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NEW REPORT: Discrimination in Washington, DC

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Awareness, Civil Rights, Policy Advocacy, Report

Discrimination and Economic Profiling Report

Discrimination and Economic Profiling among the Homeless of Washington, DC is a new report documenting the extent to which homeless individuals in Washington, DC feel that they have experienced discrimination as a result of their housing status. In the fall of 2013, The National Coalition for the Homeless and graduate students of George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration created a survey to examine experiences of discrimination by housing agents, employers, health service providers, and law enforcement due to housing status.

Homeless individuals have long told staff at NCH that they perceive discrimination brought on by their housing status. In light of this, the National Coalition for the Homeless has been tracking discrimination against homeless individuals for years.

One homeless individual explains that homelessness can mean being turned away at the door of a “coffee shop … due to my attire, push cart, my extra bags.” This type of discrimination is typical in the life of a person experiencing homelessness.

This recent study revealed that discriminatory actions most often came from private business and law enforcement. Specially, 70% of the respondents felt they had been discriminated against by private business and 66 % of the respondents felt the same discrimination from law enforcement.

The National Coalition for the Homeless advocates for Washington, DC and other states to consider passing a Homeless Bill of Rights, which would guarantee equal treatment for people who are un-housed. This new law would not create special rights or privileges, but rather protect homeless people from discrimination while seeking employment, emergency medical care, and the right to move freely in public.

View the full report here!

New Hate Crimes report released

Written by admin on . Posted in Hate Crimes, Violence Against the Homeless

2012 Hate Crimes ReportSenseless Violence: A Survey of Hate Crimes and Violence against the Homeless in 2012 documents the known cases of violence against homeless individuals in 2012. The report includes descriptions of the cases as well as recommendations to help prevent violence against homeless individuals.

The National Coalition for the Homeless has been tracking hate crimes against homeless individuals since 1999. This year’s report only shows a slight improvement in the number of lethal attacks. In 2012 alone, of the 88 attacks, 18 resulted in deaths. A majority of the perpetrators this past year were young men under 30, and the victims were primarily males over the age of 40.

Some of the most horrific cases include a serial killer targeting the homeless population of southern California because he viewed it as a public service, teens killing a homeless man over one dollar, and a homeless woman set on fire who suffered second and third-degree burns over 20% of her body.

“This violence is prompted by a profound lack of empathy for fellow human beings, the same moral failure that allows our society to tolerate the larger tragedy of homelessness,” said Jerry Jones, Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “Homeless people deserve our help and protection. These attacks are a shocking failure in our society’s obligations toward the most vulnerable among us.”

In many cases, homeless persons are targeted for these attacks simply because they are without housing. The National Coalition for the Homeless advocates for the inclusion of homelessness as a protected class in state and federal hate crimes legislation.

Read the full report.

NCH Earns Glowing Congressional Recognitions on its 30th Anniversary

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Advocacy, Hate Crimes, Policy Advocacy

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) recently presented congressional recognitions congratulating the National Coalition for the Homeless on its 30th Anniversary, commending NCH for its accomplishments in the struggle to end homelessness.

Senate Recognition

NCH began with activists’ pursuit of the right of people experiencing homelessness to have shelter and affordable housing, and has developed into an advocacy organization at the forefront of implementing policies to prevent and end homelessness. Our 30th Anniversary is a period of reflection, a time to honor the past and build hope for the future through effective and impactful education, advocacy, programs and service.

NCH inspired descriptions from Sen. Cardin like “an outstanding organization,” and one that commits to “selfless striving to end homelessness.”  These remarks welcome a glance at actions that helped create this legacy, like ensuring that those who have experienced homelessness remain an integral part of advocacy efforts, especially through the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau.  Rep. Johnson acknowledged that NCH “has made tremendous gains since its inception,” which keys into our successes in awareness, philanthropy, advocacy and service related to homelessness over its thirty-year history.  Sen. Cardin  pointed to NCH’s shaping of housing policy for the economically deprived, and how it “spearheaded advocacy for the Hate Crimes Against the Homeless Statistics Act,” which remains a substantial move toward preserving the civil rights of those experiencing homelessness.

Congressional Recognition

This recognition highlights not only the organization’s tremendous bounds over its three-decade history, but also a needed positive relationship between NCH and members of Congress.  Both Rep. Johnson and Sen. Cardin realize the importance of introducing policies to end homelessness and deserve their own praise for efforts that demonstrate legal strides towards ending homelessness.

Rep. Johnson was a co-founder and currently co-chairs the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness, and recently conducted a congressional awareness briefing on family homelessness in America.  She also introduced the Violence Against the Homeless Accountability Act of 2013, which pushes for the Department of Justice to include uniform crime stats concerning hate crimes against homeless individuals.

Sen. Cardin has also expressed support for protecting people experiencing homelessness from violence, introducing a bill in the previous session of Congress to quantify hate crimes against people experiencing homelessness (Hate Crimes Against the Homeless Statistics Act), making an effort to include NCH’s own documentation of hate crimes against the homeless, and conducting the first ever Senate hearing on violence against the homeless.  Both Sen. Cardin and Rep. Johnson have headed a congressional push to end homelessness, which includes providing homeless veterans with homes, and revitalizing housing in and bringing jobs to disenfranchised neighborhoods.

These initiatives mark a partnership between NCH and Congressional members that has been critical in the coalition’s epoch of successful advocacy.  Congress’s willingness to pursue valued policies gives organizations like NCH needed allies, voices that offer legislative support to the priorities that will bring an end to homelessness.  In accepting deserved praise on its 30th Anniversary for years of accomplishments on the path toward ending homelessness like promoting the Bring America Home Act, NCH equally acknowledges and thanks Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) for their efforts.

Read Senator Cardin and Representative Johnson‘s full recognition declarations.

Post by Keith Meyer, NCH Awareness & Advocacy Fellow, Rising Junior at Allegheny College


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