National News Updates

Another story in Talk Poverty about the deplorable DC shelter for families. This link is a good overview of the closure of the previous family shelter and how the city was forced to open a bigger shelter at the abandoned hospital.  We wrote about the child who was taken from the shelter in March and has not been seen since. Sharon Neuman Murphy of Mary's House penned a nice overview of the problem and how politicians are still ignoring homeless families in DC.  We are also seeing a lack of options for families in Cleveland with huge numbers showing up for help and having no where to go.  This story shows the value of shelter regulations in a community.

Frustrated with inaction on the problem of homelessness, a neighborhood NIMBY advocate in DC attacked a homeless person and was arrested.  In the nation's capital in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, one restaurant worker was arrested for violence directed at a homeless person. The attacker had led an effort to stop the construction of an apartment in the neighborhood.  Now he was arrested for spraying a homeless person, screaming at a homeless guy and then throwing his stuff in the streets.  The attacker works at a local bar.  I have to wonder who is more of a problem for the Dupont Circle neighborhood his intoxicated customers later at night or homeless people?

Michelle Obama followed up her speech at the National Alliance to End Homelessness with an op-ed for the McClatchey newspapers. It was a good overview of the problem and it is hard to disagree that we should not honor these veterans by making sure that they do not become homeless.   But these guys volunteered to put their country first by joining the military, and so wouldn't they want the United States to solve homelessness for everyone and not just veterans?  These guys and gals who were willing to sacrifice their life for their country would say that there should not be one homeless kid in the richest country on the planet.  I think that most of these veterans would say, "No, I will give up my spot on the housing waiting list for the Mom who is working two jobs and taking care of her two kids." 

Huffington Post had a video of a homeless guy watching his shelter being destroyed by the police.  This is part of a documentary called "Destiny Bridge" about homeless tent cities and the pastor that cares for a group of people who live in the woods. 

The Cincinnati Coalition is working to expand the Ohio hate crimes law to include homeless people in response to another attack in the Queen city. Cincinnati has always been the one of the least friendly cities in Ohio toward homeless people. This follows an attack on a homeless guy, John Hensley, in the Over the Rhine neighborhood.  Three men were arrested for the attack. Cincinnati Coalition director, Josh Spring, would like to see prosecutors have the option of moving up the charge if they find the individuals went after a fragile and vulnerable population.  NEOCH supports this effort and has unsuccessfully tried to convince legislators of the need for additional protections for homeless people. 

New Mexico intends to try and add homeless people to the Hate Crimes legislation.  This failed in 2013, but one state legislator intends to try again.  The Albuquerque Police were videotaped killing a homeless guy who was in the process of giving himself up that made national news.  Hopefully, with all the bad news coming out of Albuquerque and police aggression will move this legislation forward this time.

The worst news of the day was the killing of Thomas Trent by a 12 year old boy in (of course) violent Florida--the most dangerous state in the union for homeless people. I could only find a couple of references to this story which seemed strange.  This should be a national news story about how we have cast a group of people out of our society and they have become prey for children.  54 year old Thomas Trent was shot to death at 2 a.m. behind a group of stores, and the police used surveillance video to track down the suspect. 

Trent's sister told the Florida Times-Union that her brother was kind and intelligent, and had just been released from the hospital when he was killed. He'd suffered from health problems related to alcoholism, she told the paper.

Brian Davis

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