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THE JUDICIAL CONNECTION TO HOUSING

Written by admin on . Posted in Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The impact of judicial nominees can be traced back to the founding of this nation. Today that impact was felt in a painful way when Texas federal judge John Barker ruled that the current CDC moratorium exceeded the authority of the constitution. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued order 361 of the public health act to temporarily halt evictions back on September 4, 2020. This guidance shielded some tenants from eviction due to the current coronavirus pandemic. This order was also issued to help prevent spread of the coronavirus. 

The state of Texas, which ranks at the top in carrying out evictions, is helping perpetuate homelessness. The state is living up to their slogan “everything is bigger in Texas”. According to the Eviction Lab, there have been 2,668 evictions carried out in the United States just in the last seven days. The state of Texas ranks at the top when it comes to executing evictions. Since March of last year, cities in Texas evicted people at an alarming rate. Austin executed 877 evictions, Fort Worth 12,353 evictions, and Houston executed 24,355 evictions. Bigger does not always equate to better.

The National Coalition for the Homeless supports adhering to eviction moratoria, and preventing housing displacement due to the pandemic economic downturn. As the top public health agency of the federal government, the CDC issued an order meant to protect the health and safety of everyone. By allowing evictions to proceed, city and state governments are ignoring the purpose of the CDC’s moratorium and guidance on quarantine and social distance. Housing is a human right.  It says so in our declaration of independence; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Public servants including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government are supposed to execute that, not evictions. 

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20 Years of Hate

Written by admin on . Posted in Press Releases

The National Coalition for the Homeless released its annual report on bias-motivated violence against people experiencing homelessness on December 21, 20 Years of Hate, outlines the 39 lethal attacks and the 44 non-lethal attacks that occurred in 2018 and 2019 throughout the United States. December 21st also marks 30 years of remembering the deaths of people experiencing homelessness through Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.  

The report discusses the structural violence that has created endemic poverty, and proposes legislative solutions to lawmakers and advocates working to protect people experiencing homelessness from violence. Combining statistics and narratives, 20 Years of Hate provides an in-depth look at the types of crimes homeless individuals experienced in 2018 and 2019, from police brutality to stabbings. The report breaks down lethal and non-lethal crimes by state, and each crime is documented by city, date, and description. 

The report will be released on December 21, 2020, which commemorates the 30th Annual National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, a remembrance of those who have passed away during the year while unhoused. Events will be held nationwide to remember thousands who may not have had memorial services. A growing number of cities have been releasing annual reports on the number of community members who have died while homeless. 20 years of Hate only documents a fraction of these deaths. As the National Health Care for the Homeless Council points out, life expectancy for someone who is homeless can be 20-30 years younger than the general population. The National Coalition for the Homeless has estimated that annually, there are 13,000 individuals who die on our streets. The National Healthcare for the Homeless Council have partnered with groups around the country to create a Mortality Toolkit now available to help give a more accurate count of those who have perished on the streets of America.

This year’s 20 Years of Hate report marks the 20th year the National Coalition for the Homeless has analyzed bias-motivated violence that leads to many deaths among the homeless community. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has documented increases in reported Hate Crimes against federally protected classes since the 2016 elections. The numbers of attacks reported against people experiencing homelessness have decreased during this time. It is likely that as political views have bifurcated, bias against federally-protected classes has become more accepted or promoted in the mainstream culture. Still, the data collected by the National Coalition for the Homeless demonstrates that bias-motivated violence against homeless persons continues to be highly prevalent in our communities. 

California saw the most crimes against people experiencing homelessness in 2018 and 2019. Often considered ground zero for homelessness, Los Angeles, in particular, saw almost 10% of overall incidents recorded, from acid attacks and video-taped stabbings to police officers murdering a homeless man after a noise complaint. There is a clear correlation between the growing visible presence of homelessness, as occurs in Los Angeles, and the number and severity of attacks from housed persons.

Federal and local legislation could help to prevent bias-motivated violence against people experiencing homelessness, adding housing status as a protected class under hate crimes statutes or vulnerable victims sentencing guidelines. However, as evident from the crimes outlined in 20 Years of Hate, a cultural shift is needed to change how US society treats and values our homeless population, in order to prevent hate crimes and to build healthy and compassionate communities. 

Donald Whitehead Jr. Named Executive Director of NCH

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog, News, Press Releases

Donald WhiteheadThe Board of Directors of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) announced today that it has hired Donald H. Whitehead Jr. as its new Executive Director. Mr. Whitehead brings more than 20 years of experience in serving and advocating for persons experiencing homelessness to NCH, including five years experiencing homelessness himself. “At a time that our nation is experiencing record homelessness, a rise of COVID-19 infection among those experiencing homelessness, and a rising movement for racial and economic justice that calls to account decades of institutional racism that contributes to the disproportionate over-representation of people of color on our streets, we are extremely proud that the oldest national organization focused on ending homelessness in our country is now being led by Black man who has himself experienced and overcame homelessness and addiction.” said John Parvensky, outgoing NCH Director. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to help elevate the voices of those experiencing homelessness so that our country can address the intersection of racial justice and housing justice, and finally completes the unfinished business of the civil rights movement”, said Donald H. Whitehead Jr.” Whitehead, who has served as the NCH Board President for the past year, will give up that role to devote his full-time effort as Executive Director.  Previously, Whitehead has directed several programs serving people experiencing homeless including outreach and case management, health care, emergency shelter and permanent supportive housing.  He has also served as a national advocate and an Organizational Management Consultant focused on homelessness and racial equity.  He brings a unique combination of direct service to those experiencing homelessness as well as years of advocacy for systemic change to end homelessness through increased federal investment in housing and services as well as an end to policies that criminalize homelessness.  Whitehead is also a veteran who served three years in the U.S. Navy. The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), founded in 1981, is the oldest national organization focused on ending homelessness in America.  It is a national network of people currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to their mission of: To end and prevent homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected. Over the last 38 years through advocacy efforts addressing the root causes of homelessness including lack of affordable housing, and partnering to write landmark legislation including the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987. The hiring of Whitehead to lead NCH was made possible by an anonymous two-year capacity building grant. Sue Watlov Phillips will become Board President of NCH.  Watlov Phillips has worked together with people experiencing homelessness by addressing both the immediate needs and structural causes of homelessness for over 52 years and currently serves as Executive Director of MICAH – Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing in Minnesota. Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown serves as Board Secretary of NCH.  Shankar-Brown is an internationally renowned scholar-educator and social justice activist in education, is a leading expert on child and family homelessness, diversity and transformative leadership, community engagement and human rights. Dr. Shankar-Brown is a professor and the Jessie Ball duPont Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University, as well as the Founder and Executive Director of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference. Barbara Anderson serves as Board Treasurer of NCH.  Anderson served for 24 years as Executive Director of Haven House, an emergency shelter and service center for families and individuals experiencing homelessness in rural Indiana.  She is currently devoting her time full time to advocacy and organizing on behalf of those experiencing homelessness in rural communities. In 2019, NCH entered into a strategic alliance with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH)  to leverage the strengths of each organization towards a renewed focus on elevating the crisis of homelessness being experienced in communities across America and increasing organizing and advocacy for immediate action at the Federal level to end homelessness and reduce its trauma on the millions of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and those at imminent risk of losing their homes. The agreement allowed NCH to build its capacity to focus on its strength of bringing together those experiencing homelessness to share their experiences with our nation’s leaders in a call for immediate action to end homelessness.  The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will continue to provide its administrative, financial and policy capacity to support NCH’s renewed efforts as Whitehead assumes his new position.

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