Interesting Stories About Homelessness

Interesting Homeless News May 27th, 2016

The New York Civil Liberties Union and their co-sponsor Picture the Homeless have filed a complaint against the New York Police Department for telling homeless people to “move along” when they haven’t done anything in violation of any law.  Recently the NYPD has been targeting innocent homeless people for standing or sitting in public places, which is not illegal.  In fact, the police officers are breaking more laws than the homeless people in this crusade as they violate the Community Safety Act, which prohibits profiling based on gender, race, and housing status.

The legendary Skid Row of Los Angeles has recently opened a new permanent housing complex for the chronically ill and mentally ill homeless living on Skid Row.  This $40 million complex was developed by the Skid Row Housing trust.  This new complex is run by the LA Department of Health Services’ Housing for Heath division.  This new complex provides healthcare for the 10,000 residents it aims to assist as well as luxuries such as an indoor track and art studio. Skid Row is the largest concentraion of homeless people outside of jails in the United States.

Senior Pastor Klayton Ko, of First Assembly of God in Red Hill, Hawaii has created 21 fiberglass dome structures for the homeless in Hawaii in an attempt to eradicative homelessness in Hawaii.  They have received a total of $200,000 dollars in funds and donations and plan to make more domes when they get the land needed.

San Diego has re-landscaped under their bridges to keep the homeless out.  The city of San Diego has placed jagged rocks under the bridges downtown in order to keep the homeless from sleeping under bridges.  Advocacy groups are up in arms calling for humane treatment of the homeless and the development of micro communities to solve the problem of people sleeping on the streets.

71 long term homeless residents, and their pets, have been moved from their river side encampment to a converted motel.  The Bridges to Housing Pilot project of West Sacramento has taken a great stride forward in the fight against homelessness through this initiative, which included medical checkups for the pets.

The 14th Homeless World Cup has been announced to be held July 10th-16th on George Square in Glasgow, Scotland.  The tournament will host 64 teams representing 64 different countries including one from the United States.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors allocated $100 million dollars to end homelessness in LA and stop the endless cycle of released criminals and hospital patients from ending up on Skid Row.  This is an editorial from the LA Times that argues the City is committed to working toward an end to homelessness and all the problems associated with Skid Row.  Local leaders claim that they won’t blow it again.

Italy keeps in mind “Les Misérables,”as they decide whether or not it is illegal to steal food from a super market if you are homeless.


by Abby Bova

The posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

"Fear The Walking Dead" Needs a Homeless Guy

 AMC's Walking Dead television series is set in Georgia and now Virginia.  The series is the aftermath of the downfall of organized society and after the fall of the government.  One of the key interesting figures of the series is one of the two stars, Norman Reedus.  He is a self described Georgian redneck named Daryl Dixon from a rural section of the state, petty thief and racist.  He is the guy who is an expert with the cross bow and seems to have the DNA necessary to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  He was a wandering, hate filled couch surfer without a real job who could fix things and was a good hunter, but otherwise had no real skills for modern society.  After the world fell into chaos, he seemed perfectly suited for a place where you migrate for food and survival of the fittest is the law of the land. 

The series has a new spinoff that takes place in the City of Los Angeles.  The new series is pre-apocalypse and for anyone who has seen the Walking Dead, they cycle through a lot of characters.  Many many people die on the show including individuals who have leading roles.  So, at this point it is not clear who will be the main characters who survive.  I hope that they find a character like Daryl for Los Angeles.  I am nominating a character from Skid Row to provide some education to the general population of the amazing things that homeless people have to overcome in this society to survive.  Most people think of the "bums" on Skid Row as lazy non-conformists who don't want to get a job.  From hanging out with homeless people in Cleveland, I can say that they go through incredible hardships to survive and believe that they would do well in the Zombie apocalypse. 

Homeless people have to walk great distances for food.  They have to figure out who can be helpful and who is going to harm them or steal from them.  Homeless people stay largely to themselves and are able to find privacy in the public world that they live in.  They are really good at getting important information from the streets and who to lean on for what they need.  All these skills would be great at the end of orderly society.  Daryl brings a lot of character to the Walking Dead and homeless people from Skid Row could bring the new show Fear the Walking Dead some interest.  We also feel that it would dispel some of the myths about homelessness.  There are enough homeless people in Los Angeles to survive the Zombie apocalypse. There are just about the same size as the City of Toledo living in the shelters or on the streets of LA every night. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


How Do You Apply Broken Windows to a Tent???

NPR did a long piece (14 minutes) last Sunday on Skid Row and walking around with police and "residents" of the largest homeless encampment in North America.  The story just glossed over the flaws in the Broken Window Theory of law enforcement and stepped right into the relationship with the police.  The San Francisco Examiner did a better job showing the fallout of this policy of strict enforcement of even minor infractions of the law

The report starts with some defining of the terms which includes the "Safer Cities" initiative.  Police Chief William Bratton is the Johnnie Appleseed of this project and leading proponent of the theory.  He brought both the New York and Los Angeles police forces into this zero tolerance theory of policing after Bratton was chief of both departments.  Kelly McEvers is the author of this story and Tom Dreisbach was a correspondent for NPR working on this story.

DREISBACH: The idea is to cite or arrest people for the little stuff - jaywalking, drinking in public, blocking sidewalks.

MCEVERS: You know, that whole broken windows approach that was made famous by ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

DREISBACH: If you stop people from committing the little crimes...

MCEVERS: ...They'll be less likely to commit the big crimes.

No one saw the irony of talking about "broken windows" in the context of hundreds of tents. There are no windows to break in a tent.   Skid Row is the break down of society, and community policing in a chaotic society has to be different than in the suburbs.  A neighborhood falling down may need a strong police presence to keep it from tipping over the edge.  A neighborhood without order, basic sanitation, and safety needs about 1,000 things before a they need a strong police show of force.  Ticketing and jailing residents of Skid Row only prolongs their stay on the streets.  Low barriers housing is the key, but it is not cheap. 

What if jail were better than living on the streets?  What if the debt cycle from all the broken window tickets mean the person will never be able to find stability?  What if the police begin to see the city as a lost cause and become fatalistic about the residents?  Where do homeless people with alcohol problems consume alcohol if they have an addiction--everywhere is an open container?  Where do people go to the bathroom if no business will allow them to use their precious facilities?  What if the rest of society decides that the Skid Row community is not worth the trouble?  What if a desperate population begins to confront the police with every ticket written?   Why wouldn't NPR cover the absurdity of punishing people for broken windows on a tent?

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who signt he entry. 

Good and Bad News in California

California is a country all to itself, and eventually the things that happen there move across the United States.  There were good things that happened over the past two weeks as well as horrible things that happen to homeless people.  On Skid Row a homeless man was shot on the street after a struggle with the police.  In the courts, the San Diego residency restrictions on those with a sexually based offenders

Homeless Stand Down 2015

The man was identified as Charly Keundeu Keunang, a Cameroon national who travelled under an alias for years. He got into a struggle with the police and was shot multiple times.  It is amazing that this does not happen more with a community that lives in the shadow of such opulence and in such squalor.  There are thousands living on the streets of one the richest cities on the planets.  They pitch their tents at night and then are told to get up and move on in the morning.  They have not built enough housing and have cast away a segment of the population.   After a population is beaten, kicked, ignored and treated as an animal, the slightest match will cause an inferno. 

The good news out of California was the ruling that the restrictions on residency for sexually based offenders is unconstitutional.  This will force a rewrite of these laws that keep people homeless around the country.  These individuals are convicted for some of the worst offenses in our society.  They serve their time incarcerated and then get out and remain paying for their offenses for years and sometimes for the rest of their lives.  For what?  The number of stranger sexual attacks is tiny compared to the number of attacks by family and friends.  It does no good to restrict residency for sexually based offenders in proximity to a school or day care center.  It is setting up a protection zone against an enemy that is not at the door.  Predators are on the internet, at family functions, in the confessionals, and at public events.  As the court said, these laws just make people homeless.  What could be worse than a person with a history of violence toward women or children without a solid place to be monitored and angry that the State is barring them from living in most housing in the community. Besides aren't we evolved enough to believe in forgiveness?

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.