News on homelessness issues ~

We blog/post recent and relevant local, national and international homelessness news items every few weeks, as we can.  Please send in any articles or activities of interest for posting.

Week of February 3, 2020
Trump’s Homelessness Czar Seeks to Further Criminalize the Homeless
When Robert Marbut Jr. — a self-described “homelessness consultant” — was named by President Trump to head the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) in mid-December, homeless activists and their supporters shuddered, and for good reason. Marbut believes that providing people with shelter without first tackling mental or physical health challenges amounts to coddling. He has a similar opinion about providing food to people experiencing homelessness and has urged localities to stop “enabling” the homeless by providing free meals on city streets. Furthermore, he supports making it illegal to sleep in public spaces, from parks to streets. Instead, Marbut has urged a focus on policing to address homelessness. Truthout.org

Minn. pilot program offers rent subsidy for families
A pilot project at seven schools in St. Paul, Minn., will give subsidies to families at risk of housing insecurity that they can apply toward rent. “It does make everything just a lot more stressful if you have to choose between medication and rent and transportation and rent,” said Anne McInerney, the district’s advocate for homeless students. KARE11.com

Redding’s Homeless Ride a Wave of Very Tough Love
California Gov. Gavin Newsom calls homelessness an emergency akin to a major earthquake, but his proposals do not prevent cities from sweeping people off the streets. As the number of homeless in Redding has grown, advocates say attitudes against unhoused people have grown progressively more hostile, with “criminalization, scorn and vigilantism.”  Capitalandmain.com

Trump wants California cops to evict homeless people
They don’t want that ‘dirty’ job job is it to evict homeless people from encampments, if anybody’s? Answering that can prove contentious, as Sonoma County learned. Political leaders are calling for actions that could make cops more responsible for managing tens of thousands of people. But many cops say they can’t be both social workers and enforcers, and top brass say they aren’t equipped to be the front line of the crisis. LA Times

ACEH Governance Change Announcement!
The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) would like to introduce its new governance structure and governing body members. In addition to the ACEH Board of Directors, the governing representation will now include a second layer of governance, the Anchorage Homeless Response System Advisory Council. The Advisory Council will oversee the health of the Anchorage Homeless Response System including Continuum of Care design and support, the annual Anchorage community needs prioritization (Gaps Analysis), Coordinated Entry redesign, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) governance, in addition to Built for Zero and Anchored Home initiatives. The ACEH Board of Directors will oversee the ACEH organizational overall governance, financial management, strategic planning, advocacy, and the Homeless Response System funding advocacy.

Week of October 7, 2019
News from Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness
Upcoming Events: 
– Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness Board Meeting
Friday, October 11, 2019 – 9:00 am-11:00 am
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (4300 Boniface Pkwy.- Main Conference Room) 
– Anchorage Assembly Committee on Homelessness
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 – 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Anchorage City Hall (632 W 6th Ave – Mayor’s Conference Room #830)

The Anchorage CoC Collaborative Application and Priority Listing have been completed and are available by CLICKING HERE.  The Coalition welcomes public comment on the application and process to tdonovan@anchoragehomeless.org

We intend to succeed’: $40M investment pledged to reduce homelessness in Anchorage
A health care provider, private funder, health insurer and property manager announced a five-year plan on Wednesday to invest $40 million in efforts to combat homelessness in Anchorage. Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz described the private investment as momentous and unprecedented for Alaska. The money will fund and expand some programs and initiatives already in place, including housing, and also pay for new projects and strategies to address the complex problem of homelessness in the state’s largest city. ADN

The “housing first” model and why it’s so beneficial for veterans
President Barack Obama’s focus on veteran homelessness motivated action on the issue but “[t]here’s still a lot more work to do,” says National Coalition for Homeless Veterans CEO Kathryn Monet. The “housing first” model has been successful because it gives veterans a secure base from which to seek employment and other services.  NASW Social Work Smart Brief

Survey: Homeless in Ore. city don’t want police response in most cases
A survey of 180 people experiencing homelessness in Portland, Ore., found that most of them wanted mental health professionals and social workers to respond to 911 calls for situations that didn’t involve crimes and wanted police to respond only to criminal situations. The city is creating a pilot project to better handle emergency calls involving the homeless population.
Oregon Public Broadcasting NASW Social Work Smart Brief

How This Campus Ministry is Tackling Student Homelessness (by Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil)
Nearly 11 percent of students across California State University experienced homelessness sometime in the past year. Sojourners

This Church Found a Brilliant Way To Help Homeless People, and It All Starts With a Mailbox
For people experiencing homelessness, an address can be a gateway to gaining that home. Without an address, an individual can’t receive disability benefits, social security payments or veteran’s benefits. They can’t open a bank account, which is often needed to collect earnings from employers. They can’t receive notifications about newly available affordable housing, messages from their children’s school or correspondence from family members. In other words, the resources that homeless people need require an address, but in order to have an address — a home, apartment or place to sleep — the individual needs to first obtain those resources. This vicious cycle has come to be known as the Postal Paradox — and leaders at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph in San Jose, California, saw an opportunity to disrupt it. NationSwell

This Yellow Bus Isn’t Taking Children To School — It’s Taking Families Off Of Streets
Vehicles for Changes launched in May 2018 by Julie Atkins, a journalist covering homelessness in Oregon and up and down the West Coast.  Now its converting school buses into homes for families.  NationSwell

Homeless services in Alaska face uncertain future as state cuts back
In the freezing and sparsely populated state, safe housing is the key to survival. But what happens when budget cuts make providing such shelter untenable?  ABC News

Can residents and the municipality reach common ground on illegal camps and homelessness?
A fundamental disconnect between Anchorage residents and municipal leaders prevents effective action to address homelessness and the proliferation of illegal camps. Residents see illegal camps as enormous public health and safety risks to campers and the community. Our daily experience demonstrates that illegal campers are not a homogenous population of the disadvantaged without alternatives. We know a considerable number choose camping as a lifestyle for various reasons, some that put us all at risk.  An individuals opinion…  ADN Op-Ed

Trump’s Vague Plans on Homelessness
The president has noticed that people are living on the streets in California. Solutions are unlikely to follow.  NYT

Trump Cuts Emissions Standards While Accusing Homeless People of “Polluting”
What we are confronted with now is beyond strange. The policy bowl of rancid jellybeans was overflowing again this past week when following a secretive fundraiser in San Francisco, Trump bizarrely announced that the Environmental Protection Agency would issue the city a violation because its homeless population was polluting the oceans by dropping needles in storm drains. Then he announced he was revoking California’s auto emissions standards. Truthout

And Now We Rise
See a portrait of Samuel Johns, a young Athabaskan hip hop artist, founder of Forget Me Not Facebook Group and activist for a cultural renaissance as he heals from his own legacy of historical trauma.   See more at https://affinityfilms.org/portfolio-item/and-now-we-rise/

What would happen if we gave everybody someplace to live?
A roof and four walls where they could stash their stuff and put up their feet and lose their keys in the couch cushions. Turns out, we can. It’s called Housing First, and it could end homelessness altogether. Once you start to think about it, it seems like a no-brainer. Go ahead, think about it. Take your time. We’ll wait right here.

Everybody Needs a Home

Week of August 26, 2019
Anchored Home Community Discussion
Click Here for Facebook Event and Additional Details
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 – 5:30pm- 7:30pm 
Anchorage Loussac Library, Wilda Marston Theater (3600 Denali St – Beluga Room on the 2nd floor)

Camp Here: Occupy to Overcome Homelessness
This coming Thursday (August 29th) at 7pm DSA is hosting a potluck with “Camp Here” at Cuddy Park. “Camp Here: Occupy to Overcome Homelessness,” is a self-governed, self-advocating movement made up of people experiencing homelessness. Individuals come from various backgrounds, live at the camp and strive to improve their situation. Camp residents are supported by the community and camp supervisors, who are grassroots organizers and advocates who guide and help camp residents throughout their stay. Park at the lot on the West side of Cuddy Park near the corner of 40th and B street. Bring a dish and share a meal with members of Anchorage DSA, “Camp Here” organizers and residents of the camp; and learn how this movement is advocating for the rights and safety of homeless people.

Homeless Resource Advisory Council (HRAC) Meeting
Click Here for Facebook Event and Additional Details
Thursday, September 5, 2019 – 3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Z. J. Loussac Public Library (3600 Denali St – Beluga Room on the 2nd floor)

Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness General Membership Meeting
Click Here for Facebook Event and Additional Details
Friday, September 12, 2019 – 9:00 am-11:00 am
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (4300 Boniface Pkwy.- Main Conference Room) 

Should people have a legal right to sleep on city streets? The nation’s homeless crisis sparks a partisan battle
With an estimated 2,200 homeless adults sleeping on sidewalks and in makeshift tent cities, Austin has become the latest flash point in the national debate over whether homeless residents have a constitutional right to sleep on public streets, particularly in cities grappling with overcrowded shelters. ADN.com

Tent by tent, police and city officials are counting Anchorage’s homeless population this week
Anchorage police officers walked through homeless camps Thursday to count occupants at various locations as part of the semiannual Point-In-Time count. Since Tuesday, about eight officers have been counting homeless people for the survey, which continues through Friday. Other volunteers are helping with counts at homeless shelters and on streets. ADN.com

Program provides transgender youth a place to call homeTransgender people are more likely to be unsheltered than other homeless populations, and they’re more likely to avoid shelters than their cisgender peers, research finds. A transitional house in San Francisco is reportedly the first to be established solely for transgender youth, connecting them with support such as job training, education and savings accounts for two years.
city lab.com via NASW SmartBrief

Week of July 8, 2019
From Anchorage Coalition to end Homelessness
  Gov. Dunleavy’s Vetoes Force Hundreds to the Streets

From Anchorage Coalition to end Homelessness
  How to Advocate for Homeless Services in 30 seconds or less. 
Use the link below to open a pre-populated email that includes all Alaska State Legislator’s emails the copy and paste the message below, or include your own message. For more information regarding the impacts of these cuts, visit the ACEH website Advocacy Page

  • “I oppose the Governor’s vetoes to Housing and Homeless Services.  I encourage you to vote to overturn his vetoes on BHAP, SNHG, HSCMG and CIMGP.  Anchorage receives $5 million in funding through these programs and served nearly 5,000 people through programs last year.  Ending these programs will directly impact all of Anchorage by limiting services and increasing the number of those experiencing homelessness by an estimated 40%.  Thank you for your time.”  
    Send an email to all Legislators now.  

 

  Homeless Service Budget Cuts in the News (from ACEH):
“Dunleavy budget veto cuts services to the homeless statewide, hitting Anchorage hardest”; Anchorage Daily News (ADN)
Alaskans Rally to Support Homeless Services“, KTVA
Why NAACP Anchorage Opposes Gov. Dunleavy’s Vetoes“; ADN
Letter: Who’s Really Missing“; ADN
Keep Alaska’s Economy Strong. Override the vetoes“; ADN

From Anchorage Coalition to end Homelessness
  7 Ways Gov. Dunleavy’s Vetoes Will Increase Homelessness   Statewide
1. Fewer emergency shelter, medical respite and rapid rehousing programs means more hospital emergency room visits, police and fire calls.
Supportive housing costs $51 per day
Prison stays cost $142 per day
Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) stays cost $1,100 per day
One month of funding for supportive housing saves $32,519 per person as opposed to API hospitalization.
           Source: Alaska Housing Finance Corporation
2. Women and Children shelters may reduce operations from 24 hours to overnight only or scale back services offered.
What does that mean?These shelters offer child support and resources so women fleeing domestic violence can re-enter the workforce without worrying about their children’s safety. Now women, children and babies will have nowhere to go in the daytime.
Women will have a harder time rejoining the workforce and reaching self-sufficiency.
How many people does this affect?Last year, more than 1,500 people used domestic violence support services.
More than 500 clients were actively fleeing domestic violence.
         Source: ICA 2018 Alaska Racial Disparity
3.  RurAL CAP funding has been reduced by $1,321,801. This means that entire housing programs could be shut down and clients like the one below may be displaced or return to homelessness.
Client story: In 2018, “Jacky” called emergency services 85 times as the number-one utilizer of Anchorage’s emergency services. Jacky has been experiencing homelessness for years and frequently spent nights in the emergency room or at the sleep-off center due to physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. Jacky was referred to Karluk Manor, a permanent supportive housing program operated by RurAL CAP to serve low-income and homeless individuals affected by chronic alcoholism.  Jacky has now been stably housed for three months. She is currently working with case managers on harm-reduction techniques and developing healthy recreation activities.  Since moving in, she has called emergency services three times—an 85 percent reduction.  
4. Five of the seven shelters in Anchorage will significantly reduce services, which means the most vulnerable will be forced on the streets—to camp or seek unsafe shelter options.
AWAIC – Women and Children Fleeing Domestic Violence
Brother Francis Shelter – All Populations
Clare House – Women and Children
Covenant House – Youth ages 13-21
McKinnell House- Families with Children
5. With cuts to early childhood education, food pantries and Medicaid funding, more than 17,400 low-income families in Alaska will have to decide between paying rent or food. These at-risk families could be pushed into homelessness.     Source: 2019 Alaska Housing Profile                                                      
6. State funding to Anchorage Day Services was slashed. This means fewer safe spaces for those experiencing homelessness, which means more people will be forced to camp.                                                                                       
7. If $18.20 was deducted from each permanent fund dividend, the money vetoed from homeless services could be restored. For less than $20 from each PFD, 11,000 Alaskans could access services to exit homelessness.         Source: Will Muldoon

 4 Ways You Can Take Action to Override the Vetoes 
1. Contact your Legislators — Contact Information for all Anchorage Legislators is Available Here. 

Example statement: “I oppose the Governor’s vetoes to Housing and Homeless Services.  I encourage you to vote to overturn his vetoes on; BHAP, SNHG, HSCMG and CIMGP.  Anchorage receives $5 million in funding through these programs and served nearly 5,000 people through programs last year.  Ending these programs will directly impact all of Anchorage by limiting services and increasing the number of those experiencing homelessness by an estimated 40%.  Thank you for your time.” 

2. Contact Legislators who are on the fence about overturning the vetoes.  There are 7 legislators who are currently undecided: 

Rep. Mark Neuman / Phone: 907-376-2679 / rep.mark.neuman@akleg.gov / District 8 Big Lake
Rep. Sara Rasmussen / Phone: 907-269-0234 / rep.sara.rasmussen@akleg.gov / District 22 Anchorage (Sand Lake)
Rep. Laddie Shaw / Phone: 907-269-0199 / rep.laddie.shaw@akleg.gov / District 26 South Anchorage
Rep. Kelly Merrick / Phone: 907-465-3777 rep.kelly.merrick@akleg.gov / District 14 Eagle River
Rep. Josh Revak / Phone: 907-269-0222 / rep.josh.revak@akleg.gov / District 25 Anchorage (Abbott Loop)
Rep. Dave Talerico / Phone: 907-451-2818 / rep.dave.talerico@akleg.gov/ District 6 Healy
Sen. David Wilson / Phone: 907-376-4866 / sen.david.wilson@akleg.gov / District D Wasilla
3.  Use #akleg and #SaveOurState on social media.  Add the #SaveOurState frame to your Facebook profile picture by searching #SaveOurState on Facebook

4. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors to contact their Legislators.  These cuts disproportionately target Alaska’s most vulnerable residents, but every member of our community will be affected by the reduction in services.  5 of the 7 emergency shelters in Anchorage will be forced to immediately reduce capacity or services, which will undoubtedly increase unsheltered homelessness around the city. 

For more talking points on the estimated impacts check-out the ACEH Advocacy Website

If you have any questions please email: tdonovan@anchoragehomeless.org or call 907-343-6371.  

Barriers 
As L.A.’s homelessness crisis grows, residents are increasingly erecting walls, fences and even planter boxes full of prickly flora in public spaces to deter the presence of homeless people. LA Times

California community colleges don’t want homeless students sleeping on campus
Nearly 20 California community colleges and community college districts are opposing a proposed law that would let homeless community college students sleep overnight in campus parking lots.
Their formal opposition to the bill marks a significant change in tone and strategy for those college districts, which previously did not take a stance on the proposal but raised concerns that it could expose them to tens of millions of dollars new charges for security, maintenance and liability costs. Sacramento Bee

The United Tent Cities of America
I viscerally remember a particular protest I participated in with Portland Tenants United that involved using tents as a symbol of the impending homelessness that will result if the landlords keep on raising the rent the way they’ve been doing. It’s a common, useful symbol, that communicates well in a picture, a tent. But there was that one protest when a bunch of actually homeless teenagers asked us, “what are you going to do with those tents when you’re done?”
Popular Resistance.org

Trump believes the ‘filth’ of homelessness is ‘destroying a whole way of life’
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, President Donald Trump claimed that sanctuary cities and increased homelessness are “destroying a whole way of life,” adding, “It’s not our country. It’s not what our country is all about.” During the interview, which aired Monday night, Trump was asked whether U.S. cities have more “filth,” which both Carlson and Trump appeared to understand was a metaphor not for trash but for people living on the streets. Trump claimed this homelessness problem only started two years ago and bemoaned that “police officers are getting sick just by walking the beat.”  Thinkprogress.org

L.A. agreed to let homeless people keep their skid row belongings. That could change
Since settling a 2016 lawsuit, L.A. has been restricted from tossing homeless people’s personal property. Now, property owners and residents of shelters on Skid Row are going to court, saying the settlement has brought rats and disease. LA Times

HOMELESS TRANS AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE ARE UNSHELTERED AT HIGHER RATES
The Alliance’s analysis of 2018 Point-in-Time homelessness counts was published to look at how different demographic groups experience homelessness.  Sojourners (sojo.net)

San Francisco homeless count goes from bad to worse, jumping 30% from 2017
San Francisco’s new point-in-time count of its homeless population shows a 30% increase from 2017, when the last count took place.
LA Times

Almost a third of the homeless population in L.A. County lives in their cars
Some Westside residents experiencing homelessness have found shelter in vans rented from the same Venice “vanlord,” who owns about 14 vans in the area: “Local homelessness experts said a vehicle rental business like [Gary] Gallerie’s is unprecedented, but not surprising in a region where a renter has to make triple the minimum wage to afford the median monthly rent of about $2,500.”
Santa Monica Daily Press 

Week of June 24, 2019
Regular Angelenos step up amid a homelessness crisis
The late Fred Rogers famously told his television neighbors that when he would see terrible things happening as a boy, his mother would say to him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” “I feel wonderful. God, I can’t tell you,” Susan Samuelson said, sitting outside a Silver Lake church in a fresh set of clothes, with a plate of Mediterranean food from a restaurant balanced on the chair next to her. The 60-year-old has been living on the streets for about a decade. She had just taken her first real shower in “years” in a mobile shower set up in the church parking lot. Samuelson was one of more than 35 Angelenos who received a clean shower, a hot meal and access to a service provider at last weekend’s Saturday Supper, a regular event organized by the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition.  LA Times Essential California

L.A.’s chief auditor urges transparency over city’s use of Prop. HHH homeless funds
Citing the results of the 2019 homeless count, L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin on Wednesday urged leaders to more closely look at what’s happening to available public dollars targeted to combat the problem, which has been cascading across the city. “Angelenos need to know where their money is going and deserve better results,” Galperin said in a statement reminding the public of his office’s first analysis of Proposition HHH spending in his recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.   LA Daily News

10 Ways a Moral Budget Would Save the United States Money
We often highlight, here at Inequality.org, the grossest unjust contrasts in our U.S. economy: the luxury condos near encampments of homeless people, the CEO pay that skyrockets while the minimum wage stagnates. What would our economic order look like without those injustices? How can we go about building that economy? A new report from the Poor People’s Campaign and the Institute for Policy Studies brings us closer to an answer. The report, Poor People’s Moral Budget: Everybody has the Right to Live, offers up a way to imagine the social transformation we so desperately need.  Inequality Weekly

Grim New Report Shows Rent Is Unaffordable In Every State
Plenty of evidence shows how widespread and devastating America’s housing crisis is, but perhaps none quite as starkly as this: There’s not a single state, metropolitan area or county in the U.S. where a full-time worker earning the minimum wage can afford the rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment.These figures come from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report, published in June, which for 30 years has documented the gap between renters’ earnings and rental costs across the country.  HuffPost

Removal of homeless camps trebles in the UK as charities warn of ‘out of control’ crisis
The number of homeless camps forcibly removed by councils across the UK has more than trebled in five years, figures show, prompting campaigners to warn that the rough sleeping crisis is out of control and has become an entrenched part of life in the country. Tents, cardboard structures and a garden shed were among the hundreds of homeless encampments torn down by local authorities in the last five years, with the number of tent city clearances rising from 72 in 2014 to 254 last year. The Guardian

2019 Housing & Homelessness ConferenceNovember 5-6, Fairbanks, AK. The Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness will host its annual conference on November 5-6, 2019 at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel & Conference Center. In addition to the conference, AKCH2 will be working with the Fairbanks Housing & Homeless Coalition to organize opportunities for attendees to tour and learn about their local agencies and organizations.
See more here.

Week of June 10, 2019
Let’s make good out of the latest homelessness flap

It’s good that a new debate has sparked an active conversation about Alaska’s homelessness problem. We need that conversation. A decade ago, Alaska had the beginning of a plan that would have done what the evidence says works. Today, we’re seeing the effects of not passing it. ADN Op Ed

Homelessness on the rise in Anchorage schools
The number of homeless students in the Anchorage School District has grown by 38 percent from this time last year, and large increases have also been recorded in the Fairbanks and Matanuska-Susitna Borough districts. Social service providers and school district administrators attribute the jump in homeless students to one factor in particular: families from the Lower 48 moving to Alaska in search of higher-paying jobs. “There’s a lot of people coming up searching for a better way of living,” said Susan Bomalaski, executive director of Catholic Social Services. “They have enough money for a week in a hotel, and then what do you do?” ADN

Week of June 3, 2019
There’s a Way to Connect Homeless People With Loved Ones – And You Can Be A Part of It
People Experiencing Homelessness Are Often Disconnected From Their Loved Ones. Through Recorded Messages, The Non=Profit Miracle Messages Offers A Chance For Those Individuals To Reconnect. Nationswell

2019 Anchorage Point-In-Time Homelessness Survey Data Now Available
The PIT Count is a snapshot of everyone who was experiencing homelessness on January 22, 2019 and only representative of individuals on that one night.  Over the next year, ACEH’s goal is to enhance data collection and reporting to provide a comprehensive view of those experiencing homelessness in Anchorage. This past winter Anchorage increased shelter capacity, and it was used, but emergency shelter is a temporary solution. The goal must be permanent housing.  This is not a political issue; it is a humanitarian and financial issue.  Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness

The homeless count in Juneau is holding steady
Every year, Juneau conducts a federally-required count of homeless individuals. Results from the 2019 Point in Time count, which occurred on Jan. 22, show homelessness numbers, overall, are stable and slightly lower than they’ve been since 2016. KINY Radio 94.9

This Newspaper Hired Homeless People To Report Its Stories — And Changed Their Lives
Street Sense Media Was Founded With One Mission: Empower People Experiencing Homelessness And Change Perceptions Of Homeless Communities. Nationswell

HUD Moves to Allow Anti-Trans Discrimination in Federally Funded Homeless Shelters
On May 27, 32019, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a proposal today to roll back protections for transgender people experiencing homelessness, allowing taxpayer-funded shelters to turn away transgender people experiencing homelessness based on a number of factors, including the shelter provider’s religious views. Common Dreams and ACLU

Week of May 13, 2019
Man opens his $4 million home to homeless Oakland couple—police keep getting called
Alameda County resident, Terrence McGrath in Piedmont, California. read about a middle-aged couple sleeping in a building doorway.  The story moved McGrath enough to make a courageous decision – he decided to find the two and open his home up to them.  Daily Kos

Vandals broke into his food truck for the homeless, but he continues to give back
There’s been an outpouring of support from the community after learning a mobile food truck that serves the homeless in Anchorage was vandalized.  Seventy-nine-year-old Cheong Kim continues to work as a custodian while operating “Mr. Kim’s Food Truck” with limited resources. Kim has operated the food truck for 16 years, until a setback on April 26. Vandals broke into the truck. All of the food inside was stolen, and even some gas was siphoned out of the tank.

Week of April 22, 2019
At Anchorage library, pilot program connects patrons to social services
On a sunny spring afternoon at the Loussac Library: people sip drinks in the cafe, rummage through the stacks on the second and third floors and lounge in chairs next to big picture windows. Then a voice comes over the intercom: Rebecca Barker, the library’s new full-time community resource coordinator.“Good afternoon Loussac Library!” she said. “If you are looking to move out, get your own place, leave shelter or change your housing for any reason, come join us at Housing Lab. Work one-on-one or independently in our weekly workspace, until 5 p.m. in the Salmon Room.”

Information about local housing, employment, food and health resources on display at Anchorage’s Loussac Library on April 9, 2019. The housing lab — a free public workshop held Mondays from 2-5 p.m. — is part of an ongoing library pilot program seeking to connect library patrons in need with local housing, food, employment, health care and other resources. APRN 

The effort to end homelessness
Talk of Alaska”s host Lori Townsend speaks with Jasmine Khan, Executive Director, Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness and Lisa Aquino, Executive Director, Catholic Social Services about how having a safe home is fundamental for emotional and physical wellbeing. The annual point in time homelessness count for Alaska has for years revealed that about 2000 people across the state, do not have their own home. This includes families with children, teenagers, veterans and others. Is it possible to get to zero? APRN – Talk of Alaska

The Austin Community Solving Community Homelessness
Mobile Loaves & Fishes is an organization with a new approach to tackling homelessness – putting community first. Their Community First! Village provides affordable, long-term housing for the chronically homeless. They find through housing and a community that emphasizes respect and relationships, chronically homeless individuals are able to finally heal from trauma and begin to thrive, work, and live better lives. Social entrepreneur Alan Graham started Mobile Loaves & Fishes in 1998 when he bought a food truck to feed homeless people in Austin, Texas. But that was just the beginning. Now his organization has grown to include a 51-acre community of tiny homes, craft shops, auto repair businesses and even an organic farm. The “Community First!” Village is unique, and provides an example of how innovative solutions can be used to transform the lives of even those with the largest barriers to overcome. In this short documentary, we interview Alan Graham and speak with Community First! Village resident Tracy about her story. We also talk to Mobile Loaves & Fishes President and Chief Goodness Officer Amber Fogarty about what makes their approach unique and successful. 
 
A Platform That Helps Low-Income Americans Find Affordable Housing
When Caroline Caselli was a social worker  in San Francisco working with homeless families not long ago, she noticed something odd. “They were getting pulled off the affordable housing list much more often than people who were already in stable housing,” she says. What she discovered was that, while property managers were required to contact people on that all-important list every year, those individuals who didn’t respond were simply removed from the roster. Of course, that made it really hard for homeless people, who generally lacked a way of receiving those notifications. “It was crazy,” says Caselli. Also many property managers didn’t want to accept online applications, to avoid potential additional compliance steps. Forbes

NYC Is Paying for Thousands of Homeless Families to Move Out of the City
As part of its effort to reduce all-time record homelessness in the five boroughs, the de Blasio administration has paid 2,300 New Yorkers to move out of the city over the past year and a half. The Special One-Time Assistance program gives qualified homeless families a year of rent paid upfront in order to help get them out of the shelter system and back on their feet. Figures from the Department of Homeless Services show that 3,539 families have enrolled in the program since it was introduced in late 2017. They can use the money, paid directly to the landlord of the building where they move, to move inside or outside the city, but 65 percent of them have moved out of the city — many to New Jersey, where apartments are more affordable. WNYC

Week of February 4, 2019
Cities Across US Are Stripping Homeless People of Their Autonomy
One of the world’s richest cities is waging war on disabled and homeless people. In February 2018, an unsigned flyer was posted in San Francisco’s Mission District, warning the homeless: “If you are still here after dark tonight, the hunters will become the hunted. We will pound you, burn you, beat you, and fuck you up if you are within a 100 yards of this park starting after sun down tonight.” The flyer was eventually tied to Jason Perkins, a local club owner. In its everyday practice, the government of San Francisco sides with Perkins as it routinely dumpsters homeless peoples’ tents (famously reprimanding a city worker who refused to throw them away); builds “hostile” architecture to discourage poor people from spending time in public spaces; and uses water hoses on those who don’t move along quickly enough. The city’s latest weapon against the homeless is a law that recalls the era of insane asylums. In San Francisco and other major metro areas across the country, governments are pressing pause on disabled and homeless peoples’ ability to make the most basic of decisions, through a scheme called “conservatorship.” Truthout.org

Anchorage Project Homeless Connect
Unlike larger cities in the Lower 48, we have noticeably visible homeless encampments are seen from parks and green belts. Panhandlers are often seen from street intersections during the summer, winter, and even during harsh weather conditions. Depending on who you ask, addressing the issues of homelessness is not only complex it is difficult topic to discuss. There are a lot of misconceptions. Also, more than many want to admit, could face being homeless from an unfortunate circumstance such as a job loss, poor health, violence at home, or forced eviction from an emergency like the recent 7.0 earthquake. Anchorage Press

It can happen here: Don’t stigmatize homelessness
My sister, Brianna, was already trapped in a terrible tragedy long before her death. She was a street person, drifting between couch-surfing, institutionalization, and homelessness. Brianna had run-ins with the law and sometimes sold drugs to get by. From time to time, she would be on my family’s doorstep, but only for brief periods of time before she either was evicted or left of her own accord. Brianna was one of many people, many of whom are either young or elderly, who could not get access to the quality of help she needed. We can blame her own personal choices, her environment or the society she lived in. But she no matter the circumstances, she was a patient for treatment that was not available. ADN Opinion

Prevention for homelessness
Hailing from Geelong, Australia, a new approach to tackling youth homelessness is headed to Seattle. The key steps to this program is identifying, through school surveys, the students most at risk for homelessness, and help them. “We’re not going to end youth homelessness without actually keeping young people from coming into homelessness in the first place,” says Casey Trupin, of the Seattle-based Raikes Foundation, which is aiding the effort. Seattle Times

Path to permanent housing rocky
In an attempt to help low-income families be more successful, Share, the nonprofit managing the major shelters in town, has made some changes. It’s eliminated the 90-day limit on family shelter stays, allowing families to stay at shelters for longer periods, done away with blood alcohol and urine tests, added staff and relaxed rules.
Project Columbian

Week of December 31, 2018
Emergency Cold Weather Shelter for Families
For the first time this winter, no individuals have to sleep out in the cold in Anchorage.  When the weather started turning cold in this past fall, shelter capacity was exceeded. Many individuals with no place to go were sleeping in tent camps or other places outside in freezing temperatures. United Way, the Municipality of Anchorage, Bean’s Café, Downtown Soup Kitchen, and Catholic Social Services have been coordinating for the past few months to ensure that no individuals have to sleep out in the cold. Cold Weather Shelter support for individuals is in addition to the family overnight support available at local churches from October thru May.

Week of December 24, 2018
Bergen County Ended Chronic Homelessness, So Can Every Other Community
Julia Orlando, the symposium’s key note speaker, walked up to the podium and declared that Bergan County, New Jersey—which she serves as the Executive Director of the Housing, Health and Human Services Center—had ended chronic homelessness in 2017.

Let’s Rise
If we can put our judgment aside, we will feel our humanity. I remember a recent time when I was driving a guest through Anchorage and we passed a cluster of people on the corner of Northern Lights and Spenard who held handwritten, cardboard signs, asking for money. He remarked, “I don’t give money to homeless people because they just spend it on alcohol anyway.”

This got me thinking. I once had similar sentiments. First, I had to get over the judgment of criticizing anyone for something I did as well. “But I don’t have a problem with drinking,” he said, when I suggested trying to reframe the situation. I say that maybe if he had no home, had lost his family, was cold and hungry, maybe he would. Maybe he would take comfort wherever he could.
Anchorage Press

And Now We Rise, a documentary on Samuel Johns and Forgetmenots
Affinity Films has released a documentary on Samuel Johns of Alaska, and all the work he has done with his nonprofit Forget Me Nots.This is a powerful documentary about the life-changing work of Samuel Johns, an Athabascan hip hop artist, and the Forget Me Not project which uses social media to unite rural Alaskan homeless currently stranded in Anchorage with family members back home- in a message of sobriety, hope and life. See the trailer at Powwows.com.

Celebrating Invisible People’s 10th Year Anniversary with Stories from the Early Days
Mark Horvath recounts how he started his Invisible People program and began documenting the lives of homeless people on video.

Week of November 19, 2018
Central Lutheran Church hosts a public meeting on homelessness and behavioral health, “Caring for Our Neighbors” Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 7 PM, followed by a reception, at Central Lutheran Church.  Our local organizing ministry is a part of Anchorage Faith & Action – Congregations Together (AFACT).  Please join us as we discuss how Anchorage can best care for our homeless neighbors.  We will have Anchorage Assembly member Felix Rivera and Mayor Ethan Berkowitz join us for the discussion.

Week of November 12, 2018
Mayor proposes alcohol tax for Anchorage homelessness and substance abuse treatment services
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to ask voters to enact a 5 percent retail sales tax on alcohol that he says could pay for homelessness and substance abuse services at a time of declining state support.  A local alcohol tax would generate a pool of money to pay for a range of public health and safety programs, including the clearing of illegal camps, housing, a substance abuse treatment center and an expanded Anchorage Safety Patrol, according to a memo to the Anchorage Assembly.  ADN

Austin’s Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors
Community First! Village, a 27-acre master planned community just outside Austin, Texas, is where more than 200 people who were once chronically homeless live in tiny homes and RVs. Everyone who lives at Community First! pays rent, ranging from $225 to $430 per month; many residents are employed on-site.  CityLab

The Homeless Can’t Escape San Francisco’s Smoke-Ridden Air
The deadliest fire in California’s history continues to burn, and San Francisco is filled with smoke and ash. On Tuesday, for the fifth day in a row, air throughout Northern California contained high amounts of fine-particulate-matter pollution, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District warned that the air was unhealthy for everyone. “The public should limit outdoor activity as much as possible,” the agency said Monday, urging residents to stay inside with their windows and doors closed.  The Atlantic

Week of November 5, 2018
Tiny houses catch on in war on homelessness
Thirteen tiny houses sit in neat rows on the small plot of land in south Kansas City. There’s a comforting uniformity to the group, each structure a simple A-frame or slant roof, painted a rich hue: deep blue or dark maroon, slate gray or mustard yellow. An American flag flies outside most of the homes.  The lives inside also match. The men and women here have all served their country in uniform. And every one of them was homeless before arriving this year and being given their own address and key.  adn.com via WaPo

The Story of Karen
After working a factory shift as a temp, a former addict meets a homeless woman on the bus home. His act of kindness shifted her anger, left others in tears, and transformed his own life.  KindSpring.org

Week of October 29, 2018
Nashville Barbers Offer Homeless Free Haircuts And Sense Of Community
A group of Nashville barbers wants to make sure everyone gets a chance to look and feel good. So they’re offering the homeless a haircut and a sense of community.
Nashville Public Radio

First Ever Review of Arts and Homelessness in North America
With One Voice Chair Cllr Beth Knowles spent 6 weeks researching the sector in USA and Canada in Oct/Nov 2016. She met and interviewed over 60 people in the sector, including arts and homelessness projects, policy-makers, arts organisations, venues, homeless agencies and people with a lived experience of homelessness particularly focussing on Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland (OR), Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, Toronto, Montréal and New York City.  With One Voice also published a North American Review of Arts and Homelessness in April 2017, which showed a highly passionate and effective yet fragmented, under-resourced sector with project desperate to connect with one another. With One Voice

Week of October 22, 2018
Searching for homelessness solutions
There was a special meeting on homelessness at Central Lutheran Church on Oct. 16.  It added a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly Homeless Committee, which enabled a dialogue with a larger community than the daytime meetings allow.  The homeless discussion has been going on in Anchorage for many years and will probably never be completely solved, but we can do better.

There were several statements that stood out to me that were more important than most. One was by John Rodda, Director of Parks and Recreation, when he said the parks department would provide trash bags to the homeless. The other was by Nancy Burke, Municipal Homeless and Housing Coordinator, who said we need restrooms.  ADN op ed

Veterans Affairs Secretary tours Anchorage homeless veterans event
The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs toured an annual Anchorage event that connects homeless veterans with social services.  “We have to do a better job finding those veterans in rural parts of this state who are hard to get to and get them into our VA system,“ said Secretary Robert Wilkie, who is now at the helm of the VA.Bernard Shavings, an Alaska Native Navy veteran who has experienced homelessness in the past, echoed that sentiment.  He said it’s more complicated serving people in the villages because of long travel distances.  Wilkie spoke about some of the successes the VA has had in Alaska, saying the state is “the template” for changes at the department, including testing out the new electronic health record. KTUU

Week of October 8, 2018
Special Assembly Committee on Homelessness Meeting 
Anchorage Assembly Member Felix Rivera is hosting a special meeting of the Assembly Committee on Homelessness on Tuesday, October 16th at Central Lutheran Church located at 1420 Cordova St. in downtown Anchorage.  During this meeting we will focused on reviewing recommendations from a group of citizens on how to best bring relief to the issue of homelessness here in Anchorage. Your input is critical to building a plan that works for Anchorage.

Week of September 10, 2018

Strategic Plan to Solve Homelessness in Anchorage: 2018-2021
Public Feedback Meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Wilda Marsten Theatre in the Z.J. Loussac Public Library.   No RSVP required.

Meet the married retirees pushing Anchorage to change homeless policy
A group of residents in Anchorage is organizing to change the city’s response to homelessness. They say the current approach is too narrowly focused on long-term housing, and has allowed lawless camps to persist along popular trails. The frustration has turned once sleepy public meetings into increasingly contentious events. And one couple is at the center of the efforts.

19-year-old sneaks into Anchorage tunnel and sets up apartment, with a table and a cat
A 19-year-old snuck into an abandoned tunnel near an elementary school in downtown Anchorage and set up a tidy makeshift apartment, complete with a table and chairs, a mattress and a black cat, officials said.  City officials discovered the dwelling Thursday after a pedestrian walking nearby complained about odors and trash. By Friday morning, the place had been cleaned out and locked up/  ADN.com

D.C. Everest School Board presented with homeless report
With just a few weeks to go before the start of classes, the D.C. Everest School District board met Wednesday night/ Board members and the public were updated on several things including homelessness in the district. Two school social workers were at the meeting, to talk about the issue of homelessness and what it looked like during the past school year. They said there were 130 homeless students, and about 30 in the foster care system.

Massive L.A. stopgap shelter push to begin
The first of 15 temporary shelters for homeless people planned by the city of Los Angeles is scheduled to open Monday as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s campaign to replace problematic encampments. The project, A Bridge Home, aims to serve hundreds of people through the facilities, with a total cost that could reach $75 million.
LA Times

Massive L.A. stopgap shelter push to begin
The first of 15 temporary shelters for homeless people planned by the city of Los Angeles is scheduled to open Monday as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s campaign to replace problematic encampments. The project, A Bridge Home, aims to serve hundreds of people through the facilities, with a total cost that could reach $75 million.
LA Times

City of Anchorage buys property directly opposite main homeless shelter
The city of Anchorage bought two lots across the street from Anchorage’s downtown homeless shelter last week — a first step in buying out a businessman who has filed lawsuits and complained for years that the shelter and nearby soup kitchen have hurt his business.  Eventually, the plan is for the businessman, auctioneer Ron Alleva, to sell all his land in the area to the city, including the auction yard right next to Brother Francis Shelter. The properties may be developed for expanded services for the homeless, such as housing, said Robin Ward, the city’s chief housing officer.  ADN

We must end illegal camping in Anchorage. In the meantime, let’s make it less dangerous
Encampments are intolerable. They are inhumane places for humans to have to sleep when they have no alternatives. It is hard to know how many campers have no alternatives and how many chose to camp. We do know that camps have grown in numbers and size. Campers on land not intended for camping create tons of waste and create hazardous public health and safety conditions affecting them, the public and park lands and waterways.  Camp abatement, however, is not the sole action that the municipality is required by law to take. In addition to internally aligning and creating a clear plan to eliminate illegal camps within the bounds of the law, the municipality has a duty in the interim to reduce camp impact and entrenchment. OpEd ADN – by Stephanie Rhoades, a retired District Court Judge who lives downtown. She started one of the first Mental Health Courts in the United States in 1992 in Anchorage. She serves on the Board of Anchorage Community Mental Health Services and is the lead food coordinator for Project Homeless Connect.

THIS PROGRAM HELPS HOMELESS STUDENTS STAY IN SCHOOL
During the 2016-17 school year, over 111,500 students in New York City experienced homelessness at some point. For the past decade, S.I.M.B.A — which stands for “Safe in my Brothers Arms” — has been helping that same population overcome their struggles with homelessness.  Operated by NYC’s Department of Education, S.I.M.B.A. offers academic resources, extracurricular activities and college- and career-readiness training to a current class of 50 young men. In 2008, it launched a sister organization, A.S.E.T. — or “All Sisters Evolving Together” — to serve female high school students. This year, A.S.E.T serves a cohort of 38 young women.
  Nation Swell

Week of August 13, 2018

Setting the bar on homelessness
1,100. That’s the approximate number of people experiencing homelessness in Anchorage today, according to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and members of the municipal government. On the one hand, that’s not many: It’s barely one of every 300 residents, about one-third of 1 percent of the population. On the other, it’s a great many: enough to pack the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium to capacity and still have 200 waiting outside.  ADN Editorial Board

Connecting the homeless 
He was homeless, missing some teeth, and asking for food in an Arizona desert town. Patience Matthieu thought he looked a bit like her cousin. She got him canned goods and offered to give him some money. What was his story? After a while, he told her his name. She looked him up online—and found that his mom had been searching for him for years. “Christopher, my heart is broken without you,” a page with his name from a Facebook community called Missing & Homeless said at the top. “Please call me & let me know you are alive. Love, mom.” Matthieu called the number on the page, and told the woman on the other end: “I have found your son.” Christian Moreland is just one of about 45 missing people tracked down through the “Missing & Homeless” Facebook group, which has grown to 43,000 members in the past three years. Washington Post

San Francisco navigation centers welcome the shelter-shy
A navigation center providing housing and services to homeless people opened in San Francisco last week, and the city plans to create two more. The centers are less rigid alternatives to conventional shelters, which are shunned by many in need because of strict rules such as bans on partners and pets. Socialwork Smart Brief

Tech giants join Seattle mayor to attack big problems
Seattle is mobilizing its tech industry to study social issues such as homelessness and to develop data-driven solutions. Executives from Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft and others will serve on the Innovation Advisory Council created last week by Mayor Jenny Durkan.  Socialwork Smart Brief

Essential California Weekend
The Santa Ana riverbed was the largest homeless encampment in Orange County. It swelled with hundreds of residents — with men and women whose teeth were decayed from drug use, their skin bronzed by the blistering sun. They napped during the day and tried to stay awake at night to guard their few belongings. The acrid, skunky smell of pot filled the air, riding the scent of grilled burgers and human waste. Then it was cleared by the county earlier this year, and for one couple who were forced from the riverbed into temporary motel living — the road ahead looms empty, filled with hunger, loneliness and drugs. Los Angeles Times

Plus: After moving from the riverbed to a motel, a homeless couple find themselves in a new kind of “prison.” Los Angeles Times

ICYMI: Living in a beat-up Jeep after mounting hardship, a homeless veteran and his wife cling to hope, waiting for a place to call home. Los Angeles Times

Week of July 30, 2018
Homeless People Suffer the Most Amid Record-Setting Heat
It is a well-documented fact that freezing temperatures cause immense harm to homeless people. But, according to several Washington, D.C., homeless advocates, the ill effects of extremely hot weather can sometimes be even worse. “Extreme hot temperatures don’t tend to get as much attention in cities as cold weather,” said Megan Hustings, director of National Coalition for the Homeless. Hustings also said people care for their own comfortability and don’t think how much harder it is for the homeless to take precautions. Sojourners

Week of July 23, 2018
In Los Angeles, Being Retirement-Age and Homeless
Los Angles is in the throes of a homeless crisis, with nearly 40,000 people sleeping in the streets each night. America’s homeless population is aging. In Los Angeles alone this year, there was a 22 percent increase in homeless individuals above the age of 62. Rising rents and stagnant income may have contributed to the surge. But the standard resources available to the homeless in L.A. often don’t accommodate the needs of older people. That presents a challenge for city officials already dealing with a homelessness crisis. The Takeaway

An experiment to house the homeless
Public money alone won’t come close to solving L.A.’s housing crisis. Can private developers come to the rescue? A new development in South L.A. might answer that question. Its backers, led by a family-owned Westside real estate investment company, hope to replicate it to produce thousands of units financed entirely by people willing to accept a modest return on money invested in a socially beneficial purpose. Los Angeles Times

— On Thursday, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority unveiled the Homeless Outreach Portal. At last, there will be one place for every call for help to go and one system to get it into the right hands. It’s not a telephone number, but an internet address. Los Angeles Times

— San Francisco might tax companies to help the homeless. CNBC  
All three of these stories via the LA Times’ 
Essential California, A roundup of the stories shaping California

Week of July 9, 2018
Housing for health
Over 1.5 million Americans experience homelessness in any given year.  They face numerous health risks and are disproportionately represented among the highest users of costly hospital-based acute care.  Homelessness is like a rash—there are many causes: some easy to treat and some quite difficult. Providing supportive housing is one way to treat homelessness that can potentially improve health, reduced costs, and decrease hospital utilization. Line One: Your Health Connection co-host Dr. Jay Butler and his guests, Dr. Monica Gross and Dr. Dick Mandsager discuss Housing for Health.  alaskapublic.org

How a mother’s fierce advocacy saved a mentally ill veteran from the streets
In February, Katrin Haugh heard from the Veterans Administration that her severely mentally ill son would be “transitioned” from a treatment facility to the Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission. She said a VA representative assured her the mission is a nice place. Another said it gets excellent results with veterans. But when she emailed the mission, Pastor John LaMantia informed her it is a homeless shelter with a 30-day maximum stay and no medical program to support a veteran like her son. “I am glad your son is not on the streets as are so many veterans,” LaMantia wrote. “I have a problem with this because the fact is they DID serve the country and should be taken care of far beyond what they are.” adn.com

Los Angeles assessing homeless shelter sites
The Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously to start assessing sites for planned homeless shelters amid protests over one possible location. At least $20 million has been allocated for a plan to place a temporary shelter in each district.
San Diego Union Tribune

Social worker: “Street medicine” should have larger role in housing efforts
Street medicine — meeting and diagnosing chronically homeless people with mental illness where they live — must be given a larger role in housing efforts in many cities, Atlanta social worker Franco Bejarano writes. “The reality is that a lot of the mental health models designed to help those caught in this situation do not work in institutionalized settings.” Social Work Today, Social Work SmartBrief

Shelters, hospitals ‘playing ping pong’ with Philadelphia’s homeless, sick population
On the afternoon of June 12, an ambulance sent by Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus pulled up to Station House, a shelter for homeless men, with the kind of passenger Michael Hinson has come to dread. Hinson noticed a disturbing pattern soon after he became president of SELF Inc., the organization that runs Station House and six other shelters, a year ago.  Some hospitals seemed to be trying to circumvent city rules by sending Station House weak and sick patients after 4 p.m., when a City of Philadelphia office that decides if people are well enough for shelters closes for the day. By ambulance, cab, and Uber, people would go from hospitals to Station House, which provides nighttime shelter intake for single men. philly.com, Social Work SmartBrief

Dignity and common sense: Solving homelessness a community priority
For many years, my younger sister was a homeless person wandering the streets of Anchorage. She suffered from a long history of mental and neurological illness, and substance abuse eventually became her coping mechanism. It was very difficult for me to imagine her circumstances during the many years of seeing only brief figments of her in public, during which she was frequently intoxicated. I did not know how much of her condition was affected by her own conscious choices and how much was beyond her control. I will never have the chance to know either, because she was murdered two summers ago during a nighttime walk down the Ship Creek Trail. adn.com

After His Death on the Street, a San Francisco Tent Resident’s Story Comes Into Focus
A couple months back, I got a heads-up: A man I’d interviewed in early 2016 about his experiences living in a tent on San Francisco’s Division Street had died, possibly of a drug overdose. The man was Perry Foster, a Michigan native who’d lived on the streets or in other extreme circumstances in the city since 2008. His forthrightness and willingness to share his thoughts with a complete stranger made an impression. A few days after we talked, I edited the audio, wrote a short piece describing our meeting, and posted it. Perry and I didn’t cross paths again.
The California Report KQED News 

Week of June 25, 2018
Fight homelessness by helping the homeless
Anchorage is facing the existential crisis of increasing homelessness due to skyrocketing costs of living, less livable area due to climate change and failures in public policy to properly care for our neighbors. Solutions do not lie in committing violence against vulnerable populations. I was horrified reading the news of Ron Alleva  spreading pool chlorine outside the Brother Francis shelter in Fairview. I was even more disgusted to see him and his family defend the actions and cite the deterrence of violence as justification. There is some truth in what he is saying. Conditions in Fairview are horrific. But they are more horrific for those experiencing homelessness. Solutions to poverty, drug addiction and homelessness can never come from a place of wanting to “clean up” a city or an area, because cleanliness is not the issue. ADN.com OpEd

Week of June 18, 2018
What Does Poverty Feel Like?
Imagine this: every year during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 there were nearly four million home foreclosures. In that period, with job losses mounting, nearly 15% of American households were categorized as “food insecure.” To many of those who weren’t foreclosed upon, who didn’t lose their jobs, who weren’t “food insecure,” to the pundits writing about that disaster and the politicians dealing with it, these were undoubtedly distant events. But not to me. For me, it was all up close and personal.  Common Dreams

2018 Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Conference
The next annual conference of the Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness will be on Nov. 1-2, 2018 in Anchorage at the Downtown Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. Online conference registration will open in Summer, 2018.

Meeting of the Anchorage Assembly Committee on Homelessness
NEXT MEETING: Joint Meeting with Public Safety Committee, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room #830 – Agenda

NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS SAY NEW HOMELESS AMERICAN INDIAN & ALASKA NATIVES NOT ACCURATE IN SEATTLE
Seattle’s King County’s annual one-night count of homelessness claims that there is an overall increase across the county. The report also claims that homelessness has declined within the American Indian and Alaska Native community, citing Native people account for three percent of the overall homeless population compared to six percent last year. Officials of several Native organizations that provide services for the Native population do not agree with the figures and fear the low count will result in reduced–much needed–funding.  NativeNewsOnline.net

Week of June 11, 2018
Homelessness in Anchorage is approaching a crisis point
Anchorage has a serious problem with homelessness. That’s not a new development, nor is it news to many who live and work in the area. But the problem has gone unresolved for long enough that it’s festering, and conflicts like the one last week near Bean’s Cafe are a warning of rising tempers surrounding the issue that could result in real harm to Anchorage homeowners, businesses and members of the homeless community. There is no easy answer to turning the problem around. It’s a complicated issue, with many contributing factors: a difficult-to-track transient population that frequently shifts between communities on and off the road system, shortfalls in mental health care, spotty enforcement of laws relating to homelessness, high rates of substance abuse and domestic violence, and the state’s highest-in-the-nation unemployment rate are among them. Dedicated people in Anchorage have made valiant efforts at confronting and abating the issue; without their work, the city would be in straits even more dire than it is now. adn.com

Anchorage wants to declare ‘cleanup zones’ for homeless camps
Under pressure from critics who say Anchorage is too slow to clean up illegal homeless encampments in parks and greenbelts, police and city officials have proposed a way to notice and clean multiple camps from large swaths of public land instead of on an individual basis.  But like previous plans for camp cleanup procedures, the proposal may be headed for legal challenges. adn.com

Business owner says he spread chemicals in one of Anchorage’s gathering places for homeless people. Now police are investigating
Anchorage police said Friday that they’ve opened an investigation after a longtime critic of city homelessness policy claimed responsibility for spreading potentially hazardous chemicals in one of the city’s most popular gathering places for homeless people.
The discovery of the chemical — a type of pool cleaner, calcium hypochlorite — prompted a major response that involved at least three city agencies. Officials said that the incident generated fear and unneeded stress among the already-vulnerable people who frequent the area, as well as for workers at the nearby soup kitchen and homeless shelter that support them.  adn.com

Hazmat team investigates white powder left near Anchorage homeless shelter
White powder left sprinkled in dirt lining the sidewalk near an Anchorage homeless shelter is swimming pool chlorine, according to a man who said he left it there, as a hazardous materials team investigated the substance Thursday evening.
An Anchorage Fire Department hazmat team went to Karluk Street near Third Avenue around 5:45 p.m. Thursday, said Erich Scheunemann, assistant chief of the Anchorage Fire Department. A cleaning product of some kind had been left in the dirt next to the sidewalk, across Third Avenue from Bean’s Cafe and Brother Francis Shelter, the soup kitchen and homeless shelter. adn.com

Week of May 28, 2018
Youth Homelessness in the Millions, as the World Tweets on
All too often Twitter journalism has replaced the coverage of important public policy issues. Take for instance the issue of youth homelessness. According to a late-2017 study by Chapin Hall of the University of Chicago, approximately 4.2 million young people between the ages of 13 and 25 are, at some point, homeless during a given year. That includes one in 30 youth between the ages of 13 and 17. The total number of youth who are homeless in a given year increases, however, when you include children under the age of 13 who are homeless with their families.  Buzzflash/Truthout

 San Francisco’s Homeless Crisis Tests Mayoral Candidates’ Liberal Ideals
In the bluest of blue cities, it can be hard to tell political candidates apart. The four front-runners in the June 5 San Francisco mayoral election, all Democrats, talk about the importance of protecting immigrants and the pernicious effects of income inequality. It goes without saying that they support gay rights, legalized marijuana and more funding for public transportation. And yet on one issue — the roughly 7,000 homeless people and the tent encampments that many of them live in — there are shades of discord. Two of the candidates, London Breed, the current president of the board of supervisors, and Angela Alioto, a past president of the board, speak about using a harder edge when it comes to restoring order to the street. NYT

Week of May 21, 2018
The Anchorage Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) Request for Proposals (RFP) has been released and is posted here: http://anchoragehomeless.org/coc/.  The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH), is accepting applications for Anchorage’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). Applications will be accepted for:

  1. Young Adult Permanent Supportive Housing ONLY

Funding for this effort comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); renewal funding for selected projects will be available through Anchorage’s annual Continuum of Care (CoC) application renewal, ranking and review process.

Application Deadline and Submittal Instructions:

Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation
Affordable housing is vanishing as landlords exploit a broken system, pushing out rent-regulated tenants and catapulting apartments into the free market.  Rent-controlled apartments — seen as the scourge of landlords and the salvation of struggling New Yorkers — are at the center of a housing crisis that has swelled the ranks of the homeless and threatens to squeeze all but the affluent from ever-wider swaths of the city. But even as Mayor Bill de Blasio has made adding more affordable housing a signature pledge of his administration, the system that protects the city’s roughly one million regulated apartments is profoundly broken, a New York Times investigation has found.  NYT

Week of May 14, 2018
Private philanthropy in Midland tries to make up for government shortfalls
Midland, which has only one homeless shelter with 20 beds but 264 homeless people, is resistant to government aid for its needy residents. The median household income in Texas oil country – the Permian Basin – is consistently among the highest in the country at almost $70,000. But not everyone is making that kind of money. Ask people in Midland about the underserved and homeless population, they’ll almost immediately talk about the different boards they’re on and the work their church does to help the less fortunate. And almost everyone agrees they don’t want the state taking their money to help do something they’re perfectly capable of and willing to do. But is it enough? Marketplace.org

Seattle City Council scales back tax to aid homeless amid opposition from Amazon
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a tax on large employers Monday that will aid the city’s homeless residents — but not before slashing the proposal nearly in half over opposition from Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle. Companies that gross $20 million or more a year will now face an annual tax of $275 per employee. That’s down from the original proposed $500 per employee.  ThinkProgress

Week of May 7, 2018
Housing First touted as Fla. county’s homelessness dips
Broward County, Fla., has seen a 5.4% decline in homelessness from last year, according to an annual survey. The county’s head of homelessness programs credits a “Housing First” approach that provides permanent shelter and supportive services, such as drug treatment, to chronically homeless people.  Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel  

Week of April 23, 2018
Housing: Finding a place to live in Southcentral
Finding a place to live in Southcentral Alaska can be hard. Some housing stocks are old. And different populations have different needs, such as seniors, workforce renters, and buyers looking for that first starter home, or to upgrade to a larger house as the family grows. Host Kathleen McCoy invited local government, finance and housing experts to lay out the landscape on housing issues today, and explain strategies underway to ease the need. The discussion touches on issues that can lead to homelessness. Guests included:  Mark Romick, deputy executive director/CEO, Alaska Housing Finance Corp, Robin Ward, Muni chief housing officer, director Real Estate Dept, Heritage Land Bank, Carol Gore, CEO, Cook Inlet Housing Authority.  Hometown, Alaska Alaskapublic.org

Week of April 16, 2018
California Housing Crisis: Working But On The Brink Of Homelessness
In expensive West Coast cities like Los Angeles, there’s a growing number of working people living on the margins — one crisis away from living on the streets due to soaring rents and housing prices. npr.org

We Need a Housing Revolution Now
Here’s an experiment: If you’re not downtown as you read this, go there now and find some homeless people. They probably won’t be hard to find. Now, look at their faces. If you can’t get downtown, look at their photographs online. Now, imagine these same faces – just the faces – without anything to tell you that they’re homeless. They’re not that different than anyone else, are they?  Still, you may notice some differences. There may be more signs of ill health than you would find in a random sampling. There will definitely be more people of color. Homeless people are, in fact, nearly four times more likely to be African American. They are eight times as likely to be Native American. Housing is a national emergency – The housing emergency in this country affects many of us. Nearly half of all renters – 47 percent – are “burdened,” which means they’re paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing. 9.8 million renters are spending between 30 and 50 percent of their income on rent. 11 million renters pay more than 50 percent. While there is racial disparity in homelessness, it knows no boundaries. The rural homeless are “more likely to be white, female, married, currently working, homeless for the first time, and homeless for a shorter period of time.” Half a century ago, the United States committed itself to housing justice. We’re not even close. Common Dreams

Anchorage’s large private landlords team up to provide apartments for the homeless
Anchorage’s largest private property manager and a nonprofit housing authority have forged an unusual partnership to provide apartments, job training and case managers to 40 homeless households, a model they say could be replicated in other states if it’s successful. With a fund of more than a half-million dollars amassed from a wide range of prominent donors, Weidner Apartment Homes and Cook Inlet Housing Authority plan to run a one-year test project that opens up empty apartments to some of the city’s lower-risk homeless adults, young adults and families. “We’re under no illusions we’re going to solve homelessness, but we’re going to do a part that hasn’t been tried before,” said Greg Cerbana, a spokesman for Weidner Apartment Homes and a member of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. housing group. The project will select participants from a list that ranks the city’s homeless by name. Anchorage began compiling the list in 2016 as part of a new national approach to reducing homelessness, using factors like the amount of time spent on the street, critical health conditions and factors like mental illness or substance abuse.  ADN.com

Should California expand what it means to be ‘gravely disabled’?
When Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the Mental Health Act of 1967, the legislation signaled a new era in the treatment of mentally ill Californians. The law recognized that not everyone with a mental illness needed to be confined to a state-run psychiatric hospital. Section 5150 established guidelines for the detention of “mentally disordered persons” up to 72 hours for assessment and treatment. The 1967 law has become a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals dealing with people living on the street. But with homelessness surging throughout California, some argue that the 5150 provision needs to be expanded, giving authorities wider latitude in deciding when someone should be removed from the streets. LA Times

Week of April 9, 2018
First-Ever Evictions Database Shows: ‘We’re In the Middle Of A Housing Crisis’
For many poor families in America, eviction is a real and ongoing threat. Sociologist Matthew Desmond estimates that 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016 — a rate of four every minute. “Eviction isn’t just a condition of poverty; it’s a cause of poverty,” Desmond says. “Eviction is a direct cause of homelessness, but it also is a cause of residential instability, school instability [and] community instability.” “We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, and that means more and more people are giving more and more of their income to rent and utilities,” Desmond says.  Incomes have remained flat for many Americans over the last two decades, but housing costs have soared. So between 1995 and today, median asking rents have increased by 70 percent, adjusting for inflation. So there’s a shrinking gap between what families are bringing [in] and what they have to pay for basic shelter.  So when we picture the typical low income American today, we shouldn’t think of them living in public housing or getting any kind [of] housing assistance for the government, we should think of folks who are paying 60, 70, 80 percent of their income and living unassisted in the private rental market. That’s our typical case today.  Fresh Air

Sleepless in Seattle… 
Why are wealthy cities with booming economies seeing a surge of the down and out?  Open since April 2017, on a formerly vacant lot squeezed between fast-food joints and low-budget motels, Licton Springs Village is home to nearly 70 homeless people who were “sleeping rough” until they moved in.  The Weekly Standard

Week of April 2, 2018
An Indigenous View of Homelessness
In this poignant Facebook post an indigenous writer who works with homeless people in Alaska provides some views and explanations of the homelessness issue in Alaska.

Week of March 12, 2018
Essential California: How homelessness became an intractable crisis
The Sunday March 4 Los Angeles Times explains how and why it devoted significant resources in the prior week to explore how homelessness got so bad and whether there’s a way to solve the problem. Links to the entire series of articles are provided.  LA Times Essential California Newsletter

Preventing homelessness and why it matters
Thousands of Alaskans have been homeless, but the number would be much higher if organizations and individuals didn’t work to prevent it.  Talk of Alaska, discusses solutions for preventing homelessness, and why it affects everyone in the state, not just the families who experience it. APM

Homelessness, Step by Step
New York City must, by court order, provide temporary shelter to any eligible person, and to comply, the city spends about $1.8 billion a year on shelters, apartments, hotel rooms and programs.  It is a vital service for people in need, and it is a costly one. The city does not make it easy to qualify for shelter, and the housing market does not make it easy to emerge from the system. The arduous process can stretch over more than a year and has many phases — the stages of homelessness. NYT

Week of February 12, 2018
At judge’s urging, sides reach deal over California homeless
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Led by a federal judge, an entourage of three dozen lawyers, activists, county workers and officials set out at dawn Wednesday down a California trail to assess what it would take to move hundreds of homeless people camped along a riverbed. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter boldly ordered the outing in a case in Orange County being watched by homeless advocates along the West Coast and elsewhere grappling with a rise in homelessness caused in part by soaring housing costs, rock-bottom vacancy rates and a roaring economy. Homeless advocates sued and sought protection from the court when they heard authorities were going to start citing or arresting people who refused to budge from the two-mile (3.2 kilometer) long encampment. AP

Designer Creates Origami Cardboard Tents to Shelter the Homeless from the Winter Cold
During the day, Xavier Van der Stappen runs an electric car company. At night, the Belgian entrepreneur/designer helps spearhead the ORIG-AMI project, which creates origami-style cardboard tents designed to shield Brussels’ homeless from the bitter cold of winter. Cardboard is light and portable. It holds heat fairly well. And the cardboard tents (as opposed to other structures) are legal on Brussels’ streets. The cost for each life-saving structure? Only $36. Open Culture

Week of February 5, 2018
At an Anchorage homeless shelter, an unexpected birth
The life story of a baby boy named Kahleel began one morning in January at The Salvation Army’s McKinnell House, a homeless shelter for families on the edge of downtown Anchorage. KTOO

If rental assistance is a lifeline for preventing homelessness, why is it so hard to get?
When Anchorage resident Dion Wynne was unexpectedly hospitalized for more than a month last fall, he realized he was going to have financial difficulties. His medical providers called for backup.

“They’d seen what I was going through and the stress that I was having that I may have to move out of my home,” he said. “So, they said, ‘We think we need to get the social worker in.’” Dion wasn’t going to be able to return to work any time soon, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to cover all of his expenses. The social worker helped him figure out which programs he could apply for and which he couldn’t. This is part two of a series about a man on the brink of homelessness. Find the first part here.  Alaska Public Media

Helping the Homeless with GIS
For the Southern California cities of Redlands and Rancho Cucamonga, homelessness has been a growing issue. To better understand and help alleviate this problem, the police departments in these cities turned to the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology.  ESRI News

NYC’s Homeless Men And Women Soon To Have Access To Free Vending Machines
People who are homeless in New York City will be the first in the country to have access to free vending machines, dispensing items like food, socks, shampoo, books and more.

Week of January 22, 2018
Mat-Su homeless get a helping hand
The temperature outside the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla Wednesday morning was a bone-chilling 8-degrees, but inside there was the warmth that comes from generosity and compassion. 60 agencies, vendors and individual providers took part in the Mat-Su Homeless Connect event. Volunteers handed out warm clothing, served hot meals, provided medical check-ups and provided confidential counseling. Last year, the event served approximately 200 people, and this year, organizers were prepared to give a hand up to 300 people who are homeless, or on the brink of becoming homeless. KTUU

Oregon-based Opportunity Village Eugene addresses homelessness with tiny houses
Here’s how one organization is working on the homelessness problem: Opportunity Village Eugene(OVE) is a “tiny house” community in Eugene, Oregon, that provides secure accommodation for around 35 people who were previously homeless.

Week of January 8, 2018
Solving Homelessness: A Community Workshop | San Francisco, California | Jan. 25
Mark your calendars! The San Francisco Public Press will host a one-day symposium and workshop on Jan. 25 that will explore bold and creative ideas to solve homelessness in the Bay Area.

Shelters Reach Capacity In Cold Weather As Homeless Population Rises
Homeless shelters across the country are being strained by frigid weather and a population of people who are homeless that is up for the first time since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite “code blue” policies that are designed to bring more homeless people inside during freezing temperatures, shelters are reaching capacity and being forced to turn people away, says Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Here and Now

Week of December 25, 2017
• Planning is now underway for Project Homeless Connect 2018 Anchorage, to be held on Wednesday January 24th.  There is a call out for volunteers with a goal of having everyone assigned by the middle of January. For more information contact:

Heidi Hill, Shelter Manager

AWAIC/Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis, Inc.

  907-279-9581 general, heidi_h@awaic.org

• See Sherman Alexie’s “Hymn” – a poem about those in need, including the homeless, in our Posts section.

Investigation Maps Process of Homeless Relocation Programs
Attempts to decrease the homelessness problem have varied over the years from city to city, from setting up tent cities, to providing shelters or permanent housing. Another approach has been to give homeless a one-way bus or plane ticket out of town. These homeless relocation programs have been going on for nearly 30 years but data about their effectiveness is sparse.  Now, after an extensive 18-month investigation, The Guardian has conducted a detailed analysis and database of homeless relocation programs and has analyzed the effects of the program on both people and cities. The Guardian

Homeless struggle to find Christmastime joy on the streets of San Diego
As countless people throughout San Diego County crammed area malls Sunday for last-minute Christmas shopping, hundreds of others stood in line for a free meal, sought shelter in storefronts and attended church services for warmth. “It’s just Sunday, not Christmas Eve,” said Val Flores, a young homeless woman outside of God’s Extended Hand church on the corner of 16th Street and Island Avenue in downtown San Diego. “The situation’s not going to change.”
LA Times

Three Teens ‘Caught’ on Security Camera Covering Sleeping Homeless with Warm Duvets
Parents of three teenagers in Poland must be proud for their sons were “caught” on a security camera doing one of the sweetest acts of kindness. The compassionate trio decided to spend their time, not causing mischief or doing silly immature things, but instead bringing warm duvets to a homeless man who was sleeping on a bench. They even gently tucked him in.  The Globe Today

Week of December 11, 2017
Ben Carson: We know how to end homelessness and housing shortages
Homelessness can make us uncomfortable. It should. As much as we are tempted to look away, we cannot deny the obvious human need when we see our neighbors, forced by circumstance or a disabling condition, living on our streets and in our shelters. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  just released its latest national homelessness estimate, finding that nearly 554,000 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2017. While the numbers show important progress is being made, they also reveal the tremendous need for affordable housing, especially in high-cost areas such as Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda County (Calif.) and Seattle.  USA Today 

America’s Affordable Housing Problem is Driving Its Homelessness Crisis
There’s a clear link between a lack of places to live and the number of people sleeping out of doors at night. And the solution is clear, too: Cities need to double down not just on homeless services, but on building more affordable housing, and quickly. This year, for the first time since the Great Recession of 2008, the number of homeless people in the U.S. rose. The high cost of housing in the country’s major cities like New York and Los Angeles make it difficult for middle-earning adults to hold down a place to live, but next to impossible for people on the lower end of the economic spectrum. City governments are quickly realizing that they need to find a way to provide for people in need in the face of a market increasingly out of touch with people’s needs.  Fast Company

Week of December 4, 2017
Homeless come in from the cold
Juneau warming shelter opens doors for season, offering 15 cots as a stop-gap for Juneau’s unsheltered.  The shelter will be open from now until April every night the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It could be opened on nights above freezing as well, but that will be up to the discretion of shelter staff, who will have to make the judgment call when the temperature hovers around freezing.  Juneau Empire

Homeless People Who Use Drugs More Likely To Die From Overdose
New data in Massachusetts shows that people who use heroin or fentanyl and overdose are up to 30 times more likely to die if they’re homeless. npr.org

US Homeless Count Rises To 554K, Pushed By Crisis On The West Coast
The nation’s homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report Wednesday showing nearly 554,000 homeless people across the country during local tallies conducted in January. LA Times

Week of November 20, 2017
Don’t bite the hand that feeds the homeless
I am proud and encouraged by the many positive steps being taken toward ending homelessness in Anchorage. However, the ordinance proposed by Amy Demboski and Dick Traini that would fine nonprofit organizations for an “excessive amount of 911 calls” is a misstep from progress. This ordinance was proposed at the Homelessness Committee Meeting and was to be introduced to the Anchorage Assembly on Nov. 21.  adn.com

Week of November 13, 2017
Downtown Anchorage homeless shelters could be fined for excessive police calls under proposed law
Brother Francis Shelter, Bean’s Cafe and other Anchorage nonprofits, charities and hospitals could face fines under a proposed law that would charge them for frequent visits from police and paramedics. Assemblyman Dick Traini said this week he wants such organizations to be treated like other commercial properties with a limit of 100 free police calls in a calendar year. ADN.com

Life Vest Inside – Revolution of Love
Nice message about the homeless in a new video from Life Vest Inside.  YouTube

Week of October 30, 2017
Former Hospital Will Soon Treat the Homeless When it Transforms into 60 Housing Units
Today in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a host of community partners gathered to celebrate the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of St. Anthony’s Apartments— 60 units of permanent supportive housing that will rise up from within the former St. Anthony’s Hospital. A Chicago-based affordable housing non-profit, Heartland Housing, is planning and renovating the building into 60 modern apartments, with onsite property management and supportive social services, and also a health clinic and the homeless outreach programs run by its partner Capuchin Community Services. GoodNewNetwork

Week of October 23, 2017
City seeks new emergency cold weather shelter locations for the homeless
The city of Anchorage says it lacks as many as 150 emergency cold weather shelter beds for the homeless and is actively working to find new locations.  “We’re talking with other nonprofits with buildings that might have space so we’re really reaching beyond where we have in the past,” said Nancy Burke, the city’s Housing and Homeless Services Coordinator.  Unlike last winter, Bean’s Café is not operating as overflow space. It had provided room for 100 people between December 2nd and April 30th.  ktuu.com
Survey on the Community Perception of Homelessness in Anchorage
Through the Anchorage Plan to End Homelessness, the Municipality of Anchorage, the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, and United Way of Anchorage, are working to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.  As part of the plan, they are asking Anchorage residents to provide feedback on the issue of homelessness through  a survey on community perceptions of homelessness. Please complete the survey by November 3, 2017.  

Week of October 16, 2017
How to end homelessness in Anchorage, together
Anchorage has a plan to end homelessness, but its implementation is just beginning. And as community leaders dig into the details of solving one of the city’s toughest problems, getting everyone on the same page is bound to get messy. So they’re starting with a conversation.  On Monday, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz called together a group of community leaders from social service organizations, businesses, and statewide agencies. In his conference room on the top floor of City Hall, he explained that a lot of money is going toward helping people who are experiencing homelessness. Alaska Public Media

Hospitals Make Housing the Homeless Part of Their Job
Hospitals in Sacramento, Calif., and around the country are taking steps to help homeless people find housing. Doing so, they say, will limit unnecessary ER visits and reduce wasteful health care spending. It also helps nonprofits such as San Francisco-based Dignity Health, Orlando-based Florida Hospital and Providence Health & Services in Portland, Ore., meet their community service obligations in exchange for tax breaks. Governing

Advocate: NYC needs to hire more social workers to help homeless students
New York City needs to hire more social workers and offer more support for homeless children, who make up 10% of the city’s public school enrollment, city Public Advocate Letitia James declared in a new report. Mayoral spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg responded that assistance has been beefed up, saying, “To get kids to school and families back on their feet we’ve expanded social work staffing and improved school busing, while transforming the shelter system to keep kids closer to their home neighborhoods.”  New York Daily News

To stop homelessness, we need to give the homeless places to live. Why not make it nice?
Housing for the homeless is not usually a place associated with sleek design. But the photos you see here all indicate otherwise.  The buildings are all run by Common Ground, a nonprofit that does the difficult work of trying to get the chronically homeless off of the New York City streets and into permanent homes. Since Common Ground, a leader in “housing first,” opened its initial 652-unit supportive housing residence in Times Square in 1991, it has been unique in its embrace of design and architecture as important elements of its work, right next to the services it provides.
Fast Company

Critic says that Utah has damaged the reputation it had developed in recent years for its housing-first approach
Salt Lake City’s estimated $67 million, two-year Operation Rio Grande aims to reduce lawlessness near the 1,100-bed shelter at 210 S. Rio Grande St. through three phases: by first cracking down on area drug use, then offering residential treatment beds to some offenders, and then trying to find them work.  As Utah leaders explained their motivations for Operation Rio Grande to a ballroom full of service providers, one man sat at the front of the audience and tweeted.  “Panel of privileged white people talking about homelessness & addiction is clearly about social control, not social service,” he wrote.  “Programs & policies that impact substance users & homeless persons need experts on the issues not naive legislators.” Salt Lake Tribune

Week of October 9, 2017
Faces of Pain, Faces of Hope
The bottomless narcissism and hunger of consumer culture cause our darkest and most depraved pathologies. It is not by building pathetic, tiny monuments to ourselves that we become autonomous and free human beings; it is through acts of self-sacrifice, by recovering a sense of humility, by affirming the sanctity of others and thereby the sanctity of ourselves. Common Dreams

Week of September 25, 2017
LA Needs Emergency Shelters and Campgrounds
The city controller recommended that L.A. open emergency campgrounds and shelters to curtail the shantytowns that have plagued neighborhoods from Boyle Heights to Wilmington in the homelessness crisis. “Without creative solutions to address homeless encampments … the City will merely transfer the issue from one constituency to the next without finding a way to mitigate public health and safety risks for everyone,” his report said. LA Times
4 Questions That Will Challenge Your Beliefs about the Homeless Crisis
It’s ” a common argument – if we just get homeless people into housing, then we’re solving homelessness. And on a surface level, it makes sense. Homeless means “without a home.” So give them a home, and they’re no longer homeless.  If only it were that simple.  Councilman Tim Burgess wrote a guest column in the Seattle Times in August, 2016, and he argued for a reworking of how we fund the various services that try to help homeless people in Seattle and King County.  He made a number of good points – especially this question: “Are we investing our resources wisely to achieve the best possible results?”  We agree with his answer to his own question. Not just Seattle, but most of the country is failing to use their resources wisely to truly help people trapped in homelessness. Babystepsministery.org   Editors’ note –  this is an unusual article that takes an unconventional and even offensive view of the homelessness policy of housing first.  What is most interesting about the article is the number of heartfelt thoughts in the comments section from the homeless and the formerly homeless as well as from homeless advocates and service providers. 

Week of September 18, 2016

Juneau’s Housing First prepares to open its doors
Juneau’s Housing First project is opening its doors this week to the first eight residents. The $8.3 million Lemon Creek complex will soon  house 32 of the community’s most vulnerable residents. KTOO.org

Alaska Mental Health Trust funds city homeless coordinator for Juneau
Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, the City and Borough of Juneau will hire a coordinator for housing and homeless services.  Earlier this month, the Trust Land Office cleared a downtown waterfront lot that homeless campers had occupied. Most campers had left the property by the time police arrived to enforce a trespassing order.  The trust authority’s acting CEO Steve Williams said the trust’s board recognizes that many homeless people are also its beneficiaries with mental illness. The trust funds a similar position in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
KTOO.org

Week of September 11, 2017
Oktoberfest Run to End Homelessness 5K and 10K
Next up on the Anchorage Running Club calendar is the Oktoberfest 5K and 10K runs. Oktoberfest is our annual fund raiser for The Brother Francis Shelter and Bean’s Cafe. This is one of the club’s oldest and most enjoyable races. Race HQ is in the basement of the 49th State Brewing Company (the old Snow Goose Restaurant) located at 717 West 3rd in downtown Anchorage. Race time is 9:00 am. There will also be an 1/4 mile kid’s fun run.  More info…  Date: September 23. Saturday
Location: 49th State Brewing – 717 W 3rd, Downtown Anchorage

STATE OF THE HOMELESS 2017: REJECTING LOW EXPECTATIONS: HOUSING IS THE ANSWER
This is a comprehensive annual summary from the New York Coalition for the Homeless.

Homelessness: What can Australia learn from Finland’s housing solution?
Creating more crisis accommodation will not fix Australia’s homelessness problem, according to one expert who believes the solution is “not that complex”.  ABC News Australia

Week of August 28, 2017
To Help The Homeless hit by Hurricane Harvey
The Houston Coalition for the Homeless is facilitating shelter for homeless people in Houston, including offering up-to-date information about which shelters currently have space, who’s the best fit for each one, and how to get there safely. They’re accepting financial donations to continue their work.
This Republican mayor has an incredibly simple idea to help the homeless
Next month will be the first anniversary of Albuquerque’s There’s a Better Way program, which hires panhandlers for day jobs beautifying the city.  See also the related video interview.  Washington Post
‘Build a wall’: emergency housing plan for homeless in Silicon Valley met with fear
Chants of “build a wall” rang through the meeting room in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose. But this was not a call for a barrier along the Mexican border – it was a cry to exclude homeless people. The Guardian
As Tent City Eviction Looms, Homeless and Advocates Seek To Block It
UPTOWN — Louis Jones is ready to work his way out of homelessness, but over the last 18 months he’s made little progress.He’s been vocal about seeking help, and as the time to evacuate his tent under Wilson Avenue approaches, he’s become fed up. dnaInfo

Week of August 21, 2017
Developing Affordable and Accessible Community-Based Housing for Vulnerable Adults: Proceedings of a Workshop
The National Academy of Sciences has released workshop proceedings on developing affordable and accessible community-based housing.  

Week of July 24, 2017
Social Media Users Hammer Cheyenne, WY PD About Seizing Cash From Homeless Man
A trend is growing on social media showing that people are waking up to the state persecuting individuals over victimless crimes. The latest example of this trend comes from the Cheyenne Police Department who posted a photo of money they seized from a homeless man and then attempted to justify and brag about it. When people read the department’s post, they lashed out — peacefully — to let them know what they were doing is wrong.  MintPressNews.com

Week of July 17, 20017
Mayor’s office wants to turn former halfway house downtown into homeless housing
The administration of Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to turn a shuttered halfway house near the Delaney Park Strip downtown into housing for homeless seniors, which officials said was the next step in moving the city’s homeless off the streets and out of emergency shelters. ADN.com

Nominate Habitat for Humanity Anchorage as Arctic Entries Season 9 Non-profit Partner
Preparations for Season 9 of Arctic Entries are underway, and it’s time to choose a new non-profit partner for 2017-18. Past seasons have allowed our community to raise thousands of dollars for groups doing great work in Anchorage including Rural Alaska Community Action ProgramP.O.W.E.R. Teen ClinicAbused Women’s Aid in CrisisAlaska Literacy ProgramFellowship in Serving HumanityFacing Foster Care in Alaska, and Standing Together Against Rape Alaska.
Please nominate your organization of choice by August 4, 2017.

Note: Arctic Entries reads and considers each and every nomination, but their selection process does not include tallying votes. Share your story to why you think Habitat for Humanity would be a great partner for their upcoming season.  Habitat Anchorage

Week of July 10, 2017
FY 2017 HUD Continuum of Care NOFA Released
The CoC Program Competition for FY 17 opened earlier today (Friday, July 14, 2017). The competition will close on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT.

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition has been posted to the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition: Funding Availability page on the HUD Exchange. Submission Deadline: Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT.  The electronic application in e-snaps will be available on or after next Tuesday, July 18, 2017.  Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness

 

 

The Health-Care Cost of Homelessness
In the past year, Los Angeles has dedicated billions of dollars towards housing the homeless. The effort is, in part, aimed at addressing the city’s exorbitant health-care spending on this population. Housing is now widely understood to be the best health intervention for the homeless population, who experience far more hospitalizations than those with homes. However, a critical step in this new effort is actually connecting the city’s homeless population, many of whom are very wary of services, to the these new resources. video by The Atlantic

Week of June 28, 2017
Meeting the Needs of Homeless Youth: Public Schools Are Doing What Government Won’t Do Directly
Jennings, Missouri  is a leader of the movement pushing public schools to address the overlapping emotional and material needs of impoverished students, Jennings is a model — stepping in to provide food, shelter, health care and consolation to students who need it. truthout.org

Week of June 19, 2017
  Project Homeless Connect Input Survey – The Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) has hosted Anchorage Project Homeless Connect (APHC) in the Egan Center for several years. In our attempt to be most effective in use of community resources – both personnel and financial – we are seeking your input. Please answer the questions provided to the best of your ability – only one person from your organization, please – to help us better understand what is valuable to you as an ACEH partner and/or service provider. This survey response time ends on July 9, 2017.

Click Here to Take The Survey

Week of May 15, 2017
New respite program helps homeless people heal
A new community partnership is freeing up hospital resources by proving people without homes a place to heal. Brother Francis Shelter in Anchorage is working with the area’s three main hospitals to provide respite care for sick or injured people who are homeless. Alaskapublic.org

Week of May 8, 2017
City moves to make emergency shelter space permanent
Anchorage officials are hoping to keep some emergency homeless shelters open longer, past the winter months and into the summer.

The change affects about a hundred beds that are currently part of the city’s cold-weather shelter plan, and would normally disappear during the warmer months. Half the beds are in the Downtown Soup Kitchen, the other half in Bean’s Cafe. Alaska Public Media

Week of April 17, 2017
Community in Unity: Pathways in and out of Homelessness – Tuesday, April 25
Hosted by Alaska Public Media
Details
Medical emergencies. Lost jobs. Failed relationships. Everyone has a different story about their pathway into homelessness — and the ways they can get out of it.  Join community members, social service workers, and others in an open conversation led by Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media’s urban affairs reporter, about the causes of homelessness and some of the solutions.
Presented in partnership with Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope CenterBeans Cafe, and Catholic Social Services-Anchorage, AK.
Tuesday, April 25 at 6:00 p.m.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
1000 East 4th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501
Parking at PIP Printing, Free and open to all.  (Note: Program will be recorded for radio broadcast at a later date.)

Rick Steves: ‘I just gave away a $4M apartment complex’
Travel guru Rick Steves has donated a 24-unit apartment property in Lynnwood to YWCA Seattle King Snohomish to house homeless women and their families.  Bizjournals.com

Week of April 10, 2017
Skid Row votes: renowned homeless community seeks voice in LA politics
Lead by the unofficial ‘mayor’ of Skid Row, homeless residents took democracy to the streets in an effort to form their own neighborhood council.  The Guardian

Week of March 27, 2017
How Running Got 6,000 Homeless People Back on Their Feet
This nonprofit’s novel approach to empowering the homeless starts with a simple premise: putting one foot in front of the other.

Hector Torres’s world was shattered when he learned his 29-year-old son had died. The former Marine and avid runner was driving home from work when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed. The loss sent Hector into a grief spiral as he abandoned his life as a truck driver in Connecticut to wander the streets of New York City without a home.  NationSwell

Week of Feb. 13, 2017
An Arizona cosmetology student is currently being investigated for giving haircuts to the homeless
Juan Carlos Montesdeoca has been giving away free haircuts to homeless individuals at Santa Rita park in Tucson and recently organized an event called Haircuts for the Homeless at a local library, during which he offered free haircuts and manicures to the homeless people of Tucson. Mint Press News

Week of Feb. 6, 2017
Home But Not Less: a play built on Alaskan voices  The play is inspired by interviews with over 100 Alaskans from Juneau, Anchorage and around the state, including people who are or have been homeless, service providers, ER doctors, police officers, school representatives, housing experts, Native leaders, business people, a judge, state leaders, assembly members, coalition members, and regular folks… as well as meetings, conferences and eavesdropping. We are indebted to Alaskans for sharing their stories and perspectives as we present a slice of the many lives related to the complicated issue of homelessness, a symptom of many root causes.

HOMEbutnotLESS 8.5x11 ANC lo-res.jpg

Week of Jan. 30, 2017
Hawaii State Senator Says Homelessness Is Medical Condition, Prescription Is Housing
Hawaii tops the nation when it comes to homelessness, with a rate of more than 50 per 10,000 residents living on the streets, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Now, a state senator who is also a physician is proposing a novel solution.

Josh Green (@senjoshgreen) introduced a bill last week that would classify homelessness as a medical condition, enabling physicians to prescribe housing. He says it will save money and lives, and joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss the proposal. Here and Now

30 Under 30
As a UC Berkeley student in 2011, Komal Ahmad took a homeless man out to lunch and found her calling. The man had recently returned from his second tour in Iraq and, still awaiting his VA benefits, hadn’t eaten in three days. “This is someone who served our country,” Ahmad says. “He had already sacrificed warm meals at home, his own bed. And now he was living on the streets.”

Ahmad approached Berkeley’s dining hall, which was trashing hundreds of pounds of edible food each day, and soon convinced the managers to bypass lia­bility issues so she could donate what­ever fit into a Zipcar. Copia, her food-recovery app, was born. The idea is simple: an app connects those in need of food donations—churches, homeless shelters—with people who have excess, like restaurants and caterers. Solid matches ping Copia’s drivers, who make the pick-ups. Outside Mag

Sleek Apartments Made Of Shipping Containers To House Homeless Vet
A bold new solution for homelessness is rising in California’s Orange County.On September 21, the nonprofit organization American Family Housing set up the first of 54 shipping containers that will provide housing for homeless veterans in Midway City, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported. Once they’re stacked and connected, the containers will form a sleek two-story residence with 16 units. Called Potter’s Lane, the residence will be California’s first shipping-container apartment building. It is expected to be completed by January. Huff Post

Week of November 14, 2016
Apartments for Anchorage’s long-term homeless open near downtown

The latest attempt to put a roof over the heads of Anchorage’s long-term homeless residents has opened up on Third Avenue near downtown. Operated by Rural Alaska Community Action Program, the project marks the latest in a growing effort to find permanent housing for the city’s most vulnerable homeless. The four-story complex at 325 E. Third Ave., newly renovated for $6 million, offers 20 subsidized apartments for people with extensive histories of homelessness. ADN.com

Week of September 26, 2016
A nonprofit in California is turning shipping containers into homeless housing
The shipping container made one trip from Asia loaded with dry goods.  From the harbor it was trucked to a small factory beside the Los Angeles River in Elysian Valley.

There it made a 400-foot journey along an assembly line where more than 40 workers cut, welded, wrenched and nailed until it emerged eight days later with wallboard, windows, electrical wiring and plumbing. ADN.com

Data-sharing initiative signals a new approach to Anchorage’s homeless
The city of Anchorage and a handful of social service agencies are working on a new system for sharing information about homeless adults and families.  It could significantly change how the city’s homeless are housed, treated and tracked. ADN.com

Week of August 22, 2016
Oktoberfest Run To End Homelessness in September 24, 2016
Yea! The Anchorage Running Club is holding a benefit race for Bean’s Cafe and the Brother Francis Shelter. The 2015 runs raised $4,100.  Race HQ is in the basement of the 49th State Brewing Company, the old Snow Goose Restaurant. Race time is 9:00 am. They will be using the same 5K and 10K out and back courses that we used last year along the Coastal Trail. There will also be an 1/4 mile kid’s fun run.  Runners in costume be given a one minute head start and there will be chip timing.

Week of August 15, 2106
Homeless and pregnant in Toronto
About 120 homeless women give birth in Toronto every year. The challenge is how to help them.  CBC News

Week of June 13, 2016
These are the faces of America’s growing youth homeless population
Gladys Thompson became homeless before she was old enough to drive or hold a job. She remembers begging for food and water, and pleading with friends for a place to sleep. And she is not alone: More than 1.3 million U.S. students were homeless in 2013-2014, twice the number who were homeless before the collapse of the housing market and subsequent recession. Washington Post

Week of May 23, 2106
Students With Nowhere to Stay: Homelessness on College Campuses
When the College Cost Reduction and Access Act took effect in 2009, neither lawmakers nor school administrators had any idea how many college students would check the box on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — the document that determines eligibility for Pell grants, subsidized loans and work-study awards that help students pay for college or vocational training — to indicate that they were homeless. At last tabulation, the number was 58,000, a small percentage of the 20.2 million students presently enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate study. Nonetheless, school counselors and advocates believe the number is starkly inaccurate and represents a mere fraction of university students who actually lack a permanent home. truth-out.org

Week of May 9, 2016
Anchorage’s New Summer Strategies for Helping with Homelessness
To get people off the streets and out of homeless camps this summer, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said Wednesday his administration plans to launch a work van service to connect people who are homeless or panhandling with day labor. Berkowitz says his administration is also boosting summer park maintenance staff to help clean up homeless camps and support the city in shifting its emphasis from clearing illegal camps to moving people from the camps into housing. The idea of a van program to connect homeless people with day-labor jobs like trail maintenance and trash pickup is modeled after a successful program in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  ADN.com

Week of April 24, 2016
House Calls for the Homeless
In 1992, Dr. Jim Withers camouflaged himself as a homeless man to make medical visits to people living on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was shocked to find out how ill people were. In 24 years, Withers’ “street medicine” has reached over 10,000 people, and his comprehensive program, Operation Safety Net, provides mobile medical vans, drop-in centers and helps advocate for insurance and housing for the homeless. Withers’ philosophy is simple: treat people the way we want to be treated.  Dailygood.org

Week of April 4, 2016

Free Showers For Homeless People In Palm Beach Modeled After Ones Found In Homes
One of the toughest — but often overlooked — challenges homeless people face is finding a way to stay clean. That’s why a group in Palm Beach, Florida, is bringing free showers to the area. HuffPost

Library Offers Homeless People Mental Health Services, And It’s Working
Of the 5,000 people who visit the San Francisco Public Library every day, about 15 percent of them are homeless, PBS reported. After years of watching this underserved demographic float through to get Internet access, a restroom and often, just refuge from the cold, the library realized it was in an auspicious position to stage effective interventions. HuffPost

Week of March 6, 2016
In Georgetown, the homeless can be hidden amid the million-dollar homes
For 25 years, Gunther Stern has run the Georgetown Ministry Center, which was created after a homeless man froze to death on the street more than three decades ago. But because many homeless cannot or choose not to come into the day center located behind a church, Stern often goes to them, stepping into the nooks that tourists will never see and forging relationships with their hidden occupants, some whose hardships are obvious and others who blend so seamlessly that they might disappear unnoticed if it weren’t for him. Washington Post

Week of February 29, 2016

Homeless Man Owes Government Over $110,000 in Fines for Being Homeless
The recent case of a homeless man racking up massive fines has exposed the widespread police practice of fining homeless people for being homeless. The man had over 500 tickets, which amounted to over $110,000 in fines. The fines were mostly for things that homeless people can’t control, such as sleeping in the subway or asking people for money. Nation of Change

I Was Homeless And Video Games Saved My Life
Looking at me, you would never be able to guess my humble beginnings — I am a Marketing Manager for a successful tech company, I’ve worked on big brands. I have a young family and all the trappings of a young middle-class professional. But I hold a secret relatively close to me — a few years ago, I was homeless. On the spectrum of park bench to couch surfing, I moved around depending on the friends I could find and the money I could scrounge together. Kotaku.com

Week of February 22, 2016
Santa Rosa Offers Free Showers And Private Bathrooms To The Homeless
The city of Santa Rosa, California, in partnership with Catholic Charities, will roll out a trailer outfitted with private showers and bathrooms to serve its homeless population this week.

At four locations spread around different parts of the city, homeless people will able to avail themselves of a 10-minute hot shower as well as private toilet and sink out of the trailer towed by a pickup truck.  ThinkProgress Blog

Week of February 1, 2016
Anchorage Homeless Count 2016
Before most of Anchorage awoke Wednesday morning, roughly 140 volunteers fanned out across the city to speak to as many homeless people as possible. The occasion was the annual “Point-In-Time” homeless count — a national, federally-required homeless census that Anchorage and other cities conduct on a single day in late January. In all, they found 797 people. adn.com (see also Alaska Commons)

New tech and political clout put toward homeless campers
The Anchorage Mayor’s office is throwing its weight behind initiatives to end homelessness, a problem the administration says has intensified in recent years. As social service providers gather data on homeless individuals, they’re pairing new technology with an increased level of political support. kska.org

Week of January 4, 2016

Temporary Housing For Young People, By Young People
Homelessness is hard enough, but being a young adult and homeless brings its own set of challenges. No longer eligible for family shelters, 18- to 24-year-olds can be targets of theft and assault by older homeless adults, experts say. In Boston, a new homeless shelter just opened — for young adults only. npr

Pope to Install Showers in St. Peter’s Square for the Homeless
Pope Francis has ordered the installation of showers for the homeless next to St Peter’s Square after a street dweller declared himself too smelly to eat with a bishop. abc

Bay Area Low-Income and Homeless Residents Push to Build Own Housing
In the Bay Area, where demands for affordable housing and solutions to homelessness have reached fever pitch, some low-income and homeless residents are taking things into their own hands – by trying to build housing themselves. truthout

Week of December 14, 2015
Homelessness and winter both get real when you see an old classmate at Bean’s
I am standing outside the entrance of Bean’s Cafe in my North Face puffy jacket and L.L. Bean boots trying to muster up the courage to interview a person for my final assignment for my journalism class at UAA. ADN.com

Amid chronic U.S. homelessness, Northwest backs ‘tent cities’
Despite the benefits tent cities often provide occupants, and although American cities are grappling with a chronic shortage of affordable housing for the poor and budget constraints on social programs, many municipalities across the United States are clamping down on homeless encampments.  Reuters

Week of November 16, 2015

The Homeless Are Fighting Back
A year ago, the city of Manteca, California made it illegal to sleep or set up encampments outside. Another ordinance banned urination and defecation in public. At the time, the city’s police chief, Nick Obligacion, said the ordinance was to “correct the wrong” and “if the correction is [the homeless] leaving Manteca, then that’s their choice.” Rather than leave, however, four homeless men are now suing the city, saying the policies violate their constitutional rights by making their homelessness a crime, “with the discriminatory purpose of driving the homeless from the city.” The suit claims that after the city banned public urination and defecation, it locked public restrooms. It also said there is no shelter for homeless men where they might sleep instead. Reader Supported News

New shelter offers homeless women a safe night in from the cold
On a cold winter night, Anchorage’s homeless shelters are stretched trying to find room for everyone who needs it. The Brother Francis Shelter has been using their overflow space at Beans Café for the last couple nights. The shelter can house between 240 and 364 people on cold nights. Only men can go into the overflow space, but there was no place like that for women until now. “Brother Francis Shelter, 240 bodies, it’s a lot of people,” said program director Lisa Caldeira. “Having this extra space that’s just meant for women, I think it will be a really great sanctuary.”  That extra space is at the Downtown Soup Kitchen, where around 500 people a day find a warm meal. In two weeks, 30 women will also find it a warm place to sleep on cold nights. KTVA

L.A. council declares shelter crisis in effort to help the homeless
Acknowledging the city’s growing homeless population, the Los Angeles City Council voted 14 to 0 Tuesday to declare a shelter crisis, paving the way for providing temporary housing to homeless men and women in public buildings. LA Times

Anchorage mayor announces plan for 300 housing units for homeless
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants 300 housing units available in the city for people who are chronically homeless. The goal is to get the units newly built or modified from existing structures within three years. “It’s a measure of our humanity” as a city to provide housing to those who need it, said Berkowitz. KTUU

Week of November 9, 2015
Sanctuary, Not Just Shelter: A New Type Of Housing For The Homeless
Combating homelessness isn’t just about shelter. Lately, some affordable housing projects are getting decidedly upscale — to help residents heal, adjust and build bonds with their new neighbors.  NPR

What happened when George Clooney went to Scotland
The star visited the staff of a sandwich shop in Edinburgh that helps feed the homeless. And the Scottish went mad. Twitter

Looking Away
I’d never been inside Bean’s Cafe before and my expectations weren’t pretty, I’m ashamed to admit. My experience with Anchorage’s homeless has been typically brief; mostly only the abbreviated conversations you can have before a light turns green when handing the leftovers from dinner out the window to someone who looks cold and hungry.  Anchorage Press

Week of November 2, 2015
Utah housing expert who cut chronic homelessness 90% pitches Alaska solutions
Gov. Bill Walker says he’d “love for Alaska to be the first state without homelessness.” With a little inspiration from the state of Utah, some are hopeful that could become reality. 360North.org
Falling in between the cracks
Survey finds hidden, vulnerable homeless population, susceptibility to early death highlights need for housing.  Within the already delicate homeless population exists a subgroup of people classified as vulnerable. Their greatest vulnerability — a premature death.  Juneau Empire

Week of October 26, 2015
AN UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH ABOUT HOMELESSNESS IN SAN FRANCISCO
When you live in San Francisco, it’s easy to get caught up in it—the way the air off the Pacific feels on your skin, the way the sunset lights up the fog, streetcars tinkling like toys up and down the hills. It can be idyllic. But San Francisco has a problem—one of forced evictions and mixed chemicals, rotting sores and bare feet black as charcoal. The problem is so pervasive that full awareness of it obliterates any perception of this city as paradisiacal. The problem is homelessness. The Bold Italic

Week of October 19, 2015
Monday may have been worst day yet in Anchorage Spice crisis
Spice-related medical emergencies spiked again Monday in Anchorage, with the fire department saying it might have made the most transports in one day since Spice emergencies increased this summer.

On Tuesday morning, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced that his administration would be introducing an ordinance that would make the sale and use of Spice a crime and impose penalties far steeper than what is currently on the books.  ADN

This Pet Food Bank Is Keeping Animals With the Families That Love Them
The Colorado Pet Pantry is a Denver-based nonprofit that partners with human food banks five times a month to distribute dog and cat food to local homeless and low-income people who need help feeding their pets. In 2014, the nonprofit distributed 30,553 pounds of pet food to 1,500 families to feed 3,296 pets. It was founded in 2013 with seed money from the nonprofit PawsCo by marketing professional Eileen Lambert, who says it’s a labor of love.  HuffPost

As more families slip into poverty, Minnesota town turns parking tickets into food donations
Stillwater, Minnesota is tackling a food shortage for those in need in a unique way: Instead of paying the city $15 for a parking ticket, Minnesotans can instead opt to donate canned goods to the Valley Outreach food shelf.“We’re asking residents to come forward with 10 non-perishable items,” said Tracy Maki, the executive director of Valley Outreach. The program was developed after seeing an increase of families in need.  “Folks aren’t quite making it,” she said. “In our area, it’s called situation poverty.”  Daily Kos

Week of October 12, 2015
Hawaii governor declares state of emergency for homelessness
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige has declared a state of emergency to deal with the state’s homelessness crisis just days after city and state officials cleared one of the nation’s largest homeless encampments. The move will help the state speed up the process of building a homeless shelter for families, and the state is considering four possible sites, Ige said at a news conference Friday. “We are making sure that we have options for those who are homeless to move into an emergency shelter, and the biggest deficit in the system is shelter space for families,” Ige said. “So the emergency proclamation would allow us to stand up shelters for families in an expeditious manner.” Hawaii saw a 23 percent increase in its unsheltered homeless population between 2014 and 2015, and a 46 percent increase in the number of unsheltered families, said Scott Morishige, state homelessness coordinator.  AP

In Houston It’s Illegal to Feed the Homeless and for the Homeless to Feed Themselves
Last year the city council of Houston, Texas, passed a law making it illegal to feed the homeless within the city without the permission of property owners.Yes, in the land of six-guns, cattle rustling and Enron, handing a sandwich to a homeless person in a city park or serving a bowl of soup in a rented storefront can earn you a $500 fine. Some charitable organizations, financially unable to risk the fines, have relocated outside the city.  Daily Kos

Week of October 5, 2015
After homeless deaths, candlelight vigil held in Anchorage
 It’s a problem that’s not documented very well but seems to be getting worse. Sunday evening, the Anchorage community came together for a candlelight vigil honoring members of the homeless community who have died this year. “A great city, a great state doesn’t stand idly by while people perish in our streets,” Mayor Ethan Berkowitz told a crowd of about 75 people. “As it gets colder, I just think we need to be mindful of those who don’t have the luxury of turning up the thermostat,” said Gov. Bill Walker, who also spoke at the vigil. KTVA, ADN

Homeless in Anchorage, caught in brutal grip of Spice
An incredibly touching story – a very hard read.  It’s hard to look at him, and it’s hard not to. Lying on the gurney, his face turned upward, his eyes glazed and fixed, without activity. His upper arms lay against him, outside the sheet that covers his body, pale and white, motionless. The monitors are silent; the hospital staff has finished for now. Young and thin, pale and slightly contorted from his long exposure to the drug, it is hard to imagine this frail body as that of a young man in his late 20s. His bloodied and severed clothing litter the floor of the treatment area as though a great struggle had ensued, and in a way it had. ADN We Alaskans

Week of September 21, 2105

Wow!!! Los Angeles Officials Propose Spending $100 Million on Homelessness Emergency
Los Angeles officials said Tuesday that they would declare a state of emergency on homelessness and proposed spending $100m to reduce the number of people living on city streets. City council president Herb Wesson, members of the council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the plan outside City Hall – as homeless people dozed nearby on a lawn. “These are our fellow Angelinos,” the mayor said. “They are those who have no other place to go, and they are literally here where we work, a symbol our city’s intense crisis.”  ReaderSupportedNews.org/AP

Artist Brings Homelessness To Light With Thought-Provoking Collection of Signs
When Willie Baronet went on a cross-country adventure collecting cardboard signs made by the homeless, he never expected to eliminate his apprehension and discomfort with seeing them on the street. As an artist and professor in Dallas, Texas, Willie created the “We Are All Homeless Project” to raise awareness and learn more about each person he interacted with.  Hooplala.com

Week of September 14, 2015
Why Utah is Giving Homes to the Homeless
San Francisco’s homeless are harangued and despised while conservative Utah has a radically humane approach. Aeon Magazine brings its humane world view and exploration of big issues to the subject of homelessness. This is a great article complete with graphic novel vignettes of personal stories. We’ve posted several times before about Utah’s program, and this shows why with a fresh perspective. Aeon Magazine

Week of September 7, 2015
NYC Activists Push Back Against Anti-Homeless Crackdown
Dozens of protesters gathered in Harlem on September 9 to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Police Department end their recent crackdown on the city’s homeless population. The rally, organized by the homeless-led activist group Picture The Homeless along with numerous other organizations, was set up in response to the recent eviction of a homeless encampment on 125th Street and Park Avenue.

“We’re pushing back against the de Blasio administration and his Broken Windows policy,” said Nikita Price, the civil rights organizer for Picture The Homeless. “They’re targeting the poorest of the poor. What we do have is our dignity and you will not take that away.” Nationofchange.org

Richard Gere Brings Homelessness To The Big Screen
Actor Richard Gere has long been involved in issues of homelessness. In his new film, “Time Out of Mind,” the issue is front and center. Richard Gere produced and stars in the new movie “Time Out of Mind.” (Copyright © 2014 IFC in Theaters LLC. All rights reserved.) where he plays a man living on the streets of New York.

He tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that when he was in character, panhandling in New York City, “No one was paying attention to me, nobody… I could see people react to me as if I was a black hole that they would be sucked into… a black hole of failure.” The film opens in New York and Los Angeles this week. Here and Now

Week of August 24, 2015
Research commission examines mental health issues in the Arctic
When Alaska Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson parked her car in downtown Anchorage Monday and walked to the swanky Hotel Captain Cook for a meeting with prominent policymakers, she did what she always does when walking by down-and-out people living on the street.

“I looked at every single person that I passed,” Davidson told the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. “And, as always, I was looking for my sister.” ADN.com

Week of August 17, 2015
Homeless Alaskans reconnect with families through Facebook group
When Kevin Oozevaseuk’s family left their island village and visited Anchorage 700 miles away, they sometimes walked the streets downtown, asking panhandlers if they had seen their troubled 38-year-old relative. “He’s been homeless in Anchorage for years,” said his cousin, Michelle Kubalack. “No one was able to get in touch with him.” Oozevaseuk was found dead on a park bench July 2. But before he died, Oozevaseuk had made contact with family after his cousin tracked him down using an electronic network of Alaska families called Forget Me Not.

 

Week of August 10, 2015
It’s unconstitutional to ban the homeless from sleeping outside, the federal government says
We all need sleep, which is a fact of life but also a legally important point. Last week, the Department of Justice argued as much in a statement of interest it filed in a relatively obscure case in Boise, Idaho, that could impact how cities regulate and punish homelessness. Washington Post

Anchorage Hires Homelessness Coordinator Using State Funds
Anchorage is hiring a new coordinator for handling homelessness. Though the topic is usually framed as an urban issue, local politicians often complain the city is shouldering the burden of a state-wide problem. At a press conference Wednesday morning, Mayor Berkowitz told a room filled with social service providers that Anchorage has “about 2,000 neighbors” struggling with homelessness. “In some ways this is a classic Gordian Knot problem: how do you end homelessness?” Berkowitz asked. “You create homes.”  alaskapublic.org

Making a classroom a home, for homeless students
According to the Anchorage School District since the 2008-09 school year the Child in Transition/Homeless program has annually identified more than 2,000 ASD students that were homeless. The number of students increased steadily though the 2011-12 school year followed by a decrease in 2012-13 and 2013-14.  KTUU.com

Week of May 4, 2015

Robert Anderson sees homeless people as individuals, not problems
Because of the efforts of the former police officer, many people he came to know on the streets now have stable housing –  in a place and in a program he helped create. Christian Science Monitor

Week of April 27, 2015

Chronic homelessness in Utah down 91 percent under decade-long ‘Housing First’ initiative
Chronic homelessness in Utah has dropped 91 percent in the past decade under Utah’s “Housing First” initiative, state officials announced Tuesday.

Utah’s program places chronically homeless people in housing and supports them with services that help address the root causes of their homelessness such as physical and mental illness, substance abuse and addiction, low educational attainment, criminal records, or poor work histories. Desert News

Homeless People in Colorado Could Soon Have Their Own ‘Bill of Rights’

Homeless people in Colorado may soon be able to sleep in public without being subjected to police harassment if a new bill discussed Wednesday in the state’s legislature comes to pass.

The bill — dubbed the “Homeless Persons’ Bill of Rights” — is sponsored by Democratic Representatives Joe Salazar and Jovan Melton, along with Senator John Kefalas. According to the draft legislation, current Colorado laws “result in people in Colorado being criminally punished for doing what any person must do to survive.” Reader Supported News

Week of March 30, 2015

Alaska’s Housing Issues
Only 10 percent percent of the people in Alaska who experience homelessness are chronically homeless. Families and individuals often become homeless because they lost their jobs or the cost of housing is too high. So what can we do about it? Alaska Public Media, Talk of Alaska – March 31, 2015 Show

The Rise of the Working Poor and the Non-Working Rich
There is a widening inequality between the working poor and the non-working rich. The ideal that America’s growing inequality is often justified doesn’t hold up—instead, it’s undermining the moral foundations of American capitalism.   Many believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy. As Speaker John Boehner has said, the poor have a notion that “I really don’t have to work. I don’t really want to do this. I think I’d rather just sit around.”  In reality, a large and growing share of the nation’s poor work full time — sometimes sixty or more hours a week – yet still don’t earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Nation of Change

Week of March 23, 2015

Evictions Can Take Severe Long-Term Toll on Families
Millions of families across the United States are evicted each year. Yet, we know next to nothing about the impact eviction has on their lives. Focusing on low-income urban mothers, a population at high risk of eviction, this study is among the first to examine rigorously the consequences of involuntary displacement from housing…. Compared to matched mothers who were not evicted, mothers who were evicted in the previous year experienced more material hardship, were more likely to suffer from depression, reported worse health for themselves and their children, and reported more parenting stress.  Truthout

Week of March 16, 2015

Homeless teen mother works to complete high school
As the bell rings for lunchtime at Burchell High School, an alternative school in Wasilla, 19-year-old June Reed makes her way through crowded and noisy hallways, turning into the cafeteria to pick up her lunch. The line is long, but she takes her place in the very front. She’s able to cut in line, she says, because of her situation.

In another room at Burchell, Reed’s 2-year-old daughter Paloma waits for her mother to arrive with the lunch they share every day. Lunchtime is also when Paloma gets to play with her mother, before Reed’s next class.  KTUU TV

San Francisco Saint Mary’s Cathedral Drenches Homeless With Water To Keep Them Away
Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways. UPDATE: Archdiocese Apologizes, Will Remove Anti-Homeless Sprinkler System

The cathedral, at Geary and Gough, is the home church of the Archbishop. There are four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, that attract homeless people at night. KCBS San Francisco

Week of February 23, 2015

Alaska’s Homeless Youth (first of 3 parts)
What drives youth homelessness? In the first of a three-part series on teen homelessness in Alaska, Line One host Prentiss Pemberton and guests will delve in to what it’s like to live on the streets. In the first of three parts, we’ll hear from the Covenant House, a group that serves hundreds of homeless youth in Alaska each year. Part 2 comes up in March.  Line One

Moving Forward to Combat Youth Homelessness
Today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that he would offer the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA) as an amendment to legislation aimed at fighting human trafficking. RHYTPA was introduced by Senator Leahy and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) earlier this year to reauthorize important programs to combat youth homelessness.  HRC Blog

Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness for America’s Students and Families
In a recent video, the New York City Rescue Mission proved just how invisible America’s homeless are. Have the Homeless Become Invisible? illustrates the challenge. In this social experiment several people came face to face with their relatives and loved ones dressed as homeless persons on the streets of Soho. Not one individual recognized his or her loved ones. USDOE Homeroom

Malnourished Families Wait To Eat So Everyone Is Fed, Teach Us A Lesson In Compassion
Making sacrifices is an unavoidable part of daily life for impoverished people, but many families will do whatever it takes to not give up a beloved tradition. Across the globe, 805 million people struggle with hunger, but when poor families manage to scrape some food together, many make a point of sharing it only when all members of the clan can gather around the table.  Huff Post

How Libraries Are Adapting To Help Homeless Find Jobs, Health Services
Jeffery Bailey spends nearly every day at his public library. It’s not just that he loves books. For the 43-year-old who sleeps in a tent outside a local church, the library is pretty much the only place he can go that won’t charge him to provide safety, warmth, useful services and entertainment. Huff Post

Room for Improvement
IT’S EARLY DECEMBER, 10:30 in the morning, and Rene Zepeda is driving a Volunteers of America minivan around Salt Lake City, looking for reclusive homeless people, those camping out next to the railroad tracks or down by the river or up in the foothills. The winter has been unseasonably warm so far—it’s 60 degrees today—but the cold weather is coming and the van is stacked with sleeping bags, warm coats, thermal underwear, socks, boots, hats, hand warmers, protein bars, nutrition drinks, canned goods. By the end of the day, Rene says, it will all be gone. Mother Jones

Invisible People Update
I strongly believe that if the general public viewed our homeless neighbors as being the real people that they are, there wouldn’t be such humiliation and violence against people experiencing homelessness!  Invisiblepeople

After providers lobby, Walker reverses cuts to homeless programs
Advocates for the homeless in Alaska are rejoicing after Gov. Bill Walker released an updated budget proposal that restores funding for housing and homelessness services statewide. ADN.com

Week of February 16, 2015
Walker bumps up budget for ferries and homeless, saves money on Medicaid
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker released an updated budget proposal Wednesday that restored some $15 million for ferry service and homeless shelters that had been cut from his first budget package.  ADN.com

Aid to Needy Often Excludes the Poorest in America
The safety net helped keep Camille Saunders from falling, but not Charles Constance. The difference? Ms. Saunders has a job, and Mr. Constance does not. And therein lies a tale of a profound shift in government support for low-income Americans at a time when stagnating wages and unstable schedules have kept many workers living near or below the poverty line.  The nytimes.com

Week of February 9, 2015

Young, Homeless—and Invisible
An upcoming documentary reveals the important role schools and teachers play in keeping some teens off the streets.  The Atlantic

The Wrong Way to Fight Homelessness
Senators Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democrat, and Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican, have proposed a bill that would greatly expand the federal government’s definition of “homeless.” Merely redefining a problem, however, is an empty gesture unless it is accompanied by a concrete effort to address it. Bloombergview.com

Experts to lead panel discussion at EMU on LGBT youth homelessness
Eastern Michigan University’s Equality Research Center will host a panel discussion to talk about the rising number of homeless LGBT youth throughout the region and country. It will be held Feb. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. Nationally, of the total amount of homeless youth, somewhere between 20 and 40 percent identify with LGBT, while only 10 percent or less of youth in general identify as LGBT. mlive.com

Op-Ed: Changes at the MAC Could Help End Homelessness in Humboldt
From 3,000 miles away, I’ve followed Humboldt County’s growing struggle with chronic homelessness, and I’ve wanted to get involved and feel like I’m somehow still giving back to my community. When I read that Humboldt County will be redesigning its transitional housing program for families into a model that emphasizes Housing First and rapid re-housing, I finally saw these pie-in-the-sky federal policies I work on landing in my hometown, and it made me smile. lostcoastoutpost.com

Week of Feb. 2, 2015
Point in Time Count gives snapshot of homelessness in Anchorage but not whole picture
Each year communities across the nation participate in the Point in Time Count during the last 10 days in January. They’re trying to take a snapshot of homelessness by asking how many people slept on the streets or in shelters during one specific night. But the count only shows part of the picture.  KSKA

Cuts to Homeless Grants Threaten Shelters Statewide
A program that distributes millions of dollars a year to keep homeless and emergency shelters open across the state is nowhere to be seen in Governor Bill Walker’s budget, leaving dozens of organizations scrambling for the money they’ll need to keep their doors open. KNOM

Breaking New Ground For Homeless Native Veterans
American Indian and Alaska Natives are more at-risk for homelessness than others veterans, and a recent change to legislation is expanding a successful housing voucher program to directly serve tribal communities for the first time.  Mint Press News

New Orleans Becomes First US City to End Veteran Homelessness
The 71 communities participating in our Zero: 2016 initiative are setting their sights on an ambitious goal: ending veteran homelessness in the next 358 days. In a sign of hope, one community is celebrating that achievement a full year ahead of schedule. cmtysolutions.org

How A Simple Piece Of Technology Can Help Eradicate Homelessness
There’s a growing body of evidence saying that homelessness is solvable, and that the cost of doing so is cheaper than the alternative. The approach is called “Housing First”—which means placing individuals or families in permanent housing and providing support services. Housing First makes economic sense because the homeless are a burden on emergency rooms and other public resources. fastcoexist.com

Lawsuit Filed Against Fort Lauderdale For Anti-Homeless Feeding Ordinance
Arnold Abbott made national news when he was arrested last November for feeding homeless people. Now activists are filing suit against the city for their blatantly unconstitutional ordinance, and the arrests, fines and court appearances that were forced on him by officials. Mint Press News

Utah Set the Ambitious Goal to End Homelessness in 2015. It’s Closer Than Ever (first of four parts)
In this four-part series, NationSwell examines how Utah is faring in its quest to end homelessness with one simple idea. NationSwell
13 Images of Resilient Utah Residents Who Survived Being Homeless
(second of four parts)
Meet the Courageous Man Who Has Housed 1,393 Chronically Homeless Individuals in Utah
(third of four parts)
Far From Finished: Utah’s 5-Step Plan to Continue Helping the Homeless
 (fourth of four parts)
New committee seeks to end homelessness in the Valley
With few resources available, community members in the Mat-Su Valley are coming together to try and put an end to homelessness.  KTUU

Making a Difference: The Emergency Cold Weather Shelter at Central Lutheran Church
According to Beyond Shelter Steering Committee, during last years winter season coordinates the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter at Central Lutheran Church provided  emergency cold weather shelter for 86 families and so far this winter they have provided shelter for more than 30 families.   KTUU

Over 900,000 Homeless Kids Are Invisible to HUD. We Can Change That!
When I worked as an outreach case manager in Los Angeles, nothing was more heartbreaking than when I would have to turn a homeless family away because U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development didn’t feel the family was “homeless enough.”  Invisiblepeople.tv

Week of Jan. 19, 2015
Homeless, alcoholic and dependent on Anchorage’s fraying and expensive safety net (First of three parts)
In the early winter darkness, five firefighters approached a woman.  “How are you doing?” a paramedic asked.  The woman squinted through puffy eyelids. “I’m drunk,” she said.  That interaction began a night in which the woman cycled through an ambulance, a hospital emergency room and a van to the city sleep-off center. Each step cost the city and the health-care system, but left her no better off than before.  Most of Anchorage’s homeless are not alcoholics.  But a large proportion  — about 20 percent, according to a 2014 “point in time” study that surveyed the city on a single night in January 2014 — exists at the confluence of chronic homelessness and addiction. The group that city officials call “chronic public inebriates” fluctuates in size, but doesn’t top 400 people.  ADN.com

Addiction, survival and love on Anchorage streets (Second of three parts)
Daniel Sopcak and Betty Sanchez are married, homeless and struggling with alcohol in Anchorage. Their days are a window into a rough, often invisible world.  ADN.com

The search for solutions (Third of three parts)
Every day, outreach workers try to lift homeless alcoholics from Anchorage streets. In the past, a sober life has always been the goal. But a controversial approach called Housing First is challenging that thinking.  ADN.com

Affordable housing design? West High grad leads the way!
Marianne Cusato’s alternative to the FEMA trailer, the award-winning Katrina Cottage, led Congress to appropriate $400 million for an Alternative Housing Pilot Program, which resulted in the construction of over 3000 homes along the Gulf Coast.

Marianne is working with Clayton Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, to develop modular housing solutions that can be implemented to help rebuild after natural disasters. Her designs were among those selected by Rebuilding Union Beach, founded by local city government to rebuild their town after Superstorm Sandy. This demonstration project incorporates a variety of modular homes of modest size built for storm victims with limited funds. Check out her award-winning affordable housing designs.  Anchorage Citizen’s Coalition

Week of Jan. 12, 2015
Utah Gives Homes To The Homeless As Arctic Temperatures Bring Suffering
With number of people without permanent housing rising nationwide and services for them falling, near-zero temperatures put thousands at severe risk.  Mint Press News

Getting Personal About Homelessness
As I think about cold winter weather, I always remember that there is a population of homeless people who are truly at risk when exposed to the elements. With much of the U.S. facing another round of unusually cold temperatures (even for January) I’d like to share some of the ways that people are finding to help.  Huff Post

Week of December 15, 2014
The UK Is Outlawing Homelessness
The number of people arrested for begging in London has doubled in recent years, alongside increases in the numbers of people sleeping on the streets. Yet new legislation to criminalize aspects of homelessness targets the symptoms, not the issues fueling them.  Mintpress

Down and Out in Anchorage
Being homeless in Anchorage is like nowhere else in America. Winter temperatures can drop below -20. It’s not uncommon to lose your life or limbs. Twelve died last year. Few have seen their world…  A story from last year, but relevant this year as well.  The Weather Channel

From Super Bowl Champion to Homeless Retiree
Once a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and a Super Bowl champion, Terry Tautolo has spent his retirement from football in and out of homelessness. His family and friends blame his tragic decline and battle with substance abuse on the multiple concussions he sustained during his 9-year NFL career.  The Scene

Week of December 8, 2014
Anchorage community gives input on Anchorage plan to end homelessness
The Municipality is developing a new community plan to end homelessness in Anchorage. During a listening session held November 18, about 20 people gathered to discuss possible solutions to the decades old problem. ADN

How to make sleeping mats for the homeless from plastic bags
Groups across the country are banding together to crochet tens of thousands of plastic bags into portable, lightweight, and water-resistant mats that provide an extra layer of protection between homeless individuals and the cold, hard ground. And you can do the same.  NationSwell

Week of November 17, 2014
Pencils, Books, and No Home: Alaska’s Homeless Students Number In the Thousands
Alaska schools had over 3,900 homeless students enrolled during 2012-2013 school year, ranging from preschool to grade 12, according to the State Department of Education and Early Development. This is how the numbers break down by age group:

*Include Mat-Su, total is 258. **“Mat-Su has by far had the largest growth in homelssness,” said Streeter.

*Include Mat-Su, total is 258.
**“Mat-Su has by far had the largest growth in homelssness,” said Streeter.  Alaska Commons

Study: More Homeless Children Now Than Any Point In US History
The annual levels of homelessness among children have never been higher in the United States, according to a new comprehensive report released on Monday.  Prepared by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the report—America’s Youngest Outcasts (pdf)—shows that with poverty and inequality soaring in recent years, approximately 2.5 million children in 2013 found themselves without a roof over their head or place to call home.  MintPress

VIDEO: 90 Year Old Florida Man Arrested For Third Time For Feeding The Homeless
“All I am trying to do is allow the homeless to have the same rights as everybody else.  I fought 50 years of my life for civil rights.  I spent two-and-one-half years in combat in World War II.  I knew what I was fighting for then and I know what I’m fighting for now.”

Week of November 10, 2014
Can tech companies help solve this chronic problem?
 San Francisco is a city of paradoxes.  Walking around, you can see evidence of the booming tech scene and expensively-clad citizens, yet it also has a chronic homelessness problem.  But the City by the Bay finally thinks it may have a solution by combining the needs of both the homeless and corporations: tax breaks for community projects.  NationSwell

California City Bans Homeless From Sleeping Outside
Last week, the city council of Manteca, CA unanimously passed two ordinances aimed at clearing out the homeless population.  One will ban people from sleeping or setting up encampments on any public or private property as of December 4, although the homeless won’t be jailed or fined. It will, however, allow the police to tear down any homeless sleeping areas as soon as they appear without having to be invited by the property owner, as was the case previously.  Explaining why the ordinance is necessary, Police Chief Nick Obligacion said, “The goal is actually to correct the wrong. So, if the correction is them leaving Manteca, then that’s their choice.” He also opposes any sort of shelter for the homeless.  ThinkProgress

Criminalizing Homelessness Is the Worst Way to Help the Homeless
The United States has a storied history of attempting to criminalize things that its more conservative members find unpleasant, with the hope that they will disappear, willed out of existence. Homosexuality and marijuana come to mind as more recently failed efforts. Homelessness, however, is one phenomenon for which criminalization retains strong support.  .Mic

Veterans Day 2014: Vets Face Challenges Despite Improvements In Jobless Rates, Homelessness
Government officials also say there are fewer homeless veterans than in past years. A recent count found that 50,000 veterans are homeless, a 10 percent drop from 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported last month in its annual homeless assessment. By contrast, the total U.S. homeless population of 580,000 people fell by about 2 percent from last year.  International Business Times

Communities Struggle To Reach Homeless Students Living In The Shadow
It’s late afternoon and the day has just ended at a Los Angeles school. Students are making their way toward the parking lot, where a dusty 2001 Ford Taurus stands out among the shiny SUVs filled with waiting parents.  Kids walk by and stare. In the backseat of the Taurus, James, a tall 14-year-old boy in a checkered shirt, smiles. He is familiar with the stares.  He never told anyone that he was once homeless, but they knew. It’s hard to hide homelessness from other kids, he says. They want to know why you’re wearing the same shirt and why you look tired.  More than 1.1 million public school students in the United States do not have permanent homes, according to data compiled by the Department of Education.  NPR

Week of November 3, 2014
From Super Bowl Champion to Homeless Retiree
Once a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and a Super Bowl champion, Terry Tautolo has spent his retirement from football in and out of homelessness. His family and friends blame his tragic decline and battle with substance abuse on the multiple concussions he sustained during his 9-year NFL career.  The Scene

New Orleans recognized for decreasing veteran homelessness
New Orleans’ success at reducing the number of homeless veterans by 62 percent over the past three years and staying on target to end veteran homelessness by the year’s end was recognized Monday (Nov. 3) by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.  NOLA

The Number Of Homeless Veterans Really Is Falling
The number of homeless veterans in the United States has fallen 33 percent since 2010, to just under 50,000 as of January. The number of homeless veterans sleeping in the street, as opposed to in shelters, fell even faster, down nearly 40 percent over the past four years.  FiveThirtyEight.com

90-year-old among first charged under Fort Lauderdale’s strict rules against feeding homeless
Fort Lauderdale police say Arnold Abbott violated a new city law, but the 90-year-old homeless advocate says his only crime was to “love thy neighbor.” Abbott was charged Sunday along with two local pastors with violating the city’s new ordinance that effectively bans giving out food in public. He faces 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, and he intends to get cited again Wednesday night, when he sets out to feed some of the Florida city’s estimated 10,000 homeless on a public beach.  Fox News

Week of October 27, 2014
Homelessness in the World’s Largest City Just Hit a Record Low
The number of homeless residents in New York City, the largest city in the United States, reached a record high this month at more than 56,000 people. Halfway around the world, another metropolis recently hit a homeless record of its own: just 1,697 people are currently homeless in Tokyo.  Nation of Change

L.A.’s Amenity-Filled Way of Tackling Homelessness
Los Angeles says every citizen should have more than just a roof and four walls.  NationSwell

Millions Struggle To Get Enough To Eat Despite Jobs Returning
The number of U.S. families that struggled to get enough to eat last year was essentially unchanged from the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest report on “food security.  NPR

Week of October 20, 2014
More Cities Are Making It Illegal To Hand Out Food To The Homeless

According to a report released Monday by the National Coalition for the Homeless, 21 cities have passed measures aimed at restricting the people who feed the homeless since January 2013.  NPR

Woman Starts A Company To Make Multi-Purpose Coats For Homeless
She started off trying to help people in need feel more comfortable. What she ended up doing was changing lives. Rather than a temporary solution, she found a way to have a lasting impact on the people she seeks to serve.

Number of homeless students reaches new record, 1.26 million
According to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Education, 1,258,182 students enrolled in public schools across the country were homeless in 2012-13. Of those, 75,940 were unaccompanied youths living on their own; 200,950 had disabilities. NEA

Week of October 6, 2014
Utah praised for initiative to end chronic homelessness
Utah is making national headlines for a successful initiative to end chronic homelessness — it’s down 72 percent since 2005 — as the 11th Annual Utah Homeless Summit convenes Wednesday in Salt Lake City.  Salt Lake Tribune

Week of September 29, 2014
Allan Law Handed out 520,000 Sandwiches on the Streets of Minneapolis Last Year
He is on a mission to feed hungry people in his city, one sandwich at a time. The retired schoolteacher has spent the last 14 years making and delivering sandwiches, along with other essential supplies, to the homeless and hungry on the streets of Minneapolis.  Nationswell

Week of September 15, 2014

Local Youth Lockout Raises Awareness Of Homelessness
Lots of churches have lock-ins for their youth, but a lockout – scheduled for Friday – is aimed at helping youth see what those regularly “locked out,” the homeless, experience.  The Neman Times-Herald

Honolulu Homelessness: Out of Sight
As the Honolulu City Council voted to approve new measures that would arguably criminalize homelessness, local advocates react to Mayor Caldwell’s proposal to move homeless people to an encampment on Sand Island.  Honolulu Pod Squad

Tails of endearment
Nikiski teen gets scholarship for community service with reindeer.  She organizes photo opportunities with her two reindeer to raise money for homeless youth.  From The Juneau Empire and Morris News Service Alaska

Week of September 8, 2014

The Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families
While life gets better for millions of gays, the number of homeless LGBT teens – many cast out by their religious families – quietly keeps growing.  From Rolling Stone

Ever Wondered What To Say To A Homeless Person? Here Are 5 Things to Say And 5 Things Not to Say
The right words can make a big difference when talking to someone living on the streets. Next time you see someone in crisis, show compassion by following these scripts.  When you see a homeless person, what do you do?  Most of us tend to have the same response: We avoid eye contact and walk a little faster.  But you might also ponder the situation, thinking to yourself, What’s his story?  How did this happen to her?  How long have they lived on the streets?  Maybe you even wanted to help, but didn’t know how to start a conversation.  From: Nationswell, Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Nation’s Poor Remain Hungry As Wall Street Feasts
Persistent rates of food insecurity reveal vast inequities of so-called “economic recovery” in US, say anti-poverty advocates. Critics and anti-poverty advocates are questioning the so-called economic recovery as a USDA study (PDF) published Wednesday revealed that while the nation’s wealthiest enjoyed record gains, nearly 50 million Americans continue to struggled with food insecurity in 2013. From Mint Press and Common Dreams

Week of September 1, 2014

Are Storage Units the Key to Reducing Homelessness?
San Diego’s Transitional Storage Center gives those without homes a place to stash their stuff.  Anyone that has moved can attest to the difficulty of moving your possessions from one place to another.  But for the homeless, not only is hauling around their stuff a physical challenge, but also a blow to any sense of stability or dignity. From: Nationswell.com

Introducing the Nonprofit Whose Mission Is to Help High School Dropouts and the Homeless
 The Youth Build program that has been supported by the Skoll Foundation, over 120,000 low-income young people who had previously left high school without a diploma in 273 American communities have produced over 23,000 units of affordable housing while attending a YouthBuild school where they study for their high school equivalency diploma. From: CS Monitor.com

First-person account: The attempts to help one Colorado Springs homeless man change his ways
Standing in the chilly dark, under the bridge at 31st Street and West Colorado Avenue that he calls home, Calvin Muzzy described his hopes for the future: a warm, bright apartment he’ll share with his best friend, Pete Hill.  From: The Gazette.com

The Food Gap Is Widening
Nutritional disparities between America’s rich and poor are growing, despite efforts to provide higher-quality food to people who most need it. So says a large study just released from the Harvard School of Public Health.  From: The Atlantic.com

Week of August 25, 2014

Who’s hungry in Alaska?
One in seven Alaskans, and one in five children, routinely go hungry in our state. How does Alaska bridge that gap in the food and nutrition network?  KSKA: Thursday, August 28, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m.

From homeless teen mom to doctor: Anchorage woman overcomes obstacles
April DeLira wasn’t yet a teenager when she became homeless in Anchorage. She was just starting high school when she found out she was pregnant.  Today, though, her life is much different: She’s a resident physician in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis. She got married four years ago and now has two children, a 3-year-old daughter and her 20-year-old son, Casey.  From adn.com

What does ‘Home’ even mean?
Willie Baronet is on a 30-day, cross-country road trip from Seattle to New York, buying up homeless signs and exploring the meaning of ‘home.’ He’s been buying signs from the homeless for over 20 years,.  From Dailygood.org

A LITTLE KNOWN ROBIN WILLIAMS STORY
Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider.  From Brianlord.com

Not Everything Is Bigger in Texas: Austin Is Building Tiny Houses for the Homeless
With their small size and stylish appearance, tiny houses have become a mainstay of the movement to downsize and live sustainably. Now, as a part of Community First Village, a to-be-created project in the Austin, Texas, area, the compact living solutions are about to become housing for the homeless.  From Takepart.com

Anchorage homeless evicted from illegal camps face many questions
He calls himself Disciple and he’s been camping illegally in the woods near Chester Creek for “three maybe four months,” he says. Thursday night, Anchorage police told him and his fiancé, Aaron Hensley, they had to go.  From KTVA

Anchorage Assembly forms committee on substance abuse, homelessness
The Anchorage Assembly has formed a new committee aimed at tackling the deep-rooted community issues of alcohol, drug abuse and chronic homelessness in Alaska’s largest city.  From adn.com

Week of August 18, 2014

Stylist Who Spends Every Sunday Cutting Hair For Homeless: “Every Human Life Is Worth The Same”
Mark Bustos is a hair stylist at an upscale salon in New York City who spends every Sunday — his only day off from work — venturing through the city in search of anyone in need who’d appreciate a haircut. Approaching each person with the same, simple phrase — “I want to do something nice for you today” — Bustos provides cuts to up to six people every Sunday.  From Huff Post

The New Face of Hunger in America
In a recent piece published by National Geographic titled “The New Face of Hunger,” the venerable magazine takes a look at how hunger and malnutrition have spread across the richest country in the world in the wake of the Great Recession. In America today 1 out of 6 people do not have enough food to eat. Millions of American families, reports National Geographic, do not know where their next meal is going to come from. Moreover, while poverty has been racialized by the media to lead most to think that this a problem of race, not class, the reality is that “more than half of hungry households are white, and two-thirds of those with children have at least one working adult — typically in a full-time job.”  From mint press.com.

Watch Robin William’s Congressional Testimony on Preventing Homelessness
Thank you Robin – Rest in Peace, Robin Williams: a comic legend who used his talents and influence to make the world a better place, particularly for those experiencing homelessness.  Watch his 1990 testimony before Congress on preventing homelessness.

Couple opens coffee shop to hire the homeless
Seth and Kelly Kelley want to prove that a for-profit business can work for a higher purpose.The couple opened Redtail Coffee at the South Transit Center this spring to provide employment opportunities to the residents of Redtail Ponds, a housing project for homeless and low-income individuals.

INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Causes of Homelessness
You can’t stereotype homelessness today. It isn’t just men. It isn’t just adults. Yes, addiction plays a big role in landing people on the streets, but there are plenty of homeless men and women without an alcohol or drug problem, and with jobs. So, what does cause homelessness? Check out the Portland Rescue Mission’s “10 Causes of Homelessness” infographic to find out. 

Week of August 4, 2014

Lawmakers Laud New Haven’s Effort To End Homelessness
Advocates who launched an effort in April to line up housing and support services for the city’s homeless said Tuesday their new, more systematic approach has been far more successful than in the past.

Data-Driven Strategies for Reducing Homelessness
With so many American cities working to address homelessness, there is no shortage of innovative thinking about this urgent challenge.

Week of July 30, 2014
10 Cities Worldwide That Are Working To Win Their Wars Against Homelessness
Here are a few examples of local initiatives around the world that prove concrete action — however big or small — is where change starts. These groups are helping homeless people in their own backyards through innovative thinking and unrelenting compassion.

Handmade Signs From Homeless People Lead To Art, Understanding
Artist Willie Baronet is on a 24-city, 31-day trek from Seattle, Wash. to New York City looking for supplies. He’s been buying handmade signs from homeless people for an art project called We Are All Homeless. Those signs are little more than a peripheral blur for many people. Baronet wants us to slow down, read them and understand.

Week of July 8, 2104
Bikecamper specially developed for homeless people, refugees and urban nomads
The Housetrike is multi-functional and practical for almost everybody who is living without a roof above their head. It is a device solving their basic needs, both physical and mental. So it is a bed that can be locked from the inside so you sleep well and feel fresh the next day.

Week of June 16, 2014
At The Head Of Her Class, And Homeless
On Wednesday, Rashema Melson will graduate at the top of her class as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C. She’s headed to Georgetown University this fall on a full scholarship.

Melson has excelled at her homework — but for the past six years, she hasn’t had a home to do that work in. She currently lives in the D.C. General homeless shelter, along with her mother and two brothers. The shelter houses up to 300 adults and 500 children and hascome under scrutiny for its poor conditions.

Homeless Teen Crowdsources His College Dream
Formerly homeless teenager James Ward raised money online to pay for his tuition and expenses at Howard University.

While homeless, Ward and his mentor Jessica Sutherland launched the online campaign Homeless to Howard. Sutherland, a formerly homeless teen herself, graduated from college and met Ward when she spoke at the mission where he lived.

Week of June 16, 2014
Anchorage NeighborWorks hopes to house homeless
A local nonprofit is hoping to help veterans who are struggling with housing, especially those who are homeless.

Homelessness being criminalized in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood? Advocacy group says yes
A recent post about the Ballpark Neighborhood Association opposing a homeless-day-center proposal prompted a huge debate among Westword readers, with residents decrying a homelessness situation that’s allegedly getting out of control pitted against folks who feel people down on their luck are being ostracized and turned into scapegoats for endemic societal problems.

Week of June 9, 2014

A Rational Response To Homelessness – It’s ACTUALLY Happening!
In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.

In 33 U.S. Cities, It’s Illegal to Do the One Thing That Helps the Homeless Most
In case the United States’ problem with homelessness wasn’t bad enough, a forthcoming National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) report says that 33 U.S. cities now ban or are considering banning the practice of sharing food with homeless people.

Sidewalk Pop-Up Store Offers Free Clothes To The Homeless
The Street Store consists of a series of multifunctional cardboard posters that turn an ordinary sidewalk or fence into a shop display. Some of the posters have a hole in them, that allow people to use them as cloth hangers. The project asks citizens to donate clothes and shoes they don’t wear and leave them ‘in’ the shop so the homeless can pick them up.

Week of June 2, 2014

Why Did this Mayor Spend the Night in a Box?
Stockton, California’s Mayor Anthony Silva is on a quest to help the city’s homeless.

Week of May 12, 2014

What Will Happen To Homeless Vets When VA Declares Vet Homelessness ‘Over’ Next Year?
What’s the secret to ending vet homelessness?  It’s actually no secret at all.  It’s an approach that’s long been heralded by advocates across the board called “Housing First,” the National Alliance to End Homelessness noted in a recent blog post.  In short, the approach pushes first giving shelter, then dealing with a person’s individual substance abuse, medical and job unemployment issues after.

Week of April 28, 2014

Testing the neighborhood for sympathy
Videotaping a well off neighborhood for sympathy with a boy holding a sign asking for help to feed his sister.

Watch: Now You Can See Which Restaurants Help Feed the Hungry
The Food Recovery Network delivers food from college cafeterias to the hungry before it’s thrown out. The nonprofit’s new certification program aims to recognize and reward restaurants, caterers and dining halls across the country that donate their leftovers.

People Disguised As Homeless Ignored By Loved Ones On Street
in Stunning Social Experiment
If a family member posed as a homeless person, would you recognize him or her? That’s the question a new campaign — Make Them Visible — is asking.

The Disturbing Link Between Brain Injury & Homelessness
A new study finds that almost half of homeless men surveyed suffered a traumatic brain injury in the past — most of which occurred before the men lost their homes.

The tourist who gave ‘hobo’ Gere pizza
A French mom revealed herself as the mystery do-gooder who gave ­Richard Gere food without realizing the actor was only playing the role of a homeless man 

Week of April 21, 2014

Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community
A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church. The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Fort Lauderdale Will Magically Fix Homelessness By Stealing Homeless People’s Stuff, Basically
The city of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is on the cusp of passing a new regulation that would make it illegal for anyone to store their personal things on public property.

Foster families find and share support with elders at Oregon housing community
At a special housing development in Oregon, families who adopt foster children live side by side with seniors who volunteer their time in exchange for affordable rent.

Week of April 7, 2014
‘No-sell’ list of Anchorage drinkers, money for treatment win Senate support – Read more about the proposal here on the State of Intoxication blog, and in Julia O’Malley’s weekend opinion column.

The Unique Way That Charlotte Houses Its Homeless – The controversial move is saving the city millions, $1.8 million annually!
 
Week of March 31, 2014

Homeless Shelter Surprised With Five Course Meal
A homeless shelter and its residents are surprised with a five course meal provided by a team of volunteers.

How You Can Help the Homeless with a Push of a Button
A San Francisco-based startup has created a new online platform called HandUp that allows donors to directly help a homeless person through text messaging or web donations

Week of March 24, 2014
Homeless In San Francisco? There’s An App For That
High tech helps the homeless.  There’s now an ap that helps the homeless find services in San Francisco.  The Saint Anthony Foundation and Zendesk created it after finding that nearly 40 percent of the lower income or homeless men and women using the Saint Anthony’s Tenderloin Technology Lab had mobile phones.

 

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