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Bad weather resources and 5 Tips for Helping

Written by admin on . Posted in Uncategorized

El Niño rains in California, blizzard conditions in the northeast, mother nature seems to be reminding us that outdoors is no place for humans to live.

If you are in need of shelter, or if you see someone needing assistance, here are some tips:

  • If you or someone else appears to be in a dangerous situation, do not hesitate to call 911. 
  • In some cases, it will be safer for people to remain in their outdoor encampments. Be sure you have or help folks with getting enough warm clothing and bedding.
  • Be courteous! Treat folks with respect and compassion!
  • Arm yourself with warm cloths (hats, gloves, etc), food or food vouchers, and most importantly, information about local emergency shelters and hotlines. See below!
  • There is generally not enough shelter beds for the number of people experiencing homelessness, most cities will have some time of warming center or overflow shelter, but your city may not.

We have a larger list of local resources in our Directory, or see below a quick list of emergency hotlines in each state (if you do not see your city, a good rule of thumb is to contact your city or county government, or find your local Continuum of Care):

Phoenix, AZ 602-263-8900
Los Angeles, CA 1-800-548-6047
San Diego, CA Dial 211
San Jose, CA 408-510-7600
San Francisco, CA Dial 311
Denver, CO Dial 211
Washington, DC 1-800-535-7252
Jacksonville, FL Dial 211
Atlanta, GA Dial 311
Chicago, IL Dial 311
Indianapolis, IN Dial 311
Louisville, KY Dial 311
Boston, MA Dial 311
Baltimore, MD 410-433-8145
Detroit, MI Dial 211
Minneapolis, MN 612-348-4111
Kansas City, MO 816-474-4599
Charlotte, NC 704-432-7233
Omaha, NE Dial 311
New York, NY Dial 311
Las Vegas, NV 702-828-1556
Columbus, OH 1-888-474-3587
Oklahoma City, OK 405-415-8410
Portland, OR Dial 211
Philadelphia, PA Dial 311
Memphis, TN 901-260-4663
Nashville, TN 615-880-2526
Austin, TX Dial 311
Dallas, TX 214-428-4242
El Paso, TX 915-546-8150
Fort Worth, TX 817-810-9797
Houston, TX Dial 211
San Antonio, TX Dial 311
Seattle, WA Dial 211
Milwaukee, WI Dial 211

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

Homeless State of Emergency

Written by Kyra Habekoss on . Posted in Advocacy, Awareness, Uncategorized

Local officials of Seattle and King County, Washington have declared a civil state of emergency for homelessness this week. Seattle follows Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon and the state of Hawaii, who have made similar proclamations likening the seriousness of homelessness with the aftermath of natural disasters. Unlike a natural disaster homelessness is not a new phenomenon, it has been prevalent for almost 40 years, but is being exacerbated with growing economic inequality and lack of affordable housing, etc. Homelessness is not contained to these areas either; it is widespread across the United States. It is safe to say that our country as a whole is in a state of emergency!

The recognition of epidemic levels of homelessness is long overdue. According to Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle, “More than 45 people have died on the streets of the city of Seattle this year and nearly 3,000 children in Seattle Public Schools are homeless,” In Hawaii, there were 7,600 people experiencing homelessness and only room for about 3,800 people in shelters or housing programs; among these unsheltered individuals were 439 children. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority counted more than 44,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in the county. Likewise, Portland, Oregon, officials counted 1,800 individuals including 566 women experiencing homelessness while unsheltered.

Further, as the value of our wages continues to decline, renters across the country are finding themselves paying 50% or more of their income on housing. 20.7 million households are housing-cost-burdened. Add to that the 1.5 million households living on $2.00 a day, the number of workers who can not afford fair market rents working 40 hours a week, etc. All further exasperating decades-long de-investment in affordable housing production and assistance to create growing homelessness.

Although these proclamations of emergency will enable regions to receive millions of dollars in crucial funding, these funds alone are not enough to prevent homelessness long-term. The allocation of emergency funds is fundamental to the effectiveness of local programs in preventing and ending homelessness. Hawaii has claimed they plan to use the funds toward the rapid construction of temporary shelters, increase of existing homeless services, and funding for housing first programs. Portland has stated that they will waive portions of state building codes to convert private and city-owned buildings into shelters, as well as build housing for people who will be served by the future psychiatric emergency center. While specific spending plans are in the process being negotiated, it seems that the common focus is the development of shelters. Even though shelters could reduce the amount of deaths on the street it is only a short-term solution that will not prevent homelessness and extreme poverty.

For long-lasting change we must focus on long-term systemic solutions, such as affordable housing, rent control, jobs that pay a livable wage, healthcare, and adequate funding for services like social security and disability, and so much more. The big picture response that we advocate is not easy, but it is necessary to correct the structure that has produced inequality and vulnerability for the last few decades. Homeless shelters alone will not remedy the factors that have produced homelessness in epidemic proportions.

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