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Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

Build Back Better Broken-Heart Valentine Action

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

We are Broken Hearted this Valentine’s Day Over the Deaths of our Neighbors whose lives were cut short by Homelessness. Urge our Elected Leaders to Do More to Create and Build More Affordable Housing.

In 2018, National Healthcare for the Homeless estimated that at least 17,500 people experiencing homelessness died without a home. That’s at least 49 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or friends dying everyday because they were unable to afford safe housing and adequate health care. How many more people have to die before Housing is a Human Right in this country?  

Those who died were artists, teachers, first responders, those laid off because of the pandemic, and business owners. They were followers of nearly every major religion and spent countless hours volunteering to serve others. They lived in the richest country on the planet and yet died because they did not have the basic income needed to pay the bills or to afford housing or quality health care. Each of their lives counted, even though they were cast aside by their country and communities.

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), and hundreds of partners across the country have remembered their names and their stories for over 30 years on National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, held symbolically on the winter solstice. On February 11, 2022, NCH Staff and Advocates who have experienced homelessness will read over 3,000 names of individuals whose lives were cut short due to the effects of unstable housing. 

But we need to do more than remember their names. We can begin by passing the Build Back Better Act, which includes direly needed and historic investments of almost $170 billion in housing accessibility programs. NCH is sending “Broken Heart” Valentine’s Day messages to every member of the US Senate that include the names of constituents who have died without housing. 

We are urging you to send a similar message to your elected leadership in your local, state or national leaders.

Here’s what you can do: 

These are our neighbors and constituents who are not able to be here because they could not afford safe housing and decent health care. Let’s tell our senators – If you pass BBB in their honor, you can undo decades of disinvestment in housing programs that could prevent more of your constituents from succumbing to deep poverty and homelessness.

1. Find your state representatives:

2. Access the list of names we received, by state:

  • Find a list of names in your state by clicking here. 

3. Print these cards and give them to your local or state representatives:

4. Find images for posting: 

Facebook; download image here:  broken heart call to action fb (3).png

Instagram/Twitter, download image here: 13,000 preventable deaths. 535 members of congress. 1 bill..png

5. Post on social media using these sample posts:

  • Does your heart break for the 17,500+ people without homes who die each year? The Senate must pass the critical housing investments in #BuildBackBetter to prevent more unnecessary deaths! #BrokenHeartValentine #HomelessDeaths #HousingNOW #PassBBB
  • My heart breaks for the more than 17,500 people who die without homes each year. We have to do better! We can start with passing nearly $170 billion in critical housing supports in #BuildBackBetter! #BrokenHeartValentine #HomelessDeaths #HousingNOW #PassBBB 
  • Data shows that between 17,500 and 46,500 people die without housing each year. That’ s at least 17,500 people dying due to extreme weather, violence or unattended health conditions. That’s at least 17,500 people dying preventable deaths. #PassBBB #BuildBackBetter #BrokenHeartValentine #HomelessDeaths https://nhchc.org/homeless-mortality/
  • Dear Senator: You have the power to undo decades of disinvestment in housing programs and communities that could prevent more of your constituents succumbing to deep poverty and homelessness. Pass #BuildBackBetter with housing. Save lives, [your state] needs you. #BrokenHeartValentine #HomelessDeaths #HousingNOW #PassBBB

Bring America Home NOW Rally – Press Release

Written by admin on . Posted in Press Releases

For Immediate Release 

October 19, 2021

Contact:
National Organization for Women, NOW Press Team,  press@now.org 
National Coalition for the Homelessness, Donald Whitehead, dwhitehead@nationalhomeless.org 

October 20: Bring America Home NOW Rally & Press Conference 

National Organization for Women, National Coalition for the Homeless and End Homelessness Advocates Demand Investments to Solve Housing Inequality Crisis 

Washington, D.C. – The housing crisis in the United States has reached a critical point due to long-standing structural inequities compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Congress debates President Biden’s “Build Back Better” Infrastructure Bill, advocates from across the affordable housing, women’s rights, and social justice movements have come together in an unprecedented coalition calling on Congress and President Biden to prioritize investments to solve this public housing crisis.  

The coalition, led by the National Organization for Women and the National Coalition for the Homeless, is urging Congress not to cut over $300 billion in much-needed funding for long-overdue renovations of severely dilapidated public housing, an expansion of over 500,000 units of affordable housing for low- income Americans, and the removal of toxic lead paint from public housing. As millions of Americans fall behind on their rents and mortgages, and with the imminent risk of evictions during freezing winter weather conditions, advocates are also urgently calling for an extension of the CDC moratorium on all evictions throughout the duration of the pandemic to avoid the needless tragedy of unhousing possibly millions of families, women, and children.

“Homelessness is a feminist issue that NOW’s activists are deeply invested in solving. We know numbers show that women – especially women of color – are disproportionately affected by homelessness,” stated Christian F. Nunes, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).  “This issue is compounded by gender-based economic inequality, racial discrimination and the impacts of domestic and sexual violence, which contribute to women, children and families becoming the fastest-growing segments of the homeless population.”

 “America is the wealthiest country in the world, and we can easily afford to pay for the President’s bill, and therefore not cut the housing investments in the legislation. We must have the political will and emergency citizen advocacy to make this happen,“ said Donald Whitehead, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “The majority of the American people, both Democrats and Republicans, support the President’s plan. Now we the people are organizing a mass mobilization to demand that Congress and President Biden pass the bill, without any cuts to the desperately needed housing provisions.” 

“We as a nationwide progressive end homelessness/housing for all movement will not allow millions of Americans to be evicted and thrown into the streets during the lethal Covid-19 pandemic. Have we no shame,” added Joel Segal, national director of the Bring America Home Now Campaign. “Furthermore, the national BAHN campaign’s most important priorities right now are to stop any cuts to affordable housing in the President’s Infrastructure Bill and a zero-tolerance policy for any evictions during the Covid-19 Pandemic and freezing winter temperatures. It’s unamerican, immoral, and cruel for we the people not to intervene now to stop the unnecessary, life-threatening, and destabilizing nationwide eminent eviction emergency.” 

In addition to calling for investments within the Build Back Better infrastructure package, the coalition has also called for meetings with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge and Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo to discuss allocating funds to the development of housing crisis “navigators,” emulating the success of the Affordable Care Act program to simplify the application process for rental assistance. The coalition hopes to meet with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other congressional leaders to discuss how our country can create lasting solutions and provide housing security for our most vulnerable populations. 

WHAT: Bring America Home NOW Rally & Press Conference

WHEN: Wednesday, October 20th at 10:00am-12:00pm ET

WHERE: Capitol Hill, Constitution Ave & New Jersey Ave. NW (Robert Taft Memorial)

WHO: Bring America Home NOW Campaign featuring NOW & the National Coalition for the Homelessness, members of Congress, and other guest speakers

MORE INFO:  Additional confirmed speakers and logistical details, including location, will be updated here. Members of the media interested in attending or connecting with speakers can contact press@now.org or dwhitehead@nationalhomeless.org.

Flyer for rally in DC on October 20, 2021, calling to Stop Evictions, Housing is Infrastructure

Member spotlight: Anita Beaty

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

After the Peachtree-Pine Shelter was forced by the city of Atlanta to close its doors in 2017, Anita Beaty has remained dedicated to activist efforts in the homeless community, continuing her decades-long career advocating and providing for those in need. Beaty, who oversaw the Peachtree-Pine Shelter for twenty years, has worked in the homeless community for much longer, her history of activism stretching as far back as the eighties. Whether it was activism or overseeing the shelter, Beaty consistently abided by a philosophy that no one should be left behind or left out. She has always placed high value on “letting the people who needed the service run the service,” and described how this philosophy of care for others informed her activism through the years. 

In one story, Beaty described a march she organized every year for twenty-nine years to celebrate homeless memorial day on November 1st. Various shelters, congregational groups, or other facilities would carry banners representing their group, made in the Peachtree-Pine art studio, along with a procession of crosses with the names of homeless people who had died that year. Each year, she recalled, there would be around 60 to 80 crosses. The procession finished at the Cathedral, where there would be a ceremony addressing the issue of homelessness, with a Litany created by the Task Force, and remembrances of the dead, name by name. 

Beaty and her organization, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, would hire buses to pick people up at every shelter that would participate, and the cathedral served them a hot meal. Looking back, Beaty recalled the event with fondness for the community it fostered. 

Beaty also reflected that a key component of her personal philosophy was an element of playfulness. “I need to enjoy what I do,” she said. In one story she recounted, Beaty and the Task Force were protesting the improvement project the city of Atlanta was undertaking at Woodruff Park prior to their hosting of the 1996 Summer Olympics. The park had been a gathering place for members of the homeless community, so when the mayor of Atlanta showed up in a hard hat for a photo-op groundbreaking on the construction, several of the protestors laid in the hole the mayor was to stand in, completely preventing their chance at a photo-op. Beaty chuckled as she recalled how the mayor’s face turned purple with rage, and when he retreated to his car the protestors followed, and it looked as if he was the one leading the march. Beaty also recalled a city council meeting they attended, when she handed out signs to everyone with them that said “true,” “false,” and “bald-faced lie.” When one of the council members said something about homelessness, the crowd held up their “bald-faced lie” signs, and Beaty recalled it was “hysterical” as the council member tried to talk down the signs. 

The visual arts have always been a major part of Beaty’s activism. During her time as its leader, Beaty opened an art studio at Peachtree-Pine, where shelter residents could come to draw, paint, and be creative. Beaty sometimes brought in artists from around the country, especially artists who had been homeless or experienced similar struggles. They “had a ball with us,” she remembered. “It was so exciting to intentionally bring in like-minded people who can show folks who’ve been excluded from all that that they, too, can dream.” Beaty emphasized that giving shelter residents access to resources that they would not otherwise have access to was a way of lifting them up: “There are artists who don’t even know it, don’t have the leisure to explore that, or could become artists and become part of that culture.” Beaty’s art studio is living proof that art has the power to bring out the best in people who are experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, or other problems. Not only that, Beaty noted that putting shelter residents’ work on display helped to bust public stereotypes about them. 

 “Let’s break the mythology,” she said. “Let’s take care of the fear by being together in fun places: food, art, coffee.” 

Beaty is sure to acknowledge that activist efforts do not always turn out the way we hope they will. When she took part in the Housing Now March on Washington in 1989, she recalls the immense expectations they had: “It was an action that we thought was gonna change the world, change this country at least, and sensitize the policymakers to the absolute necessity of changing laws,” she remembered. Obviously, the march did not have the effect Beaty and its organizers hoped it would.  The funding of a growing homelessness services “industry” was a direct result, but the right to housing, permanent affordable accessible housing, was then and is still the emergency need.

But Beaty also believes the march did make a difference, even if it wasn’t on the wide scale she had hoped it would. “Success is relative,” she said, recalling many times when she thought an effort she was part of was more successful than it was. But activism can still be successful, even if it’s in the smallest of ways. One outcome that Beaty pointed out from the Housing Now March was HUD policy, which, she says, she is still looking at to determine how it has evolved over the decades since the march. 

Beaty’s long career in activism shows us that success, whether small or large, can be found through determination to make a difference and a passion for celebrating inclusion. It is the stories of activists like Beaty that have the most to teach us about how to make change happen, and Beaty’s stories remind us that change happens in and with communities, leaving no one behind, including the excluded in operating, managing, and developing of all services designated for those very people, and working together to foster a just and creative world.

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