Toronto’s mayor says the city will be turning some motel rooms into shelter spaces for the homeless, with at least 90 spaces to open as early as next week. John Tory says the city will be renting blocks of rooms in two Toronto motels in an effort to make extra space available as needed during the cold weather. It will cost roughly $100,000 from now until March, but Tory says it’s just a short-term solution. A report on the city’s homeless shelter system is expected in a few weeks. Four homeless men died in just over a week in the city, three of them due to the frigid weather.
The online hacktivist Anonymous has sent a threatening message to the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SMPV) and Montreal police against bulldozing of a homeless camp set up by Anonymous in Viger Square for OpSafeWinter. In retaliation Anonymous has called for occupy Viger Square movement in which a protest will be held against police activity against homeless people. Anonymous has also asked its supporters to bring with them protective gear such as gas masks, material for building barricades, and anything else that might be useful in defending the encampment should it be attacked by the SPVM (Montreal Police).
The online hacktivist Anonymous has sent a threatening message to the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SMPV) and Montreal police against bulldozing of a homeless camp set up by Anonymous in Viger Square for OpSafeWinter. The purpose of setting up shelter village was to save homeless people the extreme cold weather, but on January 7th, the Montreal police dismantled the camp calming “they are saving lives”. In retaliation Anonymous has called for occupy Viger Square movement in which a protest will be held against police activity against homeless people. Anonymous has also asked its supporters to bring with them protective gear such as gas masks, material for building barricades, and anything else that might be useful in defending the encampment should it be attacked by the SPVM (Montreal Police).
Two Albuquerque police officers are facing murder charges in the shooting death of a homeless man. Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy are accused of police brutality in the March 2013 death of 38-year-old James Boyd. According to reports, criminal charges will be filed against both Perez and Sandy on Monday. In March 2013, the Albuquerque Police Department responded to reports that a homeless man was camping in a restricted zone. As Boyd refused to leave the area, the officers eventually used a flash-bang grenade and a police dog to force him to comply. As reported by KRQU, Boyd continued to refuse the officers’ demands. Perez and Sandy then opened fire. The Albuquerque police officers shot the homeless man a total of three times. Boyd was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. As one of the officers was wearing a helmet camera, the grisly scene was captured on film. The resulting footage went viral within days.
The stories of homelessness told in this series are but a few of thousands unfolding every day in the Nation’s Capital. These photos depict people who told their personal struggles but there were many more who could not or would not tell their story. There are thousands more in the Nation’s Capital whose stories won’t be told. Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 9.33.55 PMThey are extraordinary people who went to school, learned skills, and held jobs. Some owned homes, others paid rent, some are fathers and mothers, others are children. They are the ones abandoned by our society. They have hopes and dreams, families and loves, needs and fears, and…they are a little bit like you and me: they are us.
Byron Hawkins speaks of his most difficult challenge on the street is not living on it but “dealing with fools.” Assaults and fights between the homeless are common as are disputes over choice spots. “I’ve seen more stuff happen here on the streets than the average man.” He speaks of his worst experience in prison and why he knows he’ll never go back. His mother died while he was there and the experience broke his spirit. “They strapped me to a chair in a jacket with my arms pulled around me.” He couldn’t accept that the prison warden would not allow him go to bury his mom, and how hard it was he would never see her again. The prison psychologist sedated him with a shot to calm and put him to sleep. It took seven guards to hold him down. “They kept me there for three days until I broke.” “They didn’t let me out even to go to the bathroom-you s— and p— in this chair until you calm down.” He tells of it as the worst experience of his life.
H-Boy “Homeboy” Poet is a towering slender young man with a few whisks of grey in a curly black beard. His dark unblemished skin is carefully wrapped in a head scarf. His hands are strong with pulsing veins. He wears the clothes he wore last week and the week before, almost never changing. A transplant from the Bronx, he speaks softly and has been living on streets for three years. He writes tiny poems for donations of “whatever people will give.” For him living homelessness is “just another challenge for me to get through.”Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 11.05.56 PM A few days after Christmas he is waiting for a bus near Franklin Park after most of the men have left to get out of the cold.
Anthony, 47 years old, is friendly as he greets me as I pass through McPherson, on Christmas. “What have you got for me,” he asks? His companion, ‘Chico’, is an obedient mixed Pit Bull and looks up suspiciously as I go through my bag to find something for him to eat. Chico stands close to him, eyeing me with a worried look and afraid to leave Anthony’s side.Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 9.34.27 AM The street has been harsh to Both Anthony and Chico, who has a human like quality and wears his master’s suffering on his face. Anthony agrees to let me take his picture but only if I’ll give him something other than food.
Anthony, 47 years old, is friendly as he greets me as I pass through McPherson, on Christmas. “What have you got for me,” he asks? His companion, ‘Chico’, is an obedient mixed Pit Bull and looks up suspiciously as I go through my bag to find something for him to eat. Chico stands close to him, eyeing me with a worried look and afraid to leave Anthony’s side. The street has been harsh to Both Anthony and Chico, who has a human like quality and wears his master’s suffering on his face. Anthony agrees to let me take his picture but only if I’ll give him something other than food. “Everyone is giving out food but I need money and clothes,” he says.
Its dusk on Christmas Eve. A white van of Samaritans stops at the corner of Eye Street. On queue the men shuffle to its hatch and line up. She opens its side door at the curb. At McPherson the men linger late into the night, waiting for food, gloves, hats, and tonight’s menu: steamy soup and flowered biscuits. In it they find temporary salvation. The soup steams in the night and smells sweet with rosemary. Samaritans leave a few extra portions on the ledge of the escalators for the latecomers, but most of it is abandoned or left for pigeons. Later on the subway cleaning staff will discard it.
They occupy alleys and benches, the side doorways of office buildings and dead spaces behind dumpsters. They hobble along sidewalks, looking for change, food and clothing. “Can you spare quarters, dimes, nickels?” A homeless man asks each night near McPherson Park. Others linger near the metro entrance waiting for the van from Martha’s Table to serve dinner. By the thousands, Washington, DC bears witness to the displaced who congregate in its parks and sidewalks. They wait for meals and clothing that are delivered by civic groups after the last of the rush hour traffic has dribbled back to the suburbs.
The local council in the French city of Angouleme has backtracked on a decision to cage public benches to stop homeless people using them. The fences were put up on Christmas Eve sparking outrage that the move could be so lacking in Yuletide spirit While many shopkeepers had welcomed the cages, saying homeless people brought down the number of customers, locals had responded in solidarity. Two teenagers climbed inside the cages and refused to move out. One said: “we were quite outraged , like everybody, I think. And so we said to ourselves: we absolutely have to do something” The cages have been temporarily removed but the mayor of the right leaning UMP council, Xavier Bonnefont, said no final decision had yet been made. “We will continue to reflect on this in January with the shopkeepers and the residents of Champs de Mars square, in order to find a satisfactory solution,” he declared.
Tampa activists Dezeray Lyn and Chris Mince are joining two South Florida food sharing activists on a hunger strike to protest a recent crackdown on feeding the hungry in Ft. Lauderdale. “There’s nothing that would stop me from expressing my humanity for the people I’ve grown to live,”said Lyn. The arrest of 90-year-old Arnold Abbott, a longtime social activist who feeds the homeless in Ft. Lauderdale, has sparked national attention and outrage among people who routinely organize food sharing in parks. Lyn says one of her fellow activists in South Florida has now gone without food for 22 days and another hasn’t eaten anything in 11 days to protest the food sharing crackdown.
The names of the five individuals shot and killed by police officers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) emanated from a bullhorn at a recent San Francisco rally, protesting BART’s treatment of the city’s homeless. For the activists lining the walls of the Powell Street BART Station on this Saturday morning in November, the BART police shootings underscored the injustice of an institution, which, for its detractors, has become synonymous with racial profiling, police brutality and abuse of power. The rally, which its organizers labeled a “sleep-in,” centered on a policy ratified in July 2014, which allows BART police to arrest or issue citations to anyone resting or sleeping against the walls of BART stations. Those in attendance were aiming to reverse that specific policy, but they located their campaign within a broader effort to both reform the conduct of BART police and combat the general marginalization of San Francisco’s poor.
America’s Youngest Outcasts looks at child homelessness nationally and in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, ranks the states from 1 (best) to 50 (worst), and examines causes of child homelessness and solutions. The report uses the newest federal and state data related to child homelessness, including the most recent annual count of homeless children in public schools made by the U.S. Department of Education (2012-2013 school year; released in September 2014) and U.S. Census data. The report notes that while progress has been made in reducing homelessness among veterans and chronically homeless individuals, no special attention has been directed toward homeless children, and their numbers have increased.