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Archive for the ‘chronic homelessness’ Category

The City of Seattle, WA has evicted 91 homeless campers in the Nickelsville tent city outside Seattle, WA. The City of Seattle has said that it has plenty shelter for those who are residing in the tent city; however, the One Night Count (think “Street Survey”) of King County this past January found that there was insufficient shelter for the city’s 6,000 homeless individuals.

The tent city was organized by SHARE/WHEEL, a homeless activist group in Seattle.

The story on the eviction can be read at the Seattle Times website. Click here.

See story behind the jump for background. Note: the story behind the jump was written prior to the eviction.

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Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, came to Buffalo on Tuesday to give a keynote speech at the Ending Homelessness symposium sponsored by the WNY Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Alliance. The Buffalo News reports behind the jump. (more…)

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The Homeless Alliance and the WNY Coalition for the Homeless, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is proud to present a day-long symposium entitled Ending Homelessness.

The symposium will take place on Tuesday, Sept 16th. from 8:30am-4:30pm.

Our Keynote Speaker is Philip F. Mangano, Executive Director, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Breakout session topics will include
– homeless supportive services
– homeless housing funding
– accessing mainstream benefits
– implementing Housing First models
– preventing foreclosure
– grassroots economic development

This symposium is for executive directors, program directors, case managers, community advocates, policy makers, homeless housing and service providers, human service providers, homeless outreach workers, and community and faith-based organizations.

The symposium will take place at the Hyatt-Regency in Buffalo. Cost will be $45/person. Invitation and Registration Form will follow. Any inquiries should be directed to Irene Pijuan at 847-0655 x264.

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Those who are homeless are often called lazy. It is not uncommon for the Homeless Alliance staff to hear comments like “why can’t they just find jobs?” when we talk about homelessness in the community. Too often, those who are disconnected from the experience of homelessness want to boil it down to the individual while also creating silver-bullet solutions (i.e., “get a job”). Yet, with a quarter of homeless individuals in Erie County reporting that they have a disability which precludes them from working, it is clear that employment is not the solution. We often think that the difference between “us” (those who have a home) and “them” (those who are homeless) is that “we” work and “they” don’t. It is interesting that few recognize that the difference is a home.

Moreover, there seems to be a double standard about work. Often, those who are poor or homeless just “need to get job”. When it comes to the poor, we put a high value on the need to work. Yet at that same time, we don’t reward work in this country, as the declining value of the minimum wage demonstrates. Some economists have noted that if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since the 1970’s, then it would currently be about $18/hour.

Kevin Barbieux, author of a great blog from Nashville called The Homeless Guy, highlighted a comment from one of his readers in this post that really reflects the misconceptions about those who are homeless and “laziness”.

If you haven’t looked at The Homeless Guy blog before, take a minute to check it out, as it contains a lot of great discussions.

The comments made in this post also reflect on the difficulties of panhandling. Often, panhandlers are treated as criminals, threats, or as less than human. Of course, not all who are homeless panhandle and not all panhandlers are homeless.

One way that cities have helped alleviate the dehumanization and maltreatment associated with panhandling is through the creation of “street newspapers”. Vendors can buy – at a low price – a stack of street papers and sell them on the streets and keep the profit. This replaces asking for money and provides more opportunity for positive interaction on the street. The papers they sell contain issues that matter to homeless and low-income populations – articles, stories, poetry, art – etc.

A great example of a street paper is “streetvibes” from Cincinnati. Also, the North American Street Newspaper Association promotes the creation of street newspapers throughout cities in North America.

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Skid Row Encampments
Los Angeles’ Skid Row is well-known for its significant street homeless population concentrated in that area. A new plan is trying to change that. LA county supervisors have approved a $5.6 million plan to move 50 of those most in need on Skid Row into their own apartments employing a Housing First model. The top three on their list have already indicated that they want a home, making the argument that “the homeless choose to be homeless” a little harder to stick.

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Massachusetts legislators are considering a $10 million dollar allocation of funds toward a project that will eliminate homelessness throughout the state. The projected plan, which utilizes a Housing First model, demonstrates a shift among state legislators from funding shelter model projects toward funding permanent housing models.

State officials have recognized the cost-effectiveness of permanent housing options.

Not only is Housing First a cost effective model, it is a just model. Click below to read the article. (more…)

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Another article on Housing First – this one from the Washington Post.

Ready or Not, a Home of Their Own

Washington Post

By Marc Fisher

Thursday, December 27, 2007; B01

This is where Gregory Hart lived for most of the past two years: down an alley alongside Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW, next to a trash can, curled against a concrete platform. Here, gang toughs assaulted him with a baseball bat. Here, he raised rats in a box. Here, he relied on a dog and a cat — Bam Bam and Little Bam Bam — to wake him if danger lurked. Here, passersby called him “retard” and shouted at him to “get a job.”

And this is where Gregory Hart has lived since last Thursday: in a spacious, sunny, well-heated three-room apartment he has entirely to himself, with a stove where he can cook chicken and gravy, and with a blue comforter he chose at Target and a bed where he can sleep as long as he wants without fear of attack.

Hart, 53, has spent long chunks of his life on the streets of Washington. Mentally ill and in poor health, he has drifted through periods of drinking and drugging. Dismissed as mentally incompetent from an early age, he never attended regular school and couldn’t read or write until adulthood.

“My mother tried to keep me in the house when I was young because nobody liked me,” he says. “I was rejected by the population.” Hart would still be in the alley this week if not for a small but fast-growing nonprofit group called Pathways to Housing that puts chronically homeless people into their own apartments — with daily support from social workers– even if they’re not sober, even if they lack basic housekeeping skills.

Most plans for the homeless involve moving them through shelters and group homes until they prove they are ready for permanent housing by staying sober and going to treatment for a substantial time.

But under a model called Housing First, groups such as Pathways take people as they are, in part because housing is a basic right and in part because it’s cheaper. It costs $23,000 a year to care for people who have someplace to live vs. more than $40,000 a year to give the homeless the emergency services they require — hospital ER care, detox, hours of police attention, endless trips through the court system.

In four years in Washington, Pathways has taken 130 homeless people off the streets, about 90 percent of whom are still in housing. (more…)

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