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#Heart4TheHomeless

Written by admin on . Posted in Advocacy, Speakers' Bureau

This is the power of the men and women of the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau:

In February, the 6th Grade class of Alice Deal Middle School, here in Washington, DC, listened to T. Sanders and John Harrison talk about their experiences with homelessness.  T with her Master’s Degree and John, a clean-cut soft-spoken man, do not fit the stereotype of someone who is homeless. They are both eloquent and motivational speakers, and boy did they motivate.

#Heart4TheHomelessEvery year, students at Alice Deal Middle School dedicate one day near the end of the year to giving back. The students decide what they’d like to do for the day, often volunteering for a low-income meal program or environmental project.

For the last several months, 6th grade students have been working with local homeless advocates to plan a rally in support of a measure that would add housing status to Washington, DC’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Says one student,

‘I want it to be a chance for the community to stand up for someone more. For people to actually do something.’ Has this project motivated the students to work for homeless rights in the future? ‘Absolutely.’

The rally will be held at Freedom Plaza in downtown DC, Wednesday, June 3rd at 10am.

Stay tuned to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram for more on #Heart4TheHomeless.

Putting our heads together to find the Criminalization of Homelessness

Written by admin on . Posted in Advocacy, Civil Rights, Community Organizing, Criminalization, Food Sharing, Hate Crimes, Policy Advocacy, Tent Cities, Violence Against the Homeless

Thirty eight grassroots organizations from around the nation gathered in Denver last week to discuss the criminalization of homelessness. NCH helped fundraise for the event, one of the largest strategy sessions with our field partners in many years. A growing trend of criminalization laws have made it illegal for homeless people to eat, sleep or even ask for help. As a consequence, those who inhabit public spaces have their lives constantly interrupted by law enforcement, racking up arrest records for petty crimes that exist only as penalties for being homeless. Advocates came away from the Denver strategy session with renewed energy to fight these policies and protect the civil rights of those experiencing homelessness.

Advocates from across the country show their fighting spirit

Advocates from across the country show their fighting spirit

 

#Act4Youth

Written by Je'Lissa on . Posted in Youth

     Hidden along the streets corners of major urban cities and in the wooded terrain of rural communities, a hidden crisis threatens our nation’s future. Homeless, unaccompanied young adults struggle to survive and access basic resources. They age out of the foster care system, are ostracized from their communities because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, or experience abuse in the home, only to find themselves with nowhere to go besides the streets. They fear revealing their sexual identity because of the potential risk of harassment and physical violence. They sell themselves and trade sexual favors for a place to sleep and a meal to eat. Youth homelessness is too often ignored by our nation’s political leaders and communities. In order to protect the next generation of Americans, we must call for a national commitment ensuring that every young person in this country has a safe place to sleep, and the necessary resources to build stronger, healthier futures for themselves and our country.

#ActforYouth 2015     Emergency shelters provide the most immediate assistance for homeless individuals. A bed for the night protects a person from the elements, assault, and harassment. For unaccompanied homeless youth, however, accessing a shelter is extremely difficult. Only 4,000 youth shelter beds are currently available nationwide for the almost 500,000 young people who are homeless. The need far outweighs the resources available. The National Campaign for Youth Shelter calls for a federal commitment to provide all youths with immediate access to safe shelter, additional shelter beds for young people, and a more accurate effort to count the number of unhoused youth

     The lack of shelter beds and resources committed to ending youth homelessness reflects the absence of youth in the overall national discussion on poverty. As individuals experiencing homelessness endure increasing criminalization and anti-homeless policies, unaccompanied young people face an uncertain future that is heighten by barriers that might prevent them from completing their education or gaining access to sustainable employment. They struggle to find acceptance and encounter discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. They are running a race against poverty and homelessness. Society’s obstacles make this race seem unwinnable and the hope for a better future dwindles away.

     The National Coalition for the Homeless and the Ali Forney Center brought together anti-poverty groups, LGBTQ organizations, and formally homeless young people this week for a convening on ending youth homelessness. We know that in order to eradicate homelessness for everyone, youth must be part of the conversation and part of the solution. Shelter beds help young people who are experiencing homelessness to access education, employment, and health services which helps them to build stronger and healthier futures. These better futures can all start with a safe place to sleep. It’s time to #Act4Youth!

-Deirdre Walsh
Student Activist, National Coalition for the Homeless Intern 

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