room Tuesday, November 20th
875 Elmwood Ave 11:30AM-12:30PM
Buffalo, NY 14222

Thanksgiving Day

Response to Love Dining Room Thursday, November 22nd
130 Kosciuszko Street 10:30AM-12:30PM
Buffalo, NY 14212

City Mission Thursday, November 22nd
100 East Tupper 11:30AM-12:30PM
Buffalo, NY 14203

Durham Memorial Church, Central City Café Thursday, November 22nd
147 E. Eagle Street 11AM- 12PM
Buffalo, NY 14204

Friends of Night People Thursday, November 22nd
394 Hudson Street 1PM-3PM
Buffalo, NY 14201

The Hellenic Orthodox Church of Annunciation Thursday, November 22nd
Delaware and West Utica Street 10:30 AM- 12:30PM
Buffalo, NY 14209

Friday, November 23rd

St Vincent DePaul’s Dining Room Friday, November 23rd
1298 Main Street 11AM-12:30PM
Buffalo, NY 14209
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Saturday, November 24th

UPC Soup Kitchen Saturday, November 24th
67 Lake Avenue 12PM
Blasdell, NY 14219

When you shop online – visit the Homeless Alliance at www.wnyhomeless.org to give 5-10% of your purchase price at sites like Amazon and Macy’s.com to help the homeless in Buffalo and Erie County.

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In honor of Veterans’ Day, here is a second post on innovative housing models serving the needs of veterans that are chronically homeless. Someone is defined as chronically homeless when he or she is an unaccompanied individual, has a disabling condition, and is homeless consecutively for one year or more or has experienced four or more episodes of homelessness in a 3-year period.

homelessvets

The New York Times published this article last week about a homeless housing project in Seattle that allows those with chemical addictions to stay in permanent housing (not an emergency shelter) and still be able to use. This model has been effective throughout the country in ending chronic homelessness.

Bill Hobson, director of the Seattle Downtown Emergency Services Center, provides a good response to those who are angry about the housing that, as some see it, rewards those suffering from addictions by giving them housing:

First, he says, the complaints reflect no understanding of the grip of alcoholism: “Do you really think these men and women would rather live on the streets?” Second, the cost to the public appears to have dropped as the number of visits to the emergency room, jail and the sobering center has plummeted.

Finally, he asks, “what kind of equation of humanity is this: Since you refuse to stop drinking, since you refuse to address your disease, you must die on the streets.”

“These guys have nothing going for them,” he says. “They could not be more dispossessed.”

It isn’t mentioned in the article but one of the reason this housing model is so effective is because it is low-demand. Often, housing providers using traditional models require that those who have chemical addictions discontinue their drug abuse and seek treatment. Yet, this expectation is a barrier to their ability to have stable housing; therefore, they are unable to access shelter and instead must go to the only other options available to them: jails or hospitals, which cost far more for taxpayers than stabilized housing.

Safe Haven housing offers housing first and allows one to maintain that housing even if he or she does not want to seek treatment. Yet, as this article demonstrates, there is a significant relationship between having stable housing and one’s willingness to seek treatment. Safe Haven models make available drug treatment, but do not require it for entry. Not only are Safe Haven models effective in offering an alternative to the street to those who are chronically homeless but also are working well to treat chemical addiction as it effects this particular population.

Safe Haven housing models work for chronically homeless individuals who are in need of stable housing without a lot of stipulations, taxpayers who want cost-effective homeless services models, and service providers who are able to provide the housing and services over a period of time that makes sense to the client while moving them toward greater independence.

Read the NY Times article here.

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Keys to A Home

The Homeless Alliance would like to hear your thoughts on this Associated Press video on a Washington, D.C. Housing First model called Pathways to Housing.

This model is working effectively to end homelessness by offering housing placement first followed by case management services.

The veteran resident interview by Associated Press was homeless for 10 years before coming to Pathways to Housing, demonstrating the effectiveness of Housing First for some individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness.

Watch the 2 minute video here.

Please feel free to comment and give your thoughts on this model.

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a report claiming that the chronically homeless population nationwide has decreased by 12%. Philip Mangano of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness cites increased access to supportive housing, health care, and the development of 10 year plans as factors contributing to this decrease.

Michael Stoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless says he is “very skeptical” about HUD’s numbers, given the difficulty of tracking the chronically homeless population. Often, chronically homeless individuals will be pushed out of downtown areas with social services due to quality of life laws or beautification efforts, making it more difficult for them to be tracked by human service agencies.

It is a difficult task to count the chronically homeless and therefore any measure of their numbers should be examined along with a number of factors. For example, were the chronically homeless counted over a certain period of time or during a point-in-time count? How do fluctuating weather patterns affect counting methods? Keeping that in mind, the estimates we have locally suggest that we have a long way to go to meet the needs of even the majority of chronically homeless individuals. This population continues to be very vulnerable to petty crime, poor health and substandard living situations. Thus, it remains imperative to create more permanent supportive housing options, specifically designated for the chronically homeless.

Since 2004, more than 40 such beds have been created in Buffalo and Erie County, but with approximately 300 chronically homeless people in the area, we still have a long way to go. The chronically homeless are our most at-risk population, facing inclement weather and harassment, and we must continue to make safe and supportive housing options available for them. This is why meeting the needs of the Chronically Homeless in Buffalo and Erie County remains the top priority for the Homeless Alliance locally.

Gathering the best data possible does contribute to the ability of communities to best understand the needs of those experiencing poverty and homelessness, including the chronically homeless. On January 24th, 2008, the Homeless Alliance will be embarking on a 24-hour street survey, interview those accessing soup kitchens, food pantries, and emergency shelters to better understand the needs of those who are most in need. We will need lots of volunteers. Contact us at the Homeless Alliance if you are interested in being a part of this extensive effort.

Keep a close eye on the Homeless Alliance website for more details.

You can read the article on HUD’s report at USA Today.

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