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Archive for November, 2015

Black Friday Day of Action

Written by Je'Lissa on . Posted in Uncategorized

While shoppers camp outside their favorite retailers to score Black Friday deals, homeless communities across the country will face fines, harassment, and jail time for camping in an attempt to get a good night’s rest. To combat this stark inequality, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) is calling for cities to stop the criminalization of life sustaining activities and instead promote “safe sleep.”

We know that ordinances and restrictions that seek to punish people experiencing homelessness for engaging in survival activities are counterproductive to ending homelessness. Instead, imposing fines and generating criminal records for “quality of life” offenses create a greater barriers for many to becoming re-housed. As chair of NCH’s Civil Rights Committee, Brian Davis, asserts, “it makes no sense to complicate a person’s ability to get into housing or find a job because they are engaged in purely innocent behavior of eating, sleeping, or resting in the public space especially when there are not enough shelter beds”.

So, we ask you to stand with us during this year’s Black Friday to call on your community leaders to look at successful alternatives to criminalization efforts and the benefits of universal access to shelter.
  • Challenge your elected officials to open discussions about the lack of adequate shelter, the high cost of rental housing, and the shredding of the safety net in your communities.
  • Call upon your local religious leaders to develop plans for how to better serve families and young people requesting help other than law enforcement.
  • Educate your friends, loved ones, and shoppers camping for Black Friday deals by downloading and distributing the postcard below.

Speak up, take action!

General Postcard Front   General Postcard Back

Yet another organized encampment is uprooted

Written by admin on . Posted in Awareness, Civil Rights, Criminalization, Tent Cities

In recent years, as the fashion of criminalizing the people experiencing homelessness in the United States by local governments has grown more popular, the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, has largely respected the rights and needs of its poorest residents. Unfortunately, it seems that even as the city’s new mayor has publicly dedicated her administration to giving those experiencing homelessness within her jurisdiction the supports they need, her office is moving to displace the small number of men and women who have formed their own refuge from the city’s dangerous streets and chaotic shelters. A very troubling way to celebrate National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week (Nov. 14-22).

Postcard FrontErected atop an empty stretch of grass in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, co-existing alongside foreign embassies and luxury hotels, a small community of tents serves as home for a tight-knit, diverse community of unhoused Washingtonians. In recent weeks, that community has had to face the possibility of dislocation, despite the fact that many of the camp’s housed neighbors support them. According to WTOP, a local news station, Marina Streznewski, who serves as president of the Foggy Bottom Association, believes homeless residents are better off where they are than in the city’s notoriously overcrowded shelter system. “It may be cold out here, but it’s safer.”

By the time you read this, these men and women may already have been relocated. The city moved on Monday to close down the camp, but media attention and an alleged refusal by local law enforcement to assist the mayor’s office in the tear-down has meant that many of the tents remained in place at noon of the following day. However, members of the besieged community believe it’s only a matter of time before they and their belongings face an uncertain future back out on the street. Worse yet, vans sent to relocate residents have reportedly refused to tell them where they’d be taken if they complied with the city’s order.

If you are a resident of the District of Columbia, or if you care about the plight of these and other people experiencing homelessness in the most powerful city in the world, we encourage you to contact Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office by phone (202-727-6300), email (eom@dc.gov), or on social media (tweet @MayorBowser), and remind her that all of her constituents deserve to be treated with respect, and to be sure these and all unhoused residents of the area are offered safe and accessible shelter or permanent housing.

While you’re at it, you can sign our petition asking the District government to join Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, and Puerto Rico in enacting legislation to end legal discrimination against our unhoused neighbors.

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week 2015

Written by admin on . Posted in Awareness

Awareness Week Logo '14Today kicks off our annual week of raising awareness and taking action against on our ongoing homeless crisis.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week originated 40 years ago, in 1975, at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. From the school’s website, “The initiative began when a group of Villanova students, recognizing the power education could play in the fight against homelessness, decided to coordinate a week of activities around the issues.” The National Coalition for the Homeless has since partnered with the National Student Campaign Against Hunger & Homelessness to bring greater awareness of the effects of poverty to communities nationwide. Annually, at least 750 schools and community groups take part in the week.

Though we are thrilled with the ongoing participation in National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, we also wonder how much longer we will have to keep building awareness before as a country, we enact policies that house and support our neighbors. Join us over the next week to continue our fight for greater investment in affordable housing, to support our labor through living wages, to listen to the struggles of those who are currently unhoused, and those who are at risk of losing their homes and to work in partnership with our neighbors and policy makers to protect our basic human rights and dignity.

Be sure to register your event, look for an event nearby, or find out more at http://nationalhomeless.org/about-us/projects/awareness-week/

Some more highlights over the coming week:

  • NCH’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau will be traveling to six states and the District of Columbia to share personal experiences with homelessness.
  • For the second year in a row, Storied Streets will be hosting free screenings of this powerful documentary November 13-15, with a live Twitter chat on Sunday, Nov. 15th at 8:30pm EST. Be sure to follow @StoriedStreets to take part.
  • Faith leaders will be holding town hall meetings on homelessness in Washington, DC on Sunday Nov. 15 and Monday the 16th. See the Presbyterian Network to End Homelessness for more.
  • We will be posting lots of great information about poverty, hunger and homelessness to our social media, as well as highlighting others doing great work. Be sure to follow and share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, hashtag #NHHAW.
  • We will be releasing an update to our report on feeding restrictions, one of the more disturbing efforts by cities to move homelessness out of sight.

Stay tuned for more, and thank you for being a part of the movement! Together we can end homelessness.

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