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Homelessness

News and information about homelessness

By Andrew Schmertz
Correspondent

While the state’s reported homeless population continues a years-long decline, the people on the ground say there is no victory to declare.

The executive director of the Isaiah House shelter in East Orange notes that she now sees large amounts of families coming in for help.

“For us we’re seeing a lot of families that are nontraditional, meaning not just mom and dad. It’s been that people are trying to come together to be able to make ends meet. So for instance in our shelter we may get an aunt with the mom and the kids,” said Executive Director of Isaiah House Zammeah Bivins-Gibson.

The survey was conducted by Monarch Housing Associates, a nonprofit group that monitors homelessness. The one day snapshot is taken each year in January.

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Emily Badger August 13 - Washington Post

We all need sleep, which is a fact of life but also a legally important point. Last week, the Department of Justice argued as much in a statement of interest it filed in a relatively obscure case in Boise, Idaho, that could impact how cities regulate and punish homelessness.

Boise, like many cities — the number of which has swelled since the recession — has an ordinance banning sleeping or camping in public places. But such laws, the DOJ says, effectively criminalize homelessness itself in situations where people simply have nowhere else to sleep. From the DOJ's filing:

When adequate shelter space exists, individuals have a choice about whether or not to sleep in public. However, when adequate shelter space does not exist, there is no meaningful distinction between the status of being homeless and the conduct of sleeping in public. Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.

 

Click here to read the entire Washington Post article

 

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Susan Sarandon

Just a few weeks after college graduation, Jack Henry Robbins accepted the invitation of a homeless man and rode a city bus with him from Santa Monica to skid row.

It was the first stop on Robbins' nine-city cross-country tour as director of "Storied Streets," a new and startling documentary that his mother, Susan Sarandon, executive produced. There, he and his young crew came face to face with the stereotypes they so earnestly sought to dispel.

"That was by far the one place I felt in danger," said Robbins, 25, talking about skid row this month amid the dark wood and leather of the dean's office at his alma mater, USC, where the film was being screened.

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THOMAS BARLAS, Staff Writer, Press of Atlantic City

Folks go to Bethany Grace Community Church in Bridgeton every Saturday morning to be cleansed.

They’re homeless, and they’re not seeking forgiveness, but rather a hot shower, which the church provides along with some food and clothing.

Pastor Robin Weinstein would love the program to end because, he said, it will mean Cumberland County has managed to find places for all its homeless citizens to live. He is pursuing that lofty goal by pushing for new programs — including a homeless trust fund and better ways of finding living quarters for the homeless — to significantly reduce homelessness within the county’s borders.

“We don’t do a very good job in terms of preventing homelessness and in getting people out of the cycle of homelessness,” he said.

Weinstein’s efforts are beginning to pay off: The Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders could begin discussions later this month on creating a homeless trust fund. Money would come from a $3 fee that could be imposed on deeds, mortgages and other documents filed with the county Clerk’s Office.

County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella said the trust fund could raise an estimated $75,000 a year.

“It’s a good start,” he said.

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