[Hpn] Report Finds Homelessness Rising Across the U.S.

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Fri, 11 Jan 2008 17:35:59 -0500


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    =20
      Report Finds Homelessness Rising Across The U.S.
      Saturday, 12 January 2008


      http://www.scoop.co.nz:80/stories/HL0801/S00099.htm

      Between The Lines=20

    =20


Report Finds Homelessness Rising Across the U.S.

By Melinda Tuhus


>From the radio newsmagazine BETWEEN THE LINES www.btlonline.org. =
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions www.squeakywheel.net

Interview with Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the National =
Coalition for the Homeless, conducted by Melinda Tuhus=20




"It generally takes a year to two years before you exhaust all your =
resources -- family, friends, etc. -- and so it takes a couple years for =
that to happen, so we have not seen folks who have had their homes =
foreclosed on yet winding up at our shelters." -- Michael Stoops=20

The U.S. Conference of Mayors just released its annual study of hunger =
and homelessness, and both are on the rise. In 2007, on any given night, =
750,000 people are homeless in America, and 40 percent of the homeless =
are families. Forty-four percent are unsheltered, meaning they're living =
on the street or in their cars. And the number of violent attacks on =
homeless people is increasing.=20

The report found that the rising cost of housing and a shortage of =
affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness in families with =
children as well as increasing rates of hunger. The survey also noted =
that the recent rise in home foreclosures, the increased cost of living =
in general and the increased cost of food in particular as major causes =
of hunger in America.=20

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Michael Stoops, acting =
executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. He =
discusses increasingly punitive measures taken by some cities and towns =
to disperse their homeless population, the contradictory record of the =
Bush administration on the issue, and the possible impact of the =
sub-prime mortgage crisis on homelessness in the U.S.=20

MICHAEL STOOPS: We see the numbers rising. Some cities are saying that =
the chronic homeless population is declining, but what we feel is really =
happening is cities are pushing homeless out of their downtown areas, =
because homelessness and tourism and economic development don't =
necessarily go hand in hand.=20

BETWEEN THE LINES: What evidence do you have for that concern?=20

MICHAEL STOOPS: (At) the National Coalition for the Homeless, we track =
what we call criminalization of the homeless -- making it illegal to =
beg, to camp, to sit, and we see that more and more cities are passing =
and enforcing such laws. And we also have seen an increase in violence =
against homeless people done by teenagers and young adults. So those two =
things are happening, and the latest trend that we've been able to come =
up with and monitor is that many cities are now going after the =
so-called good Samaritans that are feeding homeless people in public =
places. Orlando and Las Vegas have passed laws making it illegal to feed =
the homeless without getting a permit. The Orlando law, if you want to =
feed within three miles of city hall, which is in the downtown area. You =
have to apply for a permit, you have to pay for the permit, and you can =
only get a permit two times a year, as if homeless people are only =
hungry two times a year, or they assume there must be a hundred churches =
and synagogues feeding homeless people, and that's simply not the case.=20

BETWEEN THE LINES: How have programs for the homeless fared under the =
Bush administration?=20

MICHAEL STOOPS: A couple good things about the Bush administration. It =
has encouraged cities around the country who have been absent partners =
in this business of trying to help homeless people -- they've asked and =
they got almost 200 cities to develop 10-year plans to end homelessness. =
So there's more cohesion and people working together. The other thing =
about the Bush administration -- for the first time, we hear city =
officials talking about ending homelessness and trying to end it within =
a 10-year period of time. However, talk is cheap and developing plans =
are great. Congress has increased federal funding for homeless programs. =
Today it's about $1.6 billion, and there's going to a several hundred =
million dollar increase next year. But while giving more money to =
emergency services, the Bush administration is cutting important =
entitlement programs -- housing, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare. So =
while they talk about ending homelessness, they're actually creating =
more of it by cutting out important income support programs.=20

BETWEEN THE LINES: Michael Stoops, (the Housing Authority of New =
Orleans) has been in the news recently because it wants to tear down old =
housing projects with 4,500 units and build mixed income developments. =
Those can be a big improvement for the people who get to live there, but =
don't the poor lose out when that happens?=20

MICHAEL STOOPS: Many of the public housing projects that are being torn =
down by cities and the federal government were built in the '40s and =
'50s, and they have provided people with affordable, hopefully decent =
and safe, housing. We're all in favor of mixed income developments, but =
we also feel that if you're going to tear down some of the housing =
projects that might need to be torn down, there needs to be an immediate =
one-to-one replacement, because we can't afford to lose housing units, =
and those folks have no place to go, and they will literally -- like =
they have been in New Orleans -- wind up on the streets, not even in =
shelters, because the shelters are full in this country. So it does =
cause homelessness for the masses, so we must not let cities get away =
with not replacing all of the units that they're tearing down.=20

BETWEEN THE LINES: In a Gallup poll done around Thanksgiving, people =
were asked about housing-related concerns in the wake of the sub-prime =
mortgage crisis. Can you talk about that?=20

MICHAEL STOOPS: Twenty-eight percent of the people surveyed worried that =
they too could become homeless. So I think a lot of people going through =
economic crises are worried. However, people don't suddenly become =
homeless overnight. It generally takes a year to two years before you =
exhaust all your resources -- family, friends, etc. -- and so it takes a =
couple years for that to happen, so we have not seen folks who have had =
their homes foreclosed on yet winding up at our shelters. However, they =
will be there, if our government doesn't intervene to keep those folks =
in their homes.=20

* Listen to this interview in RealAudio: =
http://www.btlonline.org/stoops122807.ram=20

* Visit the National Coalition for the Homeless website at =
www.nationalhomeless.org.













William Charles Tinker=20
New Hampshire Homeless=20
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street=20
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.=20
1-603-286-2492=20
http://www.missingkids.com=20
http://www.nationalhomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com 
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      <H1>Report Finds Homelessness Rising Across The U.S.</H1>
      <DIV><SPAN class=3Dbyline><B>Saturday, 12 January =
2008</B></SPAN></DIV>
      <DIV><SPAN=20
      =
class=3Dbyline><STRONG></STRONG><STRONG></STRONG></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
      <DIV><SPAN class=3Dbyline><STRONG></STRONG></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
      <DIV><SPAN class=3Dbyline><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
      =
href=3D"http://www.scoop.co.nz:80/stories/HL0801/S00099.htm">http://www.s=
coop.co.nz:80/stories/HL0801/S00099.htm</A></FONT></DIV>
      <DIV><BR><B>Between The Lines</B></SPAN> </DIV>
      <DIV><STRONG></STRONG>&nbsp;</DIV>
      =
<DIV><STRONG></STRONG>&nbsp;</DIV></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!--first =
blockquote gone!-->
<P>
<CENTER>
<H3>Report Finds Homelessness Rising Across the U.S.</H3>
<P></P>
<P><EM>By <A=20
href=3D"http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0801/S00099.htm#author"><FONT =
face=3DArial=20
color=3D#004276>Melinda Tuhus</FONT></A></EM></P></CENTER>
<P><FONT face=3DArial color=3D#004276></FONT>
<P><EM>From the radio newsmagazine BETWEEN THE LINES <A=20
href=3D"http://www.btlonline.org/" target=3D_blank rel=3Dnofollow><FONT =
face=3DArial=20
color=3D#004276>www.btlonline.org</FONT></A>. Distributed by Squeaky =
Wheel=20
Productions <A href=3D"http://www.squeakywheel.net/" target=3D_blank=20
rel=3Dnofollow><FONT face=3DArial=20
color=3D#004276>www.squeakywheel.net</FONT></A></EM></P>
<P><STRONG>Interview with Michael Stoops, acting executive director of =
the=20
National Coalition for the Homeless, conducted by Melinda Tuhus</STRONG> =

<DIV class=3Darticle-left-box-wrapper>
<DIV class=3Darticle-left-box>
<DIV class=3Dnav-text-ad><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV align=3Dcenter><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV align=3Dcenter>&nbsp;</DIV></DIV></DIV>
<P><EM>"It generally takes a year to two years before you exhaust all =
your=20
resources -- family, friends, etc. -- and so it takes a couple years for =
that to=20
happen, so we have not seen folks who have had their homes foreclosed on =
yet=20
winding up at our shelters." -- Michael Stoops</EM>=20
<P>The U.S. Conference of Mayors just released its annual study of =
hunger and=20
homelessness, and both are on the rise. In 2007, on any given night, =
750,000=20
people are homeless in America, and 40 percent of the homeless are =
families.=20
Forty-four percent are unsheltered, meaning they're living on the street =
or in=20
their cars. And the number of violent attacks on homeless people is =
increasing.=20
<P>The report found that the rising cost of housing and a shortage of =
affordable=20
housing is a major cause of homelessness in families with children as =
well as=20
increasing rates of hunger. The survey also noted that the recent rise =
in home=20
foreclosures, the increased cost of living in general and the increased =
cost of=20
food in particular as major causes of hunger in America.=20
<P>Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Michael Stoops, acting =
executive=20
director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. He discusses =
increasingly=20
punitive measures taken by some cities and towns to disperse their =
homeless=20
population, the contradictory record of the Bush administration on the =
issue,=20
and the possible impact of the sub-prime mortgage crisis on homelessness =
in the=20
U.S.=20
<P>MICHAEL STOOPS: We see the numbers rising. Some cities are saying =
that the=20
chronic homeless population is declining, but what we feel is really =
happening=20
is cities are pushing homeless out of their downtown areas, because =
homelessness=20
and tourism and economic development don't necessarily go hand in hand.=20
<P>BETWEEN THE LINES: What evidence do you have for that concern?=20
<P>MICHAEL STOOPS: (At) the National Coalition for the Homeless, we =
track what=20
we call criminalization of the homeless -- making it illegal to beg, to =
camp, to=20
sit, and we see that more and more cities are passing and enforcing such =
laws.=20
And we also have seen an increase in violence against homeless people =
done by=20
teenagers and young adults. So those two things are happening, and the =
latest=20
trend that we've been able to come up with and monitor is that many =
cities are=20
now going after the so-called good Samaritans that are feeding homeless =
people=20
in public places. Orlando and Las Vegas have passed laws making it =
illegal to=20
feed the homeless without getting a permit. The Orlando law, if you want =
to feed=20
within three miles of city hall, which is in the downtown area. You have =
to=20
apply for a permit, you have to pay for the permit, and you can only get =
a=20
permit two times a year, as if homeless people are only hungry two times =
a year,=20
or they assume there must be a hundred churches and synagogues feeding =
homeless=20
people, and that's simply not the case.=20
<P>BETWEEN THE LINES: How have programs for the homeless fared under the =
Bush=20
administration?=20
<P>MICHAEL STOOPS: A couple good things about the Bush administration. =
It has=20
encouraged cities around the country who have been absent partners in =
this=20
business of trying to help homeless people -- they've asked and they got =
almost=20
200 cities to develop 10-year plans to end homelessness. So there's more =

cohesion and people working together. The other thing about the Bush=20
administration -- for the first time, we hear city officials talking =
about=20
ending homelessness and trying to end it within a 10-year period of =
time.=20
However, talk is cheap and developing plans are great. Congress has =
increased=20
federal funding for homeless programs. Today it's about $1.6 billion, =
and=20
there's going to a several hundred million dollar increase next year. =
But while=20
giving more money to emergency services, the Bush administration is =
cutting=20
important entitlement programs -- housing, food stamps, Medicaid, =
Medicare. So=20
while they talk about ending homelessness, they're actually creating =
more of it=20
by cutting out important income support programs.=20
<P>BETWEEN THE LINES: Michael Stoops, (the Housing Authority of New =
Orleans) has=20
been in the news recently because it wants to tear down old housing =
projects=20
with 4,500 units and build mixed income developments. Those can be a big =

improvement for the people who get to live there, but don't the poor =
lose out=20
when that happens?=20
<P>MICHAEL STOOPS: Many of the public housing projects that are being =
torn down=20
by cities and the federal government were built in the '40s and '50s, =
and they=20
have provided people with affordable, hopefully decent and safe, =
housing. We're=20
all in favor of mixed income developments, but we also feel that if =
you're going=20
to tear down some of the housing projects that might need to be torn =
down, there=20
needs to be an immediate one-to-one replacement, because we can't afford =
to lose=20
housing units, and those folks have no place to go, and they will =
literally --=20
like they have been in New Orleans -- wind up on the streets, not even =
in=20
shelters, because the shelters are full in this country. So it does =
cause=20
homelessness for the masses, so we must not let cities get away with not =

replacing all of the units that they're tearing down.=20
<P>BETWEEN THE LINES: In a Gallup poll done around Thanksgiving, people =
were=20
asked about housing-related concerns in the wake of the sub-prime =
mortgage=20
crisis. Can you talk about that?=20
<P>MICHAEL STOOPS: Twenty-eight percent of the people surveyed worried =
that they=20
too could become homeless. So I think a lot of people going through =
economic=20
crises are worried. However, people don't suddenly become homeless =
overnight. It=20
generally takes a year to two years before you exhaust all your =
resources --=20
family, friends, etc. -- and so it takes a couple years for that to =
happen, so=20
we have not seen folks who have had their homes foreclosed on yet =
winding up at=20
our shelters. However, they will be there, if our government doesn't =
intervene=20
to keep those folks in their homes.=20
<P>* Listen to this interview in RealAudio: <A=20
href=3D"http://www.btlonline.org/stoops122807.ram" target=3D_blank=20
rel=3Dnofollow><FONT face=3DArial=20
color=3D#004276>http://www.btlonline.org/stoops122807.ram</FONT></A>=20
<P>* Visit the National Coalition for the Homeless website at <A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">www.nationalhomeless.org</A>.</P=
></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><BR>William Charles Tinker <BR>New Hampshire Homeless <BR>Founded=20
11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street <BR>Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
<BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights. =
<BR>1-603-286-2492=20
<BR><A =
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A> =
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">http://www.=
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com</A>=20
</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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