By Eleanor Goldberg for The Huffington Post – Mayor Charlie Hales is so disconcerted by the growing housing crisis in Portland, Oregon, that he sees no choice but to declare a homelessness “state of emergency.” On a single night in January, 3,800 people slept on the streets, in shelters or in temporary housing, a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011, according to city estimates. Hales tasked officials on Wednesday to vote on declaring a state of emergency, which — if passed next month — would allow the city to waive zoning codes when developing shelters for homeless people. Hales said one of his priorities is to house all homeless women by the end of the year.
By ZH in IndyBay – Another sleepout protest at Santa Cruz city hall occurred this past Tuesday evening. Protesters have now spent 11 nights sleeping out in the open at city hall, in order to protest and draw attention to the Santa Cruz law which makes camping out in public or in one’s vehicle a citable offense. The law – which has been on the books in Santa Cruz since 1978 – has been criticized by protesters as unfairly targeting houseless people in the city who have no choice other than to sleep outdoors. The last Point in Time count – a nationally used method of surveying unhoused people – in the county registered 1964 individuals, far more than the 1172 shelter beds available to them. The sleepouts have regularly been visited by officers of the Santa Cruz police department, who arrived this past Tuesday evening around 11:00 pm. This week the police only wrote one citation, for a houseless protester found asleep beneath the city hall flagpole.
By Peter Jamison, David Zahniser and Matt Hamilton in LA Times – Acknowledging their failure to stem a surge in homelessness, Los Angeles’ elected leaders on Tuesday said they would declare a “state of emergency” and devote up to $100 million to the problem. But they offered few details about where the money would come from or how it would be spent, leaving some to question the effort’s chances of success. The announcement by seven City Council members and Mayor Eric Garcetti was a powerful signal of growing alarm at City Hall over L.A.’s homeless population, which has risen 12% since 2013, the year Garcetti took office. It coincided with a directive from the mayor Monday evening that the city free up an additional $13 million in the coming months to help house people living on the streets.
By Alex Darocy in IndyBay – Community members protesting local laws that criminalize homelessness returned to Santa Cruz City Hall on September 1 for their eighth all-night sleepout. In response, the Santa Cruz Police Department rented large lighting units in an attempt to illuminate the entire City Hall courtyard, and security guards were hired to patrol the premises all night. By the end of the evening, fifteen demonstrators were issued citations for being at City Hall after 10pm, and two individuals were arrested. A large group remained and slept until morning, however, and were served breakfast by volunteers. They have planned the next sleepout for September 8. Santa Cruz City Hall is closed to the public from 10pm to 6am. The group of protesters, some homeless and some not, faced increased pressure from police, who have been raiding all of the protests and ticketing individuals for trespassing. The SCPD conducted their first raid on the campers on September 1 in the courtyard at about 11:30pm. They were led by Lt. Christian LeMoss, who wore a long billy-club all evening as he supervised the citation process.
By Will Bredderman in The Observer – A few dozen protesters affiliated with the group Picture the Homeless gathered under the elevated Metro North tracks at 125th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem to protest what they claim is a new policy of police harassment initiated under Mayor Bill de Blasio. Chanting “hands off the homeless” in the frequent gathering spot for indigent individuals, the demonstrators alleged Mr. de Blasio has allowed and even encouraged the NYPD to badger and intimidate people living on the street. Several said the treatment has gotten worse in recent weeks, after Mr. de Blasio has vowed to clear the 80 encampments around the city—a pledge the demonstrators said was a betrayal of the progressive principles he campaigned on in 2013.
By Michele Biss in Rabble.CA. Canada – It’s the first of its kind: a human rights guide to ending poverty in Canada. A guide that clearly outlines what human rights mean concretely for policymakers, activists, community-makers and all other anti-poverty stakeholders. Last week, Canada Without Poverty released our Human Rights and Poverty Strategies, A Guide to International Human Rights Law and its Domestic Application in Poverty Reduction Strategies. This step-by-step guide breaks down international human rights obligations for all levels of government and stakeholders, and brings a human rights focus to poverty reduction work in local communities across Canada. The thing is, at Canada Without Poverty, we truly believe that we can end poverty.
By Steve Alhquist in Rhode Island Future – In response to the alleged harassment of the homeless population in and around Kennedy Plaza by Providence Police, Occupy Providence met in the People’s Park (akaBurnside Park) with members of the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project (RIHAP) to discuss what could be done going forward to stop the criminalization of homelessness going forward. Organizer and Occupier Susan Walker pointed out that in the winter of 2012, Occupy Providence broke their occupation of Burnside Park after negotiating with City Hall for a Day Center for the homeless. “Where is the Day Center today?” she asked. Occupy Providence has long concerned itself with homelessness, so this event marked a return to the group’s roots. John Freitas of RIHAP spoke about the harassment of the homeless downtown by theProvidence Police Department.
By Haya El Nasser in Al Jazeera – Chronic homelessness is such a daunting problem in Los Angeles County that even after 10,000 people were moved into housing in the last three years, about 13,000 people on public assistance slip into homelessness every month, a new study has revealed. The number of people who become chronically homeless overwhelms the dwindling supply of affordable housing, according to a report released today by the Economic Roundtable, a research organization based in Los Angeles. “Ending chronic homelessness will be feasible if fewer people become homeless,” said Daniel Flaming, author of the report. “This requires the combined resources of health, mental health, social service, education, justice system and housing agencies to restore a place in the community for homeless individuals.”
By Bryce Covert in Nation of Change – On Thursday, the federal government announced that Connecticut is the first state in the country to end chronic homelessness among veterans. That means the state has found permanent housing for all veterans who have been homeless for at least one year or four times in the past three years, or has an immediate path to housing in place for them. A one-day survey in February found 18 veterans experiencing chronic homelessness in the state, just nine of whom were living without any shelter. Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) said that the state’s ongoing efforts have found permanent housing for a total of nearly 300 chronically homeless veterans. The governor credits state investments in affordable housing for the milestone, including at least $3 million in rental subsidies and obtaining an additional 129 housing vouchers from federal agencies.
By Drake Baer in Business Insider – The Economic Roundtable just came out with the largest study on homelessness in American history. And it turns out the best way to combat homelessness is to provide homes. The study’s focus was on Santa Clara County, California, home to the extreme wealth of Silicon Valley and the highest percentage of homelessness in the entire US. The methodology is enough to make a social scientist swoon: Researchers analyzed information about everyone in Santa Clara County who had been homeless between 2007 and 2012 — 104,206 people. Homelessness, the report details, gets very expensive. Between costs related to healthcare, social welfare, and the justice system, Santa Clara County as a whole spent $520 million on services for homeless residents. Those costs didn’t come from everybody who was homeless in that time period. As Gabrielle Canon at Mother Jones notes, much of those costs came from the roughly 2,800 people who were persistently homeless.
By Eleanor Goldfield in Occupy – This week, we test our math skills in the name of systemic dumbshitedness. Then Occupy Venice shows us how to fight the power while helping the powerless: hosting a people’s potluck every Sunday with locally sourced organic foods. Martin Kirk, founder and head strategist at /The Rules talks about breaking them, shifting paradigms and planned poverty. He talks strategy, Occupy Wall Steret and the role of scientific knowledge in campaigns. We ask the Internet, what are we? Oligarchy, plutocracy, oligarch-racy? Even after LA raises minimum wage to $15, too many folks remain homeless. And finally, France schools us on architectural design and food, but not in the ways you’d expect. Eleanor Goldfield performs spoken word for the movement, flipping the paradigms.
he number of homeless people in Los Angeles County jumped 12 percent in the past two years, to more than 44,000, amid a sluggish economic recovery that has left the poorest residents of the second-largest U.S. metropolitan area falling farther behind, a study released on Monday found. Most of those counted weren’t staying in homeless shelters. The study also found that the number of tents, makeshift encampments and vehicles with people living in them jumped by 85 percent, to about 9,500. “California was one of the hardest-hit states in the country during the economic recession, suffering high unemployment and high job losses,” the housing authority said in a news release. “There is a lag in rebound, and the working poor and low-income individuals have been hit particularly hard, with the trifecta of unemployment, stagnant wages and a lack of affordable housing.”
We make this document a Statement of Intent regarding the old Bank of England building on Castle Street, Liverpool. The intentions are as follows to feed, cloth and help all those who seek it and for the local community to help resource this project. We intend to use this building for the community, to inspire a feeling of community, which is lacking. We do this in direct response to a local council and government who are lacking in their efforts to help those in need and in fact, the local Council and government seem intent on making matters worse for the people by putting more and more austerity measures in place. We wish by the direct action of occupying an empty unused building and using said building to provide certain needs for the street people or for that matter anyone else who needs to use what is provided by donations, which come from the local community.
The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, “[Children's] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States.” Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty. Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, and they averaged about$5 a day for their meals before the 2014 farm bill cut $8.6 billion (over the next ten years) from the food stamp program. In 2007 about 12 of every 100 kids were on food stamps. Today it’s 20 of every 100. he U.S. ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. Early education should be a primary goal for the future, as numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps allchildren to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most. But we’re going in the opposite direction.Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history.