Ann Arbor: more homeless children

Manfred Theis (manfredtheis@hotmail.com)
Tue, 10 Nov 1998 14:34:09 PST


--------- Forwarded Message ---------

DATE: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 11:13:16
From: World Homeless Union <worldhomeless@hotmail.com>
To: AHS-L@AMERICAN.EDU

Number of homeless children growing, official says
Monday, November 9, 1998

By ANDREE NISWANDER
NEWS SPECIAL WRITER

Local homeless shelters and related associations
hope a slate of activities this week will call
attention to the community's homeless and, in
particular, the growing number of families without
homes.

"We want to make the community aware of the fact
that homelessness is still with us," said Doug
Smith, Interfaith Hospitality Network Director.
"It's not going away," Smith said. "As a matter of
a fact, it's getting worse. And research is
suggesting that the fastest-growing segment of our
population that is becoming homeless is young
children."

That's why this week's Homeless Awareness Week
activities will emphasize homeless families. "They
tend to be more invisible. You won't see a mom
with two or three kids on the corner of Liberty
and Main streets, because they just don't do
that."

While the agencies dealing directly with the
homeless are well aware of the number of people
involved, the general public may be less so, event
organizers say. The Shelter Association of
Washtenaw County cites these statistics for the
community:

There are an estimated 1,100 homeless people on
any given night in Ann Arbor alone, said Yvette
Derr Ison, development director for the shelter
association.

The Emergency Night Shelter houses an average of
90 people a night.

The average length of stay is 29 days.

Groups working on this week's events include the
SOS Crisis Center, Ann Arbor Tenant's Union,
Project Serve, the University of Michigan, SAFE
House of Ann Arbor, Shelter Association of
Washtenaw County, the Homeless Empowerment
Relationship Organization (HERO), Food Gatherers,
Michigan Ability Partners, and the Interfaith
Hospitality Network.

"We're all working together for the same cause,"
said Ison. "We want to unite the agencies and the
community in order to do more. ... We want to give
the homeless a human face, and try to raise money
for the shelters and associations who are
attempting to assist them."

Local observances of Homeless Awareness Week are
scheduled in conjunction with the Michigan
Coalition Against Homelessness in Lansing, which
sponsors a week of events statewide immediately
preceding the National Hunger and Homelessness
Awareness Week, Nov. 15 through 21.

Interfaith Hospitality Network of Washtenaw County
kicked off the week's events Sunday with a blue
grass concert fund-raiser featuring the RFD Boys,
of Ann Arbor.

Last year, alone, the concert raised $40,000, said
Smith, "And I hope we do that, or better, this
year." Proceeds from the event will go to the
Interfaith Hospitality Network to assist the
organization composed of dozens of area churches
that house the homeless year-round.

On Wednesday, Project Serve, a University of
Michigan-sponsored, student-operated organization,
will host a march and candlelight vigil for
homelessness from 7:30 to 10 p.m., with the
procession beginning at the steps of the Michigan
Union at 7:30.

Following a march down State Street, participants
will stop at the campus Diag, where Project Serve
will hold the candlelight vigil to include music,
readings and discussion regarding homelessness.
"58 Greene," a local a capella group, will
perform, and there will be readings and discussion
by several of the area's homeless.

Other events this week include:

Tonight: A presentation by the SOS Crisis Center
at the University of Michigan Union Building, room
2105 B, from 7:30 to 8:30. Call SOS at (734)
485-8730 for more information.

Tuesday: Homelessness and mental illness will be
the topics in a lecture by Dr. Timothy Florence of
Ann Arbor, and in a theatrical presentation by
"Mentality," a group of area performers. The
program is at 7 p.m. in room 2105 B at the
University of Michigan Union Building.

Tuesday: Ann Arbor's WCBN, FM 88.3, will host a
radio discussion on homelessness and housing in
the area with the Ann Arbor Tenant's Union from 6
to 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: U-M student Lisa Powers will share her
"Language of Light" slide show and presentation, a
photography project conducted with homeless men
and women in Ann Arbor. The slide show will be
from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Michigan League's
Koesler Room on the University of Michigan campus.

Friday: The Shelter Association of Washtenaw
County will hold open houses at all of its three
shelters from 1-5 p.m. Shelter locations are:
Huron House, 420 W. Huron St., Ashley Place at 112
S. Ashley St., and the Felch House at 543 N. Main
St.

Friday: Ann Arbor Tenant's Union will hold a
bucket drive on the U-M Diag from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To volunteer, call (734) 936-9076.

All during the week, as it does the rest of the
year, the Shelter Association will accept linens
and toiletries throughout the week for their
"Throw in a Towel for the Homeless" linen drive.
Donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday at 543 N. Main St. in Ann
Arbor, or at any of the Homeless Awareness Week
events.

For more information regarding Homeless Awareness
Week, contact the Shelter Association of Washtenaw
County at (734) 662-2829.

Copyright 1998 Michigan Live Inc.


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