Archive for October, 2009

Corporate funders get up-close look of homeless

How do you know what you are fighting for and against unless you have seen it?

Along the way, they stopped at camps and under bridges where the homeless sleep. At the soup kitchen, they sat with homeless eating a bowl of soup and a cheese sandwich.

And they learned at least two important lessons: What it means to be poor and/or homeless in Charlotte, and how the donations from companies and thousands of Charlotte area residents are going to a noble cause of keeping people housed and fed.

“We all hear the numbers — thousands of people in Charlotte are homeless,” said Kelly Chopus, director of community relations at Goodrich Corp. and CCAP’s chair. “But when you walk on the train tracks and you see those camps and you see how people are actually living — probably through no choice of their own — it’s really upsetting that we in this community allow that to happen.”

Read more: Corporate funders get up-close look of homeless

Homeless bicyclist was loved

It seems everyone in Edmond knew of him, but few really knew him. For years, he was just an anonymous figure pedaling the Edmond streets alone at all hours and in all kinds of weather.

Few knew his choice of bedding was a shallow creek running behind comfortable Edmond homes or under the railroad bridge on Second Street. On extremely cold winter nights, police would find him wrapped up, sleeping in a trash container.

He was as much a recognizable fixture in this town as any statue or fancy house.

And then suddenly, Bob was gone.

It’s good that people recognize that “Bob” was a person with his own story and that not everyone knew how he really lived. Hopefully this helps people look at others in the community in a different light.

And hopefully they do so before that person is gone.

Read more: Homeless Edmond bicyclist was loved

More pictures and writing: Robino Around The World in A’dam

Some great writing and photography here.

Robino Around the World is a travel-website about Robin(o) who is currently based in Istanbul.

for the love of it
(
robokow’s photostream)

See photos and more at Everywhere Magazine and his blog: Robino Around The World in A’dam

Train Hopping America Photo Gallery by Amelia Merrick

To go along with my post from yesterday:

null

Train Hopping America Photo Gallery by Amelia Merrick

Ever try to hop a train?

This is some good stuff right here.

A teaser:

Combined with this, the usually unspoken implication was that it was mind-boggling that cute little women of our socioeconomic background were hitchhiking. I guess the dominant mainstream attributes a variety of vices onto hitchhikers and trainhoppers, most of which are associated with the poor and marginal underclass, and we didn’t seem to fit into those stereotypes

[...]
Joey and I did not find trainhopping to be a simple matter.

We dutifully did all the research [...]

However, while we understood the theory, we still struggled with various challenges in the reality of implementation.

Even after doing all the reading, I doubt I’d be able to do it, either.

I remember that Loren Eiseley wrote a fair amount about his train-hopping days in his book All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life. It’s easy to get lost in his and other accounts of the people they meet and the reasons why they’re going where ever they’re going, without stopping to think about how one gets on a damn train in the first place. This blog post does an excellent job of highlighting the problems. Note that it’s just one post on a multi-contributor blog. Hopefully the next ones in the series will show up soon.

Read the full entry: HITCHHIKING & TRAINHOPPING — Part I

Returning face of homelessness

As unemployment rate soars, the poor become more visible
By Matthew T. Hall
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
1:40 a.m. October 10, 2009

Tommy Forrest, 54, prepared to set up his tent on the Island Avenue bridge over Interstate 5 in downtown San Diego. Forrest said he lost a kitchen job last year. (John R. McCutchen / Union-Tribune) -
Homelessness may not be as hip as health care, global warming or gay marriage in the hierarchy of social issues, but it’s starting to reclaim its place in the public consciousness.

[...]

These efforts are emerging against a backdrop of a rough economy and news coverage of tent cities rising across the country.

Full article: Returning face of homelessness

A 200-person homeless encampment along the St. Johns River will be disbanded

The sheriff’s office plans to partner with a dozen nonprofit agencies to find shelter for camp residents. It also plans to provide storage for some of their belongings while they look for new lodging.

Perhaps the most important part of this article is this bit right here:

“The problem with the funding is that it’s all very specific: It’s for mental health or it’s for families,” said John Davis, director of the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. “We don’t have any money that has been set aside just for something like this.”

It’s all well and good to earmark funds for specific purposes, but what happens to those who don’t fit the criteria?

VisaliaTimesDelta.com: Residents of homeless encampment along St. Johns River will be relocated

Downtown ‘Sleep-In’ Brings Attention To Homeless

PITTSBURGH — A few hundred people are planning to spend the night outside the City-County Building downtown on Friday night to raise awareness for Pittsburgh’s homeless population.

One of the most important points they make as a reason for doing this event is that not all homeless people are drug addicts or too lazy to work.

Thepittsburghchannel.com: Downtown ‘Sleep-In’ Brings Attention To Homeless

The Truth About Policing and Skid Row

An article from City Journal titled “The Truth About Policing and Skid Row” uses the story of a double-murder to illustrate the ultimate failure that arises from allowing ad-hoc homeless communities to persist:

For 25 years, Skid Row constituted a real-world experiment in the application of homeless-advocate ideology. The squalor that engulfed the 50-block district just east of downtown Los Angeles was the direct outgrowth of advocates’ claims that the homeless should be exempt from the rules of ordinary society. The result was not a reign of peace and love among society’s underdogs, but rather brutal predation and depravity. Occupants of the filthy tents and lean-tos that covered every inch of sidewalk in the area pimped each other out and stole from, stabbed, and occasionally killed one another. Gangs and pushers from South Central and East Los Angeles operated with impunity under cover of the chaos that reigned on the streets.

Just another example of why homelessness is such a tough issue to solve. People have nowhere to go, so they congregate–with or without permission–into loose communities on their own where basic codes are being broken. If police and officials try to do something about it, homeless advocates call “unfair!” If they don’t do something about it, crime can fester, and when we have non-victimless crime on our hands, people yell that something should be done about it.

How do we as a society break the loop?

Original City Journal article is here: The Truth About Policing and Skid Row

and I found out about it from here: Policing The Homeless

Chaos at Cobo Center: 35,000 line up for housing help in Detroit

Thousands of Detroit residents lined-up to get an application for federal stimulus money designed to help them avoid home foreclosure, “rebound from homelessness,” or pay utility bills. Some passed out from exhaustion, others gave up.

What I find most interesting is this:

People lining up at the Cobo Center represented all education and socio-economic levels. For example, Racquel Sawyers, 35, is an engineer. She worked for General Motors and Chrysler before being laid-off. After seeing the huge crowds at Cobo, she went home. Sawyers told the Detroit Free Press,”I’m just trying to do what I can right now.”

It reminds me of the saying: “Most Americans are two paychecks away from being homeless.”

Digital Journal: Chaos at Cobo Center: 35,000 line up for housing help in Detroit