By Sara Jerome for Takepart. Detroit, MI – Aurora Harris is familiar with the way people sound when they first lose water service. “I try not to let it affect me emotionally, but there are some days where it’s heartbreaking to listen to elderly people crying on the phone, begging for water,” said Harris, cofounder of the community group We the People of Detroit. In Detroit, water and sewer bills have doubled in the last decade for thousands of customers living in poverty, according to the advocacy coalition People’s Water Board. Rates continue to rise. In May, the city resumed its practice of shutting off the water of delinquent customers, and as of July 1, nearly 4,000 households were eligible for disconnection, according to Bryan Peckinpaugh, spokesman for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
By Staff of Associated Press – In a rare move, a Colorado city has agreed to pay dozens of people, most of them homeless, who were sent to jail because they could not afford to pay fines for minor offenses such as panhandling and jaywalking. The $103,000 deal requires Colorado Springs to pay up to 66 people $125 for each day they spent behind bars. The city said municipal courts stopped imposing “pay or serve” sentences by the end of 2015 and the ordinances that allowed the practice have been changed.
By Genesee Martin for Capital Hill Times – The first People’s Assembly drew several hundred attendees to City Hall on Saturday, many carrying signs and flyers with slogans concerning healthcare and housing. Dozens of organizations, advocates, activists and union workers participated, as well as councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold and King County Councilmember Larry Gossett. Sawant organized the all-day event with the help of several different advocacy groups.
By Julia Carrie Wong for The Guardian – Residents have been ordered to vacate the San Francisco homeless encampment under a highway overpass after police and public workers pressured the city’s homeless to relocate there from areas of the city slated for Super Bowl 50 festivities. The 21st-century Hooverville became a symbol of the city’s gaping inequality in the run-up to and throughout the week of star-studded Super Bowl festivities in February, rekindling long-running controversies over how the city should address the needs of its nearly 7,000 homeless residents.
By Chris Steele for Truthout – Homelessness in Denver has grown 600 percent in the last 20 years, while the amount of emergency shelter beds has been stagnant. In October 2015, Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) occupied space at Sustainability Park and, financed through online donations, began constructing tiny homes for those experiencing homelessness. The group named the site Resurrection Village, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign, which culminated in 1968 after King was assassinated.
By Steven Maxwell for Activist Post – Every activist has read the increasing number of stories where homelessness is being criminalized, as if simply being homeless isn’t punishment enough. However, there is a rising tide among all walks of life that is beginning to view homelessness in a very different light. As a sinking economy and the criminal actions of the banking elite are leading many middle class, stable families into abject poverty, it is becoming much easier to identify with the less fortunate the closer their plight appears to be.
By Eleanor Goldberg for The Huffington Post – One of the poorest cities in the nation is on track to end chronic homelessness. It just needs a few landlords to step in to finish up the job. Four years ago, Buffalo, New York, had 400 homeless people living on the streets and streaming in and out of shelters. Today, it has knocked that figure down to 25 people, thanks to its collaborative housing efforts, the Homeless Alliance of Western New York said in a press release. The city’s success is due to its employment of the “housing first” strategy. The approach supports giving housing to people in need, and then dealing with their employment and health issues afterward.
By Lexi Finnigan for The Telegraph – A group of 20 anti-capitalist squatters have taken over the former Royal Mint Building in protest over Britain’s homelessness problem. The squatters, wearing V for Vendetta masks and hanging out of windows, have set up camp in the grade II-listed Johnson Smirke building, in the City of London, and are refusing to leave. They claim they will only be removed when the owners of the building arrive with a High Court order. Some of the protesters have taken to the roof of the building while others have hung banners with messages such as ‘anticapitalista’, as well as adorning the walls with ‘End World Debt’ posters.
By Tom Cahil for Global Research – Christmas is normally known as the time of year when Americans try to be a little more giving, more compassionate, and more altruistic than during the other 11 1/2 months of the year. But in cities across the US, many are simply fighting for the right to exist in hastily-constructed homeless camps. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that on any given night, there are over 578,000 Americans sleeping on the streets. At the same time, there are at least 10 million vacant homes across America that are lying empty. Here are 19 cities that are going above and beyond to push the most vulnerable Americans out of the public eye during the most compassionate time of the year.
By Mike Zint for Occupy SF. Berkeley, CA – November 20, Day 5: It has been a busy day. The occupation is growing. We have had a lot of food support. Tents are still needed. Blankets are still needed. We have had channel 2, channel 7, the Dailycal, and KGO come by. We thank them for paying attention. And finally, many old friends are showing up. People I have not seen protesting for awhile. My hope is on 12/1, all our old Occupy friends reunite here to hang out, and stand in solidarity with the occupiers. 1 day, 1 Bay Area convergence here at city hall. Spread the word on our “peasant uprising.”
By Anne Meador of DC Media Group. Washington, DC – Just as a cold front blew into town, a tent encampment was razed on Friday in a multi-agency effort to clear out the homeless from many areas around the District. Many people without other shelter have long occupied the space among the chaotic roadways and overpasses between Rock Creek Parkway, the Whitehurst Freeway, and K Street. A few days ago, the occupants were given notice to vacate the area, but few have anywhere to go. Many of the tents were disassembled without protest, while some camp residents vowed to defend their makeshift homes. A few advocates for the homeless arrived to witness the camp’s destruction, but they did not interfere.
By Staff of Voqal – When families with students enrolled at Central Pennsylvania Digital Learning Foundation can’t afford Internet access, the cyber school provides affordable solutions through Mobile Citizen. According to Technology Coordinator Micheal Tambellini, the number of families requiring connectivity assistance is growing. “We have a small percentage of homeless students enrolled today, and unfortunately that number seems to be increasing,” he said. “To keep up with the curriculum, they need the same Internet access as all of our other cyber students.”
By Keagan Harsha for Fox 31 DENVER — Denver’s housing market might be booming, but some say it’s happening at the expense of many residents who are being forced out of their homes and onto the streets. The city’s homeless population is now estimated at around 15,000 people. Richard Sasser is one of them. He and his wife have been homeless for 15 years. He said most people pass by him on the street without ever learning his story, but Monday his voice was magnified by several hundred people across the street. “These are our citizens and they deserve respect, dignity and a place to stay,” said Jason Janz, who helped lead a march from Coors Field to the Denver Rescue Mission in support of the city’s homeless.
By Diane Taylor for The Guardian – When Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs got planning permission to turn the historic Manchester stock exchange into a boutique hotel replete with basement gym, spa and rooftop private members’ terrace, they envisaged opening it up to an exclusive and moneyed clientele. Instead, a group of homeless people with little or no money have moved in – with Neville’s blessing. The hotel, which is undergoing extensive renovations before opening its doors to paying guests, was occupied on Sunday by a group of squatters and housing activists called the Manchester Angels.
By Staff for the Manchester Evening News – Homeless activists have promised to set up a ‘community hub’ for rough sleepers after occupying an empty building in Manchester city centre. The homeless rights campaigners have vowed to remain in the vacant office block on Charlotte Street for ‘months’ after taking it over last night. They say they are occupying the building to set up a hub where homeless people can go to get food, shelter and help to find accommodation and work. Claiming the legal right to occupy the building under squatter’s rights, they say they have been forced to act as the council are not doing enough for the city’s homeless. They also claim that members of the fire service have been to the building to assess that it is safe for them to stay in.