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Homelessness

News and information about homelessness

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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SHA member agency Greater Trenton Behavioral Heathcare and the Good Care Collaborative sponsored this event chronicled by NJ Spotlight which highlights the success of Housing First as a means of eradicating chronic homelessness through rebalancing public funds and providing each person a place to live. SHA has identified Housing First as a key advocacy initiative and continues to appeal to Commissioner Velez and Governor Christie to adopt the model by becoming a Housing First state.

NJspotlight.com | Andrew Kitchenman | October 1, 2014

Finding homes for the homeless is seen as first step toward improving health, lowering costs of medical and social services

An effort to improve the health of the homeless in New Jersey is gaining the attention of legislative and insurance-industry leaders, laying the groundwork for the statewide expansion of a program that concentrates on finding housing for the homeless before focusing on healthcare services.

Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D-Burlington and Camden) expressed enthusiasm for expanding Housing First. He noted that the most recent count of homeless residents found 13,900 in the state. He added that many of them make frequent trips to the emergency room or require inpatient stays at hospitals, at a cost of $2,000 per day and with longer average hospital stays than patients who have someplace to live.

“By giving them the dignity of a home, a roof over their head, that sense of security, we can start to avoid those costs,” as well as additional costs from jails and other services that are required to help homeless residents whose mental-health needs aren’t addressed, Greenwald said.

Click here to read the article

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