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Michael Stoops

Written by Annie Leomporra on . Posted in Advocacy, Civil Rights

The Board and staff of the National Coalition for the Homeless are heartbroken to share the passing of long-time organizer Michael Stoops. Michael passed away on May 1, 2017, due to illness incurred while recovering from a stroke.

collageThere will never be anyone like Michael, with his dedication to others, his tenacity, his quiet leadership and quirky humor. We all loved Michael as a mentor, a colleague, a brother and a friend.

Michael began his career in the early 1970’s, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in social work. His Quaker community encouraged him to travel from his native Indiana to Portland, Oregon to assist veterans. This is where Michael found his passion for ending homelessness. He was a founding board member of NCH, and joined NCH’s staff in 1988. Since 1988, he has worked to establish and provide ongoing support to local/statewide homeless/housing coalitions, and homeless self-help and social justice/action groups. In 2004, Mr. Stoops took on the role of Executive Director of NCH. Working to mobilize NCH’s grassroots network, Mr. Stoops traveled nationwide giving workshops, providing technical assistance, and testifying before state and local legislatures. Mr. Stoops was one of the founding members of the North American Street Newspaper Association and served as Board Member of Street Sense, Washington, DC’s premier street newspaper.

We will all remember Michael as a caring friend to each one of us. He has mentored us, and thousands of other advocates across the country. Michael could see potential, and did not waste time in getting us all to work. He has been steady, being the rock of NCH, through financial, political and personnel upheavals. Though he might have cut you short, he returned every call he ever received. He made time for each and every student doing research, for every mother crying because she couldn’t find shelter for her family, for every filmmaker wanting to make a difference, for each traveler who happened upon our office looking for help, and for every advocate looking for a way to fight for change. For many of us, Michael was a super hero. For the 10 years that I have had the honor to know Michael, he has worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. We could never get him to go home to rest, and he would at most take off one week a year to go visit his family (stopping at shelters and visiting advocates all along the way).

This is the Michael Stoops that we know, the Michael Stoops who we will remember lovingly, and the Michael Stoops who will continue to inspire us to work tirelessly until all of our neighbors, friends or family can sleep safely in their own homes. Rest in power Michael, we will keep the fight going.

-Megan Hustings, NCH Director

A Memorial will be held Thursday May 25, 2017 at 12:00p.m. at the Church of the Pilgrims, 2201 P Street, NW Washington, DC (map). A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Memorial organizers would appreciate any photos or stories you would like to share. Please email them to info@nationalhomeless.org.

National Day of Action for Housing

Written by admin on . Posted in Advocacy, Civil Rights, Community Organizing, Housing

The National Coalition for the Homeless invites you to join a NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR HOUSING in Washington, DC, and in communities across the country, on Saturday, April 1, 2017. (view and share the flyer)

We are calling on you and those in your community to take action to demand action to fix the affordable housing crisis, address racial inequality in our cities, and end the criminalization of poverty.

On Saturday, April 1, 2017 we will hold a rally and overnight vigil on the National Mall, and at city and state legislative buildings across the country. Bring tents, bring signs, bring your friends and families and stand up for our collective need for safe, decent and affordable housing.

Here is what we are asking:

  1. Preserve funding and create further local, state and national Housing Trust Funds that fund housing solely for extremely low to moderate income households.
  2. Stop ordinances, policies and practices that criminalize and harrass people who are unhoused, promote racial discrimination, and prevent equal treatment of immigrants and those who identify as LGBTQ, especially in access to housing, employment and healthcare.
  3. Ensure that safety net programs like food assistance and emergency housing are available to all of those who experience the loss of stable housing.

By standing together we can make the changes necessary to end homelessness in America!

HUD Continues to Undercount Homeless

Written by admin on . Posted in Awareness, Definition of Homelessness, Homeless Counts, Policy Advocacy, Statistics

New report once again misleads lawmakers and the public about the supposed ‘decline’ in numbers of people experiencing homelessness in the United States.

Housing UndercountWashington, December 19, 2016 –
As we rapidly approach the end of another year, cities around the country are preparing vigils recognizing those who have lived and died without adequate housing in 2016. November’s release of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress by the Department of Housing and Urban Development may give those attending some small cause for hope, describing a 3% decrease in the number of men, women, and children experiencing homelessness, counted on a single winter night, over last year’s number.

Unfortunately the report leaves out some important information. For instance, the count in question tallies those staying in emergency and transitional shelters, as well as those who can be located outside. HUD’s recent decreases in funding for such shelters means fewer members of the homeless population are easily accounted for. HUD provides bonuses to communities that decrease their count, creating a disincentive for those conducting counts to locate every unsheltered person in their neighborhoods.

Furthermore, HUD only asks communities to report those who it considers “literally homeless.” This doesn’t include the large numbers of individuals and families who are doubled up or “couch surfing” with friends and relatives. This unrealistic definition of homelessness explains why HUD reported just over 120,000 children experiencing homelessness on a given night, while the Department of Education has reported well over ten times as many children youths registered as homeless in recent years, a number that has more than doubled over the last decade.

The reports of HUD and other governmental and non-governmental organizations purporting to chart a decline in the numbers of those experiencing homelessness are doing a disservice to those men and women who we have lost this year without the basic dignities afforded by secure housing. While so many of those who are tasked with ending homelessness in America won’t admit to the actual scope of the problem, they cannot be relied upon to enact meaningful solutions to it.

The National Coalition for the Homeless calls upon the Department of Housing and Urban Development to face up to the reality that homelessness is not diminishing in America. We call on HUD and its allies to work with us and other organizations to put into place housing policies and investments that will ensure an end to the memorial vigils that have become a disgraceful necessity every December 21st, the longest night of the year.

Press Contact:
Megan Hustings, Interim Director
Phone: (202) 462-4822 ext. 234
Email: mhustings @ nationalhomeless.org

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