Archive for the ‘Homelessness’ Category

How Homeless Used Gift Cards: An Experiment

From the article: How panhandlers use free credit cards

What would happen if, instead of spare change, you handed a person in need the means to shop for whatever they needed? What would they buy? Can you spare your credit card, sir?


Over the past two weeks, I wandered Toronto’s downtown core with five prepaid Visa and MasterCard gift cards, in $50 and $75 denominations, waiting for people to ask for money.

Finding Community in the Shadows

Finding Community in the Shadows

Q.How did you start photographing these homeless people?
A.I went to the International Center of Photography and enrolled in their photojournalism documentary photography program. I received an assignment called “New York Underground.” I went into several places like the subways — I actually even went into a sewer — and I went down into the train tunnel.
Amazing photography work. We need more of this.

What defines a home?

This article about camps me wonder: What defines a home? Walls and a roof? Does it matter what they’re made out of? Or is it just a space, demarcated in any way possible, and someone saying “this is mine”?

Does the lack of owning or a legal contract (ie, lease/rent) to the space you’re in remove all rights of personal property? It’s one thing to kick someone out of a space that isn’t theirs but another to confiscate belongings.

Had this happened in a suburban home, we’d demand to see the warrant, or else it’d be illegal search and seizure.

By MARY PEMBERTON (AP) – 1 day ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska is proceeding with a lawsuit to prevent further raids of homeless camps in Anchorage.

The ACLU had hoped to reach an agreement with the municipality over the destruction of the camps and disposal of property belonging to the homeless. But the ACLU’s Jeffrey Mittman says no agreement was reached protecting the constitutional rights of the homeless.

The class-action lawsuit was filed with the courts last week on behalf of Dale Engle, a disabled veteran whose camp has been raided numerous times. Police took Engle’s tent and sleeping bag, along with medals and ribbons he was awarded while serving in the Army and National Guard.


Sewers home to vagrant Colombian kids

The first time I heard anything about people living in the sewers in Colombia was back at the beginning of the ’90s. The sewage system running under Bogota’s streets was filled with packs of kids living waist-deep in human waste and taking in copious amounts of glue and crack in order to cope.
This was at the height of Colombia’s Dirty War, and the whole reason street kids had moved into the sewers in the first place was to get away from the violence above ground

Sewers home to vagrant Colombian kids

Homelessness Doesn’t Follow the Stereotypes

There’s an article called “Another Face of Homeless” that’s worth a read.  Written by a professor of a college course who had students participate in a count of homeless people in the area, it details some of their findings and what the students learned.

When people think of the homeless, they often think of single men sleeping under the Burnside Bridge. In the agricultural suburbs of Portland, it has a different, less-visible face. While wine country tourists may not see men slumping in doorways downtown, there are families who bed down in their cars or a neighbor’s barn, and women who sleep in impromptu camps in the woods or sip coffee in all-night diners to keep warm.

Students found that homelessness exists for all manner of people in all manner of situations. The professor said, “My students also found the unexpected, and their stereotypes of homelessness were turned upside down”.

May all of our expectations be turned upside down as well so that we see what’s really going on.

Now that’s service: Florida doctor takes health care to the disadvantaged

Dr. Joe Greer has made it his task to bring medical care to those who can’t afford it. He’s also trying to educate the next generation of physicians and remind them that medicine is about people–something that modern medicine has begun to slip on a little bit.

His life was changed forever during his internship, when a homeless, nameless patient Greer had been treating died alone. He searched for the man’s family in shelters and under Miami’s highways, to no avail. He returned to the area recently with CNN and recalled his amazement.

“I saw a world that I didn’t know existed,” he said, recalling his search. “I was shocked. This was my own back yard.”

Read more on CNN: Florida doctor takes health care to the disadvantaged

Tent cities take advantage of the internet

As the economic downturn has worsened, growing numbers of homeless people are camping in tent cities across the United States. But unlike the Hoovervilles of the Great Depression, people living in modern day tent cities can access to the web, at libraries, local internet cafes and through homeless service providers allowing tent cities residents around the world to connect, swap notes, and support one another online.

Read more: Tent Cities Connect Online

Housing: A right or good financial sense?

A new study out of Los Angeles today has found that housing a homeless person is cheaper than leaving them to fend for themselves on the streets. It’s an argument has been reinforced for years by cost-benefit analysis after cost-benefit analysis in cities across the country.

The emphasis on these types studies is incredibly frustrating. Why do cost studies trump historically significant declarations that proclaim housing to be a basic human right, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the National Housing Goal in the 1949 Housing Act?

You would think that having both good intentions and the ledgers on the same side would make the issue a forgone conclusion.

Forget Cost-Benefit Studies, Housing is a Human Right!

NYC shelters seeing record numbers

The statistics, released today by the advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless, find that over 39,000 homeless people — including 10,000 homeless families — check in to city shelters every evening.
In 2002, about 31,000 people were using city shelters — and those numbers have steadily increased each year, the group said.

Read more: NBC:Homeless Population in Shelters Hits Record High

97 Year Old Homeless Woman and Her Sons Finally Have A Home

A 97-year-old homeless woman who was living with her two sons in a battered 1973 Chevrolet Suburban in Venice has received a temporary home, compliments of a nonprofit Los Angeles housing group.

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

The LA Times posted their story on the 16th (Woman, 97, has a front seat to homelessness). By the 19th, they had a temporary residence.

If this isn’t an example of things going right, I don’t know what is. It’s just a shame that it has to get national attention before anything changes.

Originally found via the End Homelessness blog: 97 Year Old Homeless Woman Receives Housing