The best part of the National Coalition for the Homeless meeting is hearing from other communities what is happening locally. There are a lot of tremendous ideas and amazing advocacy going on in the local community. This last meeting was held in Denver and we already posted some observations about Denver and Colorado. Here are some highlights from what is going on around the country from NCH Board members.
- Struggling with trying to maintain state funding for homelessness and affordable housing with a tough budget.
- Activists are working on fair housing issues within the state to rebalance the home ownership rate in Minnesota which is one of the lowest in the Country for African Americans.
- The Homeless Bill of Rights passed the State (one of only three).
- Agreement on sweeps by the police that resulted in throwing items away for those resistant to shelter. Police will give one week notice before a "clean-up."
- Working with re-entry folks on human trafficing issues. Pilot program with the housing authority for trafficked women to get into housing.
- Working on additional funding for affordable housing.
- They had a setback in an SRO law passed which makes it difficult to transfer ownership because of neighborhoods gentrifying and wanting to eliminate low cost housing.
- Fighting for a $13 minimum wage.
- Indianapolis Mayor vetoed their bill of rights passed by the City Council.
- Large HIV outbreak in the southern part of the state--started an emergency needle exchange program and are working with trafficked women to try to limit spread.
- Increase city trust fund to $25 million
- Working on coordinated exit planning from various publicly funded programs. They also have an employment collaboration working with homeless agencies.
- Working on a better system for serving those addicted with a more "on-demand" system.
- Statewide homeless bill of rights did not have the votes will be re-introduced in January 2016.
- They did the DC criminalization survey and found 75% of those surveyed had been arrested or threatened with arrest for purely innocent behavior of being homeless.
- 2,900 anti-camping citations issued in Sacramento from 2012 to 2014.
Sentencing Project (national)
- US leads the world in incarcerated individuals by large numbers.
- They have become involved in the Black Lives Matter campaign because of the relevance to their goals of bringing justice to the judicial system especially in cities.
- There is a true bipartisan effort to reform sentencing esp. for drugs. The right wants to look at cost savings and the left is looking at justice. Trying to limit excessive sentencing and look back at previous over sentencing.
- The Coalition in Little Rock is barely hanging on and trying to speak up when necessary.
- Gathering stats around the interaction between police and homeless people.
- Sued the City over landlords not taking Section 8 voucher program under anti-discrimination law.
- 250 beds closed over last four years.
- Now the men's shelter has had to serve 60 to 100 families every night with mats on the floor.
- No new housing being developed locally, and last year 30,000 applied to the housing choice voucher program.
- Working on fair housing complaint against HUD over loss of shelter locally.
- Still working to resolve the ownership of the big shelter
- Working with LGBT you to expand access to shelter.
- No Medicare expansion and the indigent care has created a huge hole in the state budget.
- Serious funding problems for services to the mentally ill.
- Housing Trust fund is raided every year.
- Orlando has a new commission on homelessness that is working on putting together funds for Permanent Supportive Housing.
- Working with the Veterans Administration on their "vulnerability index."
- Formed a new regional Continuum of Care with the Mayors around the City of Jackson.
- Purging the Public Housing Waiting list to get rid of the names that have been on there for seven to nine years and they are starting fresh.
- Creating food gardens with some of the social service providers, and more groups are using food bank assistance to get fresh food.
- The territory or commonwealth is nearing bankruptcy, which puts a strain on all public services.
- They are trying to encourage billionaires to live in Puerto Rico and pay taxes.
- The Bloomberg consulting group has been working with cities on urban issues including San Juan, and has a draconian approach to serving homeless people. Basically involves shipping them out.
- Trying to reform the police and teach them how to not violate the rights of homeless people.
- Ever increasing numbers of homeless people seeking help.
- Talked about the WBEZ/This American Life radio program about the relocation of addicts to non-licensed facilities in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City. These men get stuck in the cities and have no way to return to the island.
- The Right to Rest bill has galvanized Denver's homeless population around this law.
- The Denver auditor criticize the City for not meeting its goals to end homelessness that they signed 10 years ago. Declared that there were not measurable outcomes and little progress. Also criticized the city for enforcing a "no camping" ordinance as more costly than effective.
- Denver increased population and no vacancies has created a rental crisis and causing rents to increase.
- Denver is trying out social impact bonds with 300 frequent flyers in the jails to provide housing alternatives and any savings in law enforcement/court fees would go to the investors in the bonds.
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.