Weekly Update on Homeless Stories in the News

Here are a few interesting news stories about homelessness from the last week.  Click on the blue text to view the source article.

by Dan the Intern

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News Stories for this Week

There was an explosive report issued out of the University of Berkeley and proof that cities are making it illegal to be homeless.   The report shows that 58 cities are passing laws that are unequally enforced on homeless people.  They cited anti-camping laws among others as unfairly targeting homeless people for criminal citations. 

Channel 3 has been looking at people who live outside in this extreme cold. They talked to Rick and before that Christine.  They have been talking to people who stay outside.

Channel 19 put aside their tabloid news and did a nice story about the Salvation Army Canteen (not a Cantina).  The Salvation Army feeds hundreds in East Cleveland and Cleveland. 

St. Louis takes steps to make it easier to participate in the voucher program and makes it difficult for landlords to refuse to take a voucher.  We need similar laws that would not allow landlords to discriminate against voucher holders. 

We love the libraries and in Cleveland they are really helpful to homeless people.  This is a story about how libraries are trying to adapt to the number of people who are homeless and using the facility.  This is a Huffington Post article about libraries attempts to help homeless people with jobs and health care. 

How about a public restroom in Cleveland?  New Mexico was looking at introducing a shower bus that goes around the community to help people maintain their hygiene. 

Mother Jones did a long story about Housing First.  I am always dubious about quoting statisitcs (72% drop) when we know how unreliable counting homeless people can be.  They do a good job of outlining all the good items about homelessness.  It does not mention some of the draw backs of the programs or how the programs that are saving money can spend that savings on other homeless people.  It is a good overview of the issues and the program characteristics.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

No Bathrooms in Downtown Cleveland

We received a complaint from a friend of the Coalition about a woman relieving herself behind a vehicle near the financial district of Downtown Cleveland (between East 6th St. and East 9th St. in the old Short North).   She was shocked that this homeless woman was outside using the bathroom.   I asked one of the full time social workers helping people in the Downtown area where people could go to use the bathroom.  Here is her response: "The answer is the Library, city/county buildings with ID, the courthouses, and Justice Center. All other buildings are private."  We have basically six locations downtown with public restrooms and two require ID and all require going through a metal detector.  

The Coalition and most of the social service agencies have realized that this was a problem.  The Downtown Cleveland Alliance, the Cleveland Police Department and the Parks and Recreation folks have all seen this as an issue.  A few years back, Jim Schlecht of Care Alliance developed a plan for portable restrooms, found people who would clean them, located space, got police approval for a location.  Everyone signed off on the plan, but it was shut down by the City of Cleveland.   The DCA had looked into self cleaning nice tourist friendly stand alone facilities, but were again shut down by the City.  

For some reason, the administration does not want to see public restrooms in Downtown Cleveland.   It is so strange that there is all this talk of a 24 hour city and yet no where can a slightly intoxicated tourist or suburbanite relieve themselves unless they get into a bar or business or go behind a car.  I know that homeless people get blamed for this many times, and I am sure that there are many homeless people relieving themselves in public, there are also many pedestrians doing this.   As a former bartender downtown, I can tell you that I have seen hundreds of my nicely dressed suburban patrons who would relieve themselves behind a building or between cars, both men and women, because the bars had closed and there was no where else to go.   If the City is going to move to a vibrant and active city, they are going to have to fund and locate public restrooms downtown like they have done in San Francisco, London, or Philadelphia (pictured here).

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry