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Dirty Dozen Meanest Cities in the US

Written by admin on . Posted in White Paper

The National Coalition for the Homeless has been shocked by the number of cities engaged in raiding encampments of people who are otherwise unhoused, throwing away valuables (medications, food, personal or historical papers) of those without anywhere else to go.  

In response to the pandemic, and efforts to reduce COVID spread in crowded emergency shelters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked cities to hold off enforcing anti-camping ordinances. There continue to be so many of us who do not feel safe going to a congregate living facility. Unfortunately, most available shelter continues to be in large congregate settings, especially as emergency hotel rooms are closing. People who were or are becoming priced out of their housing are having to choose between crowded shelters or sleeping outdoors. 

Unfortunately, most cities disregarded the advice of the CDC and began arresting and moving people out of sight in late 2020. This escalated in 2021 and today NCH has documented at least 66 cities or counties sending police/sheriff deputies out to arrest and harass those who have no other viable housing options. 

NCH has studied many of these localities and has come up with a Dirty Dozen (click here to download this report), based also on discussions with advocates and people experiencing homelessness from around the country. Each one of the Dirty Dozen cities are regularly harassing those who stay outside and have been engaging in sweeps for over a year. Each one of these cities has a severe lack of affordable housing, including long waiting lists for subsidized housing, while rents and evictions are both on the rise. Every one of these cities has an inability to house everyone requesting assistance, even in emergency congregate facilities. 

In determining these Dirty Dozen cities, we also took into account levels of harassment and danger felt by people forced to live outdoors. Unfortunately, the cruelty of local police forces was a factor in developing our ranking system, and especially police-led harassment during extreme weather conditions. We also took into account the amount of violence reported against those on the streets, as well as the level of frustration by local advocates in trying to work with the elected officials to come to better solutions. A final factor taken into account when determining this list was reports from the field on how many people lost their lives while waiting for housing.   

The Dirty Dozen Meanest Cities in the United States is meant to highlight that neglect and hostility towards those without housing is leading to more people dying while homeless in one of the richest countries on the planet. 

Of note is that there are a few cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Santa Fe that have not engaged in sweeps during the pandemic, but rather have worked hard to house those living outside.  Unfortunately, we could not find enough cities to show a similar list of the “Dozen Nicest Cities for those who stay outside.” Our view is that an ideal community is one that does not allow anyone to live without safe, decent, accessible and affordable housing; and one that protects and promotes each resident’s civil and human rights. 

  1. Los Angeles CA: The scale is what puts LA as the meanest city in the US. Housing is so expensive in the city and many neighborhoods are forcing police actions against those who cannot afford the rents. Sweeps on Venice Beach in recent years have been especially brutal. Many gentrified neighborhoods in the city are demanding that law enforcement get people off the sidewalks. One of the first and largest sweeps in the LA region since the beginning of the pandemic took place in Echo Park. As a result of being displaced, a number of those who had formerly lived in the encampment community lost their lives, and only a few ever got into housing.

    Instead of learning from the Echo Park sweeps, Los Angeles City Council recently voted to prohibit lying, sleeping and storing property in public areas within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers, adding to the list of places where those who are unhoused cannot rest. From San Pedro to the West Valley to Hollywood and Downtown, the unhoused community is moved from neighborhood to neighborhood at a huge cost for the city, leaving less money for housing. Los Angeles is also home to the infamous Skid Row which is a symbol of neglect for the past 30 years. Every day, many of those ignored and forgotten by our society have identification, medicine, and blankets tossed into the trash by sanitation workers while being escorted away by police. The interviews that Invisible People (https://invisiblepeople.tv) conducts with those on the streets of LA are heartbreaking.  Many have to start over because all of their valuables are tossed every two weeks.  Los Angeles is the current Homeless Capital of the United States.
  1. San Diego, CA: San Diego has a division of police officers that spend most of their shift harassing, citing and sweeping homeless people in the remote areas of the city as well as on the downtown sidewalks. There is an all-out war on those who are struggling to survive on the streets because they can’t afford the rents. It is especially troubling to see the city’s frequent homeless encampment sweeps where perfectly good wheelchairs, bicycles, and tents are thrown away. San Diego also has a significant lack of affordable housing with prices for rent soaring out of control. Instead of working to provide housing and services, the main response from the city to homelessness has been law enforcement. San Diego also has one of the largest homeless veteran populations in the US and these individuals who served in the military are also being frequently harassed. 

    There is always an unnecessary amplification of hostility and tension when a person with a gun shows up at a tent to evict someone. San Diego has also regularly gone after people living in vehicles, especially RVs, and frequently tows this housing of last resort. There is ongoing litigation in the city around the towing of RVs. Cars, RVs and other vehicles may not be a permanent or ideal housing solution, but vehicles are often one last resort that many have to feel safe and be out of the elements after they lose their home. Given the city’s lack of caring and real solutions, it is no surprise that the San Diego region set a record by having almost 500 people die while homeless in 2021.
  1. Miami, FL: Miami makes its way to the top of the Meanest Cities list having been documented throwing away the ashes of loved ones along with many other valuables of those forced to sleep outside. The Miami city council was presented with horror stories from doctors who saw the level of need and suffering on the streets. Those elected officials ignored these pleas for help, instead voting to continue sending police out to harass people experiencing homelessness. Miami has been involved in numerous lawsuits regarding bad homeless policies, and now is attempting to ship their problem to an island outside of the city where sewage is processed. 

    It is extremely expensive to live in Miami, but it is also an extreme waste of money to chase people around the city for being unable to afford expensive housing. The city has a long history of attempting to make it illegal to be without housing and have tried to make it difficult to distribute food, provide care to those outside and to stay in contact with those outside. The city has a tourist-first policy and thus attempts to keep those without housing out of sight of visitors. Miami has shown repeatedly that they will put profits over people when it comes to social services and medical care.
  1. Austin, TX: Austin is the state capital of Texas so while state officials are sympathetic to the outrageous price of housing, there are also state and national forces working to criminalize people for not having permanent homes. The Governor and his funders are demanding harsh treatment of people experiencing homelessness, and have threatened to step in to enforce local zoning restrictions if the city does not act. 

    Out-of-control rents have been ignored in policy discussions for a decade in Austin, so the significant rise in homelessness did not just happen during the pandemic, but has became more visible over the last few years. Law and order advocates invested lots of money in a voter initiative which then passed to demand that the city enforce an anti-camping ban. Any opposition to the measure was successfully silenced with threats and intimidation. Everyone is afraid to speak up against these draconian policies and their horrible impact on those struggling to afford rent. Those who promote sweeps are often swayed by myths about people experiencing homelessness and distorted statistics that paint those without housing as safety risks. This is simply an attempt to hide the problems facing Austin and the lack of an effective response by local leaders as well as state lawmakers.
  1. Sacramento, CA: Sacramento is a city that often purports to have compassion but in reality is causing great harm to those struggling to afford housing. Most actions made by the city leadership only prolong a person’s homelessness. The city shelters are at capacity and turn people away, and the city has stopped helping those living outside. The city regularly throws away the valuables of those who live outside, erroneously thinking that giving a warning notice to those in tents is somehow more compassionate. They have decided that internment camps in an industrial section of the city is an effective response to homelessness. They seem to have given up on trying to reduce discharges from health care facilities to the streets, or on trying to bring down the high cost of rent.

    Sacramento is another state capital where state legislators come to all the wrong conclusions as they drive by those living in tents. The biggest concern of local leaders seems to be how to get around a federal court decision that prohibits cities from arresting anyone living outside if there is not enough shelter available. Sacramento has embraced combining law enforcement with social services going back on promises to provide safe, decent and voluntary places to exist in the city. In the last Great Depression, we built a safety net for seniors to be able to stay in housing after retirement and not end up on the streets.  That system is crumbling because rents are so high that many frail and elderly are dying on the streets of Sacramento. 
  1. Atlanta, GA: Atlanta is a city that seems to have been at war with its homeless population for the past 30 years. City resources were incredibly ill-prepared to deal with the huge rise in people living outside after COVID. As in many cities, vulnerable people have found that living outdoors is safer for avoiding contracting COVID. Atlanta was especially hard hit, because they had never really constructed a social safety net for those who cannot afford the ever increasing cost of rent. In addition, shelters have closed and the city of Atlanta has not embraced alternatives to shelter.  

    One of the best examples of how mean Atlanta has become to those without housing is the number of hostile architecture fixtures within the city. Spikes and huge boulders have been installed under bridges and public spaces to prevent humans from sitting or lying down to rest. Officials in Atlanta have even gone so far as to convince local and state governments to make camping illegal in every community in Georgia. Rents and evictions are skyrocketing, and the city has only offered more police to harass unhoused folks. Once you regularly use law enforcement in place of social workers, it is impossible to rebuild the trust of those forced to live outdoors. 
  1. Phoenix, AZ:  Because Pheonix is a city built in a desert, it is one of the most brutal cities to live in without housing. Every year that advocates have tracked homeless mortality rates, Phoenix always has a large numbers due to extreme weather deaths. As climate change continues to heat up temperatures, the dire need for indoor spaces, especially in very hot locations, will only increase. 

    However, instead of cooling centers or housing, city officials in Phoenix have only increased encounters between the police and those trying to survive outside. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation against the City of Phoenix and their police department and specifically cited their ill-treatment of people who are homeless or who have a mental health condition. There was a proposal in the last state legislature session that would make it illegal for anyone to sleep on public property. Though the legislation did not pass it is expected to be reintroduced or revised during a special session.  

    Phoenix is another large city that does not have emergency shelter capabilities to serve all of its residents who are becoming displaced by the high cost of housing. The city did very little during the height of the COVID pandemic to meet the needs of those who were not able to safely use congregate shelters.  
  1. Washington, DC:  DC is another city that presents itself as compassionate, but advocates and people who live outside or in shelters will disagree. Every day, national lawmakers who have access to trillions of dollars drive by the large number of tents near Metro stops and in local parks. While our Federal legislators have failed to provide needed housing investment for the entire country, the District of Columbia local government is also lacking a compassionate and housing-focused response to homelessness. 

    Local advocates have seen a sharp rise in violence against those who are without housing, which started when the local government began their pilot of “moving” encampments.  Along with assisting on sweeps the city has done very little to curb the gentrification of certain neighborhoods displacing long term residents for higher income households typically from outside the District. The DC government has done all it can to try to house as many as possible and had a decent response to COVID, but still insists on using law enforcement to address a social service problem. They do give warnings, but one week is hardly a comfort to the men and women trying to survive the heat and trauma of living in a tent. There are many more people sleeping outside compared to 5 years ago, and the cost of housing is out of control in the region. It is more and more difficult for the homeless service workers to afford to live in the region, much less anyone is the overall service industry. Even with one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country, housing is unattainable for anyone making less than $25 per hour. But the city continues to allow law enforcement to harass those forced to live outdoors.  
  1. San Francisco, CA: San Francisco is another city that hides behind a “compassionate” veneer. In reality, the city’s primary response to homelessness is and has been a police response. The holes in the social safety net have become more pronounced and more visible in the last two years as the city caters heavily to real estate and downtown interests. However, a report issued by the Board of Supervisors in February 2022 found that police were sent to address issues associated with those living outside between 9,000 and 10,000 times per month. 

    While strong community organizing has led the city to invest a good deal in solutions, it has fallen short of addressing the affordable housing crisis in any real way. Rents are extreme in San Francisco. A recent voter initiative demanded that the city tax wealthy corporation to provide a 25% increase in funding for housing and shelter. However, the city has also continued to invest heavily in strategies to disappear and displace poor people.   

    San Francisco is now at the forefront of employing private unregulated “security guards” to terrorize those who stay outside.  Business Improvement Districts are quasi-governmental sponsors of these “security guards,” who have no oversight and are not responsive to freedom of information disclosures or the other procedures of all the other public law enforcement personnel. 
  1. New York City, NY:  Again the scale of the issue is what puts New York City in the top ten meanest cities. NYC was once the capital of homelessness in America but was forced to make progress, as early as the 1980’s, through lawsuits and public pressure. But the current Mayor (who was formerly a member of law enforcement in the city) has moved the city backward with a huge increase in sweeps. This is despite the fact that New York City maintains the highest percentage of shelter beds per capita, and that the City did a tremendous amount at the start of the pandemic to put people who were homeless into hotel rooms. Unfortunately, this hotel-based COVID prevention program was prematurely ended right before the omicron surge.

    The new Mayor came into office and has approached homelessness as an issue to be addressed by law enforcement rather than social services.  While previous administrations have tried sweeps, Mayor Eric Adams has doubled down on a failed and cruel policy that has proven not to work. He has done nothing to improve the shelter conditions or control the escalating numbers of evictions.  He has sent the police out as a response to those who cannot afford housing and those who are improperly discharged to the streets by the medical facilities. His history of working in law enforcement makes it his first response to a social service problem. All the cities on this list have a higher than average rate of mortality among those who experience homelessness. New York City is no different,  with large number of unhoused folks who reportedly die as a result of chronic health conditions or untreated addiction needs.
  1. Seattle WA: Seattle is a human rights city that claims compassion, but in practice, people experiencing homelessness are being harassed and are dying from preventable conditions on a regular basis. Seattle has long used law enforcement to address homelessness, and has recently increased forcibly displacing people forced to live outdoors. Seattle advocates have worked tirelessly to oppose these draconian policies, offering data and other evidence to counter current policies, but to no avail. There has been very little done to adequately address the unreasonably high cost of housing, inflation, or the increases in eviction. An already strained medical system does not have the capacity to care for the high numbers of people in need. Those with life threatening and deadly illnesses are being discharged back to the streets. 

    While it is widely known that those experiencing homelessness are disproportionately victims of crime, officials still propagate the myth that homeless individuals attract crime.  Frequently, law enforcement is used to perpetuate the narrative that those who are homeless are criminals as well. Those who have lost their housing are punished with forcible displacement and potential criminal charges or must wander the city looking for a safe and quiet place to rest. The abuse of those experiencing homelessness is strategic. The City tries breaking up encampments and destabilizing relationships within these communities.

    While the city received federal housing vouchers and millions in emergency COVID relief to augment its homeless social services, it was not enough to bridge the income gap of lower income workers. With full knowledge that there is not the capacity to offer equitable or adequate shelter/housing/or emergency accommodations, Seattle quietly moves people around the city to protect tourists and the wealthy from having to see the cost of inaction and neglect of the affordable housing crisis.  
  1. Oakland, CA Rounding out the Dirty Dozen Meanest Cities is Oakland, California, which has regularly harassed people living outdoors, often shipping off to industrial sections of the city. Oakland makes the list because of utter neglect of the population of people who do not have a permanent home. There seems to be territorial disputes among state, local and transit officials about who needs to take responsibility, resulting in very little assistance, and lots of vitriol against folks forced to live outside. 

    While rents in Oakland have not risen to the levels seen across the bay in San Francisco, the lack of affordable places to live are a long standing problem. Many of those struggling to stay alive are refugees from San Francisco, but city officials have not done much to address the lack of affordable housing or safety for those struggling with finding emergency help during COVID. Further, Oakland has allowed the ongoing harassment and sweeping of outdoor encampment communities. Oakland is a city adrift without a plan for addressing the many thousands who cannot find a stable place to sleep.  

Dis-Honorable Mentions

State of Tennessee for making it a felony to camp outside. Some jurisdictions are not enforcing the law yet, but it is troubling trend that we anticipate seeing cities from Tennessee on the list soon. 

State of Missouri passed a horrible piece of legislation that attacks those living outside but almost every social service provider operating in the state.  It outlaws the federal priorities for addressing homelessness and will result in a decrease in state funding for many of the larger communities in the show me state or as it will soon be called the “Show-Me-What-Not-to-Do-State.” We anticipate St. Louis and Kansas City joining the above list as soon as this law begins to be implemented. 

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

State of the Union’s Housing Crisis

Written by Brian Davis on . Posted in Blog

Let’s Talk About Homelessness in the State of the Union 

By Brian Davis

The problem of homelessness was once a prominent part of every Presidential campaign from Nixon, Carter to Reagan each released plans to house every American. It should be understood that Reagan’s plan (the last time the President was pushed to address homelessness) was rather specious in having every church and synagogue adopt “10 welfare families” until the inflation crisis was over.  There were dramatic expansions of federal housing support from the 1960s to the mid 1980s that really made an impact. In 1984, Jesse Carpenter froze to death on a bench very near the federal agency in charge of housing and everything changed.  The Homeless Persons Survival Act was written in the offices of the National Coalition for the Homeless and was passed in 1986 and began a huge escalation in federal dollars toward the emergency needs of those on the streets. 

This resulted in a huge infusion of dollars to keep people from freezing to death, and a steady decline in the construction and repair of affordable housing.  The problem of homelessness no longer was an emergency that politicians set their hair on fire to address.  It became a routine to check people in every night, process their paperwork and have them wait in a bunk bed for a month, a year, a decade for the next available unit of affordable housing. Then it became to norm to have children skipping school because they lost their housing so we set up a program for homeless children. Every city started seeing people living in their cars, and that became a problem to overcome in the short term. Talented artists, teachers, athletes lined up for shelter and our community accepted that reality as well.  Tents popped up and instead of creating housing opportunities, cities answered with tickets and arrests.  The issue also fell off the Presidential docket except for some occasional volunteering at Thanksgiving or MLK Day.  Homelessness became routine; shelter became the response and housing grew increasingly out of reach.  

The United States is at the tail end of a crisis that caused thousands of deaths in the homeless community and did not discriminate based on your housing status or your income.  We need to come together to repair the social safety net and commit to never again keeping a segment of the population in an extended state of emergency.  The human body can only deal with so much stress; so much sleep deprivation; and only so much trauma. We have learned that stuffing as many people as possible into a gymnasium is not healthy and we know that periods of homelessness reduce the life expectancy of a segment of the population.  While the growth of shelter in the late 20th Century has saved the life of hundreds of thousands of people, it has also extended the time the average person spends without stability by months if not years.  

We need the President and Congressional leaders to regularly talk about homelessness again.  We need to get back to a time when the federal government takes the lead in providing a plan to house everyone residing in the United States.  We need to re-prioritize housing as a key piece of infrastructure in every community.  Here are some things the President could say during the State of the Union address to get back to a time when we prioritized housing for voters:

  • As I campaigned on, I want to see homelessness end in the United States. The first step down payment on that promise is universal access to a housing voucher coupled with a national prohibition on landlords not accepting the federal assistance program.  If you can’t afford housing, the federal government will provide a hand up to those struggling. 
  • With the Omicron variant on the rise in the United States, we need to recommit to safety protocols for those without safe, secure housing that offers privacy.  No city or local government should be engaged in any activities that disrupt those who are forced to live outside unless it is offering them a housing unit. Congregate shelters are not a safe alternative at this time until we have near universal vaccination rates. 
  • As we come out of the pandemic, dust ourselves off and put our minds to fixing all the holes left from this national emergency, one of the glaring issues is that the American system for meeting the emergency housing needs of the community does not work during a health emergency.  We need to completely re-think shelter in the United States and focus on healthy alternatives to meet the needs of those with long term chronic health conditions including behavioral health issues. 
  • Why does the federal government have multiple definitions for the word “homeless”?  This makes no sense and can be confusing the mom attempting to enroll her child in school and has to interact with multiple federal agencies all with a different definition of homelessness.  We need to adopt the Department of Education definition as the standard for all federal, state and local jurisdictions.  This is the easiest definition to understand and will make it a lot easier to provide services. 
  • The Housing First model is a proven success, and it needs to be adopted for every single individual seeking help with their lack of a safe place to sleep.  We should prioritize preventing homelessness with legal representation, rental assistance and mediation services.  If those fail, then how do we get the family back into housing within 24 hours of their seeking help?  This should be the standard and every community needs to construct systems to engage every level of government to make this a reality.  
  • The United States needs to value the work of every single citizen who puts in 40 hours of work so that they can afford at least a one bedroom apartment in every single community.  If a business cannot pay a living wage, then the government should provide a monthly tax credit to get the individual up to a living wage for their household.  The businesses not able to pay living wages should be asked to pay a higher tax rate to subsidize these lower wage workers.  
  • Healthcare should not be tied to a job because that disproportionately leaves out those in the service sector and those who change jobs frequently.  As I campaigned on, I want to expand Medicaid to include those who cannot find healthcare in the market.  We may not be able to move toward universal health care, but we should be taking steps toward that goal every year.  Coming out of a pandemic is the perfect time to move toward an expanded Medicaid program. 
  • If you cannot work because you are disabled in the United States that should not mean that you will live in poverty for the rest of your life.  We need to reform the disability assistance to encourage those who can contribute in a meaningful way have that opportunity, and not face penalty for receiving some limited income.  We also need to raise the standard of living of everyone on full disability so that their income translates into a living wage in the community in which they reside. 
  • Local jurisdictions are receiving millions of dollars from the federal government to serve those without housing and those with extremely low incomes, and they are turning around and harassing, arresting and threatening those very same people that the federal government is showering them with funding to serve.  This is hypocritical to take the assistance and then punish those individuals the city has pledged to help.  It stops now! If you want federal funds to feed, educate, house, and provide health care for, each city, county or local jurisdiction will have to certify that they are not using law enforcement as social workers to deal with behavioral health issues, homelessness, or poverty related complications.  

While this is broader than strictly a homeless issue, we would be negligent if we did not mention that you need to tell us how you are going to re-institute voter protections especially for those who move frequently because of poverty issues.  This is the most important issue to restore free and fair elections and remove all barriers to get every citizen to vote. We urge the President to address the path to passing the two voter protection laws that the House of Representatives already passed. 

The collapse of the Build Back Better shows that Congress is hopelessly broken and needs significant reform.  We need to tear down the current model for our democracy back to the studs and start over so that we can work together on a future national crisis and not have to lose 600,000 Americans unnecessarily.  We need to restore representative democratic principles to force more universal participation in governance.  We need to remove propaganda from tipping our governmental leaders to more authoritarian tendencies, and we need to protect a free and fair independent media.  National crisis such as the pandemic can destabilize a government and in the blink of an eye a “savior” can come to power and crush the opposition.   

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