Ending Homelessness Today — News Clips
MSNBC Covers Youth Homelessness
January 29, 2013
As volunteers across the country take part in their communies' Point-In-Time Counts, braving lousy weather and chilly temperatures, walking streets well after midnight in an effort to find and count unsheltered persons experiencing homelessness, the media has taken notice.
This week and last week articles about local counts have been popping up in newspapers all over the country, and recently, the Alliance President and CEO Nan Roman spoke with Nevada Public Radio about homelessness and the PIT Count in Las Vegas. Also, one of the Alliance's guest bloggers, Jimmy Ramirez, a formerly homeless youth appeared on MSNBC, when the Melissa Harris-Perry show did a segment on youth homelessness.
Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Recovering from Disasters, Supporting our Veterans
September 02, 2011
This week, while some communities were still cleaning up after Hurricane Irene, we also paused to reflect on the six year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana.
Those unaffected by Katrina may be surprised to learn that many people who lost their homes as a result of the hurricane are still living in makeshift homes and abandoned buildings. Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, said this week that coming together to help after disasters “is what being a nation is about.” I couldn’t agree more that as a nation we need to make sure that those still recovering from Katrina, the tornados in Joplin, and other disasters receive the help they need, and that we are prepared for a disaster before it strikes.
The state of our veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were also heavily discussed in the news this week, due to a speech President Obama gave at the American Legion national convention on Tuesday. In this address, the president discussed the federal government’s commitment to better support veterans when they return home, noting “that includes making sure that federal agencies are working together so that every veteran who fought for America has a home in America.” He also pledged to protect programs that assist veterans from budget cuts.
“We cannot, will not, and we must not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans,” Obama said.
Also of note: NPR launched a se... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Family, Youth, and Chronic Homelessness
August 26, 2011
Our Friday news Roundup is broken down today by some of the issue areas the Alliance works on:
Still not convinced that permanent supportive housing is the solution to chronic homelessness? Check out this story from Cleveland, Ohio and this recently published study from Australia.
The Reading Eagle out of Pennsylvania took an in-depth look at the rise in family homelessness, and the barriers some families face in finding affordable housing.
Annie Lowrey suggests one way to help the long-term unemployed is to bring back the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF). The program expired last September, which this very blog called “a low down dirty shame.”
This week, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a report finding that the child poverty rate increased 18% between 2000 and 2009, returning to the level of the early 1990s.
Monday will be back to school for many students across the country. The Tallahassee Democrat looks into what that means for students who don’t have a place to call home.
Did we miss any important news this week? Tell us in the comments!... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: AHAR Sheds Light on HPRP and Rural Homelessness
June 17, 2011
This week HUD released their Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, showing that that homelessness went up one percent overall from 2009 to 2010. Our President Nan Roman was on NPR earlier this week and wrote a piece for The Hill today discussing what this means in light of the recession and proposed cuts to assistance programs.
We noticed a lot of discussion, and rightly so, on the AHAR’s report that people using shelters or transitional housing in suburban and rural areas increased 57 percent from 2007 to 2010. It is great to seen rural homelessness getting some press, because homelessness is often seen as mainly an urban problem. (More on in the next couple weeks.)
In the foreword to the AHAR, Secretary Shaun Donovan pointed to the stimulus funded Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program’s (HPRP) impact. In this blog we pointed out that this three-year program ends next year, leaving a big hole in the budgets of many local homeless assistance programs. The Center for American Progress’ Think Progress blog argued this shows greater investment is needed during economic downturns.
As a final note, the Washington Post covered the great job our neighbors in Fairfax County are doing to end homelessness.... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Vets, state budgets, and politics
June 10, 2011
Perhaps the biggest news this week was that the lawsuit between the ACLU and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Over land in Los Angeles, the ACLU is alleging that the land, deed to the VA to provide housing for homeless veterans, is not being used as it was intended. The NYT offered an editorial about the situation this week.
Secretary Shaun Donovan had a thing or two to say about veteran homelessness on the HUD blog, The HUDdle. Writing about his experience before the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, he called the effort to end homeless veterans, “beyond political” – a sentiment that we can all get behind.
But some things are political.
According to a piece in the NYT, state judiciaries are getting into the game of balancing state budgets. As governors and legislators try to balance their budgets, some are being taken to court over their decisions. And some judiciaries are reversing budget decisions, compelling lawmakers to respect constitutional standards despite their empty pocketbooks.
And the effects of these decisions are tangible at the local level. Today, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran a touching story about the impact of reduced assistance on one crisis center serving far too many people and families experiencing homelessness. While the staff there clearly does what they can, slashed budgets – and an end to rent subsidies – are leaving people with few, if any, options.
For more news clips from the week, check out the Allia... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: HUD, SF/DC, and LGBTQ youth homelessness
May 20, 2011
The unavoidable story of the week was the Washington Post series on the HUD HOME Program. We wrote about it earlier this week and pointed to some organizations that refuted the article’s accusations (including a blogpost directly from HUD). Other organizations have come out to respond to the article but we want to know your response: what do you think of this series and what it says about the housing program?
In other news, our good friend Judy Lightfoot highlighted the work of our colleagues at Building Changes in Washington. The organization is working with homeless families to make strides toward employment – a key element to both ending homelessness and gaining economic self-sufficiency.
Both San Francisco and DC are facing some troubles as local counts and the local budget – respectively - point to continued challenges in ending homelessness. San Francisco continues their ongoing battles to reduce homelessness despite economic hurdles and DC fights to maintain local funding for homeless assistance programs.
Late last week, Sen. John Kerry introduced a bill in the Senate that would, among other things, help fight LGBTQ youth homelessness. We’ve long talked about how youth homelessness has been an overlooked problem in the field – and certainly the same notion applies to LGBTQ youth homelessness. We’re excited to work on this new legislation; we’ll keep writing about it as events progress.
Happy Friday!... Read More »
WaPo launches a series about the HOME Program
May 17, 2011
As you undoubtedly caught in this past weekend’s Washington Post, the newspaper is doing a series of articles about the HOME Program run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The series kicked off with a biting piece unveiling what the writer describes as a “dysfunctional system that delivers billions of dollars to local housing agencies with few rules, safeguards, or even a reliable way to track projects.”
Affordable housing advocates and other homelessness and housing community members talked back, offering counter arguments.
The National League of Cities underlines both the risks HUD takes in creating affordable housing and the many successes the department has had.
The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities calls the series “off target” emphasizing both the urgent need for affordable housing and the role HUD programs play in creating them for low-income families.
And finally, HUD comes to it’s own defense on the department blog, announcing that The HOME Program works!
The piece created a strong buzz in the housing community and will hopefully create a healthy dialogue about the imperative need for affordable housing and innovative new ways to meet that need.
The Post writer herself takes a first stab at illustrating the need with her accompanying story about a mother’s route from homeless to home, the story of a young woman and her fraught efforts to acquire affordable housing. The story illuminated a point that often gets lost: afforda... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Having our Voices Heard
April 15, 2011
The biggest news item this week occurred when debate over the federal budget finally ended on Thursday when Congress passed the spending bill that cut $38 billion from FY 2011. (Stay tuned, on Monday we will discuss the bill in greater depth.)
Throughout the debate process one thing remained clear to us at the Alliance – homelessness advocates will have their voices heard.
Cathy ten Broeke from the Office to End Homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin County composed a powerful argument for why ending homelessness is not only the right thing to do, but also the fiscally responsible thing to do.
Another excellent opinion piece was authored this week by Former Sen. Tom Daschle and the Hon. Linda Hall Daschle. The Daschle’s wrote about the strides that N Street Village – where Alliance staff members volunteer from time to time – have made toward ending homelessness, in particular, N Street’s successful housing model that integrates housing and health services for women.
On the topic of women, there was an NPR story about a report by Wider Opportunities for Women that found the minimum income workers need to attain basic economic security is about three times more than the federal poverty line. What was the biggest expense among the majority of people studied? Unsurprisingly, housing and utilities.
Finally, a few other stories of note:
Results from the 2011 point in time counts from Metropolitan Washington, D.C. are out. Overall, there were 11,988 homeless people, up from 11,7... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Check Us Out
April 01, 2011
So, I could tell you that the week’s news has been about budgets and housing – again. I could tell you that writers from Providence, RI and Passaic County, NJ and Los Angeles, CA are discussing the role that budgets will play on housing for low-income people. And that there was a pretty cool opinion piece penned by VA Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs L. Tammy Duckworth about assisting women veterans returning from service.
But it’s pretty much the same old, same old so I’ll tell you about some cool things the Alliance is doing.
We’re publishing a series on “Notes from the Field” on the blog – you may have caught the first and second postings. The CAP team at the Alliance wants to share with you things that they’ve found while working on-the-ground with communities.
We’re administering a survey! Help us out my taking this 5 minute, 10-question survey about advocacy around homelessness issues – and pass it on to a friend!Check out the library. We’re always updating our website with new documents, resources, and tools to help communities end homelessness. Items of note: our new domestic violence brief, information about health care reform, and the Advocacy Toolkit.
Check them out! ... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Did you expect something other than budgets?
March 25, 2011
So good news first.
Evidently, Newport is doing something right. The small Rhode Island community has reduced chronic homelessness by half utilizing the Housing First strategy and a collaboration of six agencies and churches is aiming to end chronic homelessness in Newport and other small surrounding communities. It’s like the good program director says, ““It’s not rocket science. Homeless people need homes. ”
This message, unfortunately, is being lost among those in charge of our city, state, and federal budgets. It’s no secret by now – we’ve been writing about it for months now! – that everyone feels up against the wall trying to stay in the black. But the choices our leaders are being forced to make are cringe-worthy indeed, from reducing housing vouchers for veterans, to eliminating food stamps and cash assistance, to downsizing state safety nets for the poor. While it’s clear that all of us will have to compromise to preserve the greater good, certainly we don’t have to balance the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors – right?
Speaking of, two more quick hits to round out the week.
There was an interesting post in the Atlantic asking “should you give money to homeless people?” And in the Nation, there was an summary about US poverty rates. (We actually blogged about it yesterday.)
Check those out and let us know what you think!... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: The Components of Homelessness
March 04, 2011
This week the news media has focused on the essentials of our field: housing, data, populations, and public policy.
Let’s start right in the District. In her column, Michelle Singletary cited our own report to discuss people spending more than 50 percent of their monthly income on rent - what is called a "severe housing cost burden" - a situation that can put people at risk of homelessness.
From Tiffin, OH, the Advertiser-Tribune discussed a sticky situation concerning data collection, showing that data collection methodology should be examined as it affects count accuracy. Perhaps a dry topic for a news article, but methodology is a central component of learning about homelessness, especially at the community level.
Then there was a flurry of reports about different populations experiencing homelessness.
Both the Sacramento Bee and CNN covered veteran homelessness. The Bee zoomed in the challenges specific to women returning from combat and CNN took their turn examining the potential ramifications of federal budget cuts to vulnerable veterans (stay tuned). The Medill News Service also took a crack at state budgets and the potential impact reductions will have on homeless youth. (They’re projecting pronounced increases). And New America Media traveled to the other end of the spectrum writing about elderly people living in poverty, at risk of homelessness, while raising their own grandchildren. (Which comes as no surprise.)
Predictably, there were scant few articles about solutions but there does seem to be good... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Local counts, SPENT, and the Alliance conference
February 11, 2011
So this week, we saw a lot of articles about community point-in-time counts - and the increases and decreases that officials found. It also lead to some discussion about what localities are going to do about homelessness in their neighborhoods. Both Kansas City and Seattle are dealing with homeless camps, Northern California suburb San Ramon is considering creating a housing authority, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee (R – RI) has announced his intent to reactivate the state’s Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Take Part blogged about that great game we’ve been promoting all week, SPENT. The interactive tool (that we wrote about earlier this week) is a great way to learn about the decisions that low-income and people at-risk of homelessness face.
And of course, this was the week of our National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness. We were so excited for all the great speakers, workshops, and events - and we’re proud to report that we weren’t the only ones! The Oakland Tribune and the local NPR affiliate, KQED also took notice of the great work all of you guys are doing to end family homelessness.
... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: the PIT counts!
January 28, 2011
Happy Friday, friends!
So, we could continue to flout the continued coverage of our newest report - The State of Homelessness in American (wink, wink!) – but I trust you’ve grown weary of our obsessive affection for that report. And rest assured, we’ll have plenty more posts about the report from friends and fans alike!
Homelessness news this week – no big surprise here – was all about community point-in-time (PIT) counts. (And snow.) Projected numbers, need for volunteers, implications on governments – local media covered the story from all angles.
The Review Journal in Las Vegas projected an increase in their count; the opposite was true according to WBUR-FM in Boston, which reported a dip in their numbers.
The community papers in Montgomery, AL and Detroit focused on the effort involved in reaching out to this oft-overlooked population. Our friends at the Los Angeles Times provided a detailed account of what it takes to conduct that sprawling city’s count – no easy feat by anyone’s standards.
And then there were the stories that put a human face on the annual task. The Dayton Daily News of Ohio profiled a 19-year-old young man who had aged out of the foster care system only to wind up on the streets. The Herald of Washington state focused on a volunteer who had once experienced homelessness himself who was now helping with the Snohomish County’s count.
And you know we were there to lend a hand for the... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: State of Homelessness, Secretary Donovan, and HUD funding
January 21, 2011
This week, we kept seeing more clips about our newest report, The State of Homelessness in America! We’re so excited to see continued interest in the report and – as you may have seen – we’re going to continue to write about the report on this blog to explicate our findings, definitions, and other nerdy bits (latest installment: a post about data from Pete) so stay tuned!
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan also made the news this week with an opinion piece about a national effort to end homelessness. Placed just in time to coincide with impending community point-in-time counts, the secretary encourages communities to do their best to pursue accurate data, “But more collaboration alone won't restore confidence in government; we also need to produce results. And producing results requires smarter decisions based on sound data.” (What’s a point-in-time count? Glad you asked.)
HUD made news again this week when they renewed funding for homeless assistance programs, spreading $1.4 billion nationwide to help organizations providing services for people experiencing homelessness. Local stories (like this one) outlined specific amounts for their particular communities and many noted the pervasive need for such funding to provide assistance to their economically vulnerable friends and neighbors.
And in other news – today, the Alliance staff is off-campus thinking up ways to do our work better. If you have any suggestions or thoughts, don’t hesitate to comment, Tweet, of leave us a note on our Fac... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Glee, NY, and Sam Tsemberis
December 10, 2010
Happy Friday, everyone!
To start, I thought I’d just point out that in this week’s episode of , the song-singing cast decides to donate presents and money to the McKinney Vento Program for Homeless Kids – or some variation of those six words.
So they didn’t get it exactly right, but it was awesome seeing the all-important McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, the federal government’s largest investment in homeless assistance, get a shout-out on such a hit show. First Glee - then the world!
In more down-to-earth news, youth homelessness is at it again. There were three stories, an opinion piece in Oregon’s Statesman Journal, a news article from the Associated Press, and a Boston Globe piece (quote our own Nan Roman!) going over the purported rise in youth homelessness across the country. Just last week, we were discussing in the office the ascendancy of this issue in the news media – more evidence that the time is ripe to act on this important topic.
New York is under fire again. A controversial new study evaluating the effects of prevention has reached front page status in the New York Times. I know advocates across the country are feverishly discussing this new study – and whether or not it’s the right thing to do. What do you guys think about the New York study?
Prevention does seem to be doing something in Salt Lake City, UT. Our good friend Julia Lyon at the Salt ... Read More »
Where are the great youth homelessness programs?
November 29, 2010
This morning, while compiling the weekend’s clips, I noticed a number of news stories about homeless youth.
Niche topics in this field all have their time: In January, it’s about community counts, in February it can be about the cold and shelters; you can count on a slew of stories about veterans in November and stories urging charity and philanthropy once the holidays roll around. But the last few weeks have been unusual – stories from North Carolina and Wisconsin and Virginia and Ohio about homeless young people.
And it’s about time.
We’ve talked about it before (well, Jeremy has.) Youth homelessness is an issue that’s often overlooked and under-examined. Youth, in that no man’s land between child and adult, can baffle homeless assistance providers who often deal with single adults or families. Unaccompanied youth – sometimes youth who age out of the foster care system or exit the juvenile justice system or run away from home – can be faced with an overwhelming dearth of services available to them once they find themselves homeless.
And it’s the perfect time to address such a problem.
The Alliance has kicked off an effort encouraging communities to include youth in next January’s point-in-time counts – and we’re also smack in the middle of a site visit campaign, encouraging local service providers to invite their Members of Congress to drop by and observe their assistance programs. Making the issue real – by collectin... Read More »
Monday News Roundup: Special Edition
November 22, 2010
So, we know it’s not Friday but we’ve got big surprises headed your way this Thanksgiving week so we’ve decide to do a Monday News Roundup (I know – we’re living right on the edge!)
In honor of the holidays quickly approaching, we thought we’d do a quick recap of the efforts being made across the country to provide homeless assistance services to our friends and neighbors in need – and summarize how great the need has become during these troubled economic times.
Topping the news of the season is the city of Los Angeles. I know we’ve talked about it before, but it’s worth a second note that the city, which has long struggled with its homeless population, released an ambitious plan to end chronic homelessness. The plan, supported by business leaders in the area, has the potential to permanently house some of the most vulnerable homeless people and measurably reduce homelessness in a city that has been called that “homeless capital of the nation.”
Youth homelessness seems to have hit a stride in the news cycle. While a few stories have percolated over the year, the issue seems to have reached the top of the collective media consciousness in recent weeks: on Monday alone, there were at least five stories on the subject across the county. While the issue of youth homelessness still requires research study, the gravity of the situation needs an equal amount of atten... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Youth Aging Out, Elderly Homelessness, and Domestic Violence
October 22, 2010
So, truth - it was a pretty slow news week. It seems like the news media covers homelessness in cycles: it gets really good (covering solutions and strategies and communities) and then it gets really bad (covering pan handling and camp outs).
I think we’re in an in-between phase.
This week, we noticed a very long feature on youth aging out of foster care in the Seattle Post Intelligencer written by reporters at Investigate West. While we at the Alliance wholeheartedly agree that this is an oft-overlooked and very important issue, we took serious issue with the article’s wildly inaccurate depiction of our own organization:
“At the national level, it's barely on the radar of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a powerful advocacy group that provides information the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
In fact, not only is youth homelessness a 2010 Policy Priority for the Alliance, but in the last year alone, we’ve:
published a series profiling the way some communities are using HPRP funds to assist youth,
launched a youth site visit campaign encouraging legislators to examine the issue in their own communities,
hired new staff to work on the issue,
and – just this week – wrote a toolkit encouraging communities to fully incorporate youth in their January 2011 point-in-time counts.
I’m hoping that next time, before writing such inflammatory remarks, it would occur to a journalist to pick up the phone as I’m always happ... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Making Progress
October 15, 2010
This week we have heard some powerful arguments for Housing First and supportive housing.
Our good friends Rosanne Haggerty of Common Ground in New York and Martha Kegel of UNITY in New Orleans authored a fantastic piece in defense of supportive housing. A proposed project in New Orleans – a city still suffering the effects of a hurricane five years past - would redevelop an abandoned nursing home into supportive housing for people with disabilities and low-income working people is facing opposition from the local community. Rosanne and Martha do such a great job articulating the argument, I’ll let them speak for themselves:
“Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, but it is bad for a community in many other ways as well. By converting abandoned buildings into beautifully renovated apartments, supportive housing offers an opportunity to help solve several of New Orleans' pressing problems at once. Housing the homeless is good for everyone.”
In other news: Massachusetts is kicking butt in implementing and executing their plan to end homelessness; the state has helped place 376 people in housing and has helped prevent almost 11,000 families from becoming homeless through a Housing First model. Even as the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance reports the numbers of new families and individuals seeking help continues to grow in the area, Boston's Pine St. Inn claims to have eliminated 10 percent of their shelter beds due to successful housing placements – at an estimated savings of $9,000 per person. Way to go, MA!
A new... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: The good, the bad, the soccer
October 08, 2010
Let’s start with some good news.
A great little article from up in Oneida, NY notes the importance of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. In Madison County, the Community Action Partnership (CAP) took their HPRP stimulus money and used it to extend short-term, temporary housing assistance for nearly a hundred families in the community.
According to the executive director of CAP, this temporary assistance can be a “soft gap” for people waiting to qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers or for those who need a little extra time before achieving self-sufficiency. The program has been “phenomenal,” not only aiding vulnerable families and providing budgeting counseling but also preventing hundreds of instances of homelessness in the neighborhood.
Things are less phenomenal in Las Vegas, NV where public schools are witnessing an influx of homeless students – an increase of 15 percent according to this morning’s article on the issue. Officials in Nevada note the affect – particularly hard in that state – of three year’s of recession the state resulting in persistent unemployment and, sometimes, job loss (a lagging indicator, as we’ve noted.) The story notes a specific increase in the number of “couch surfers” and doubled up families. Homeless youth are even more vulnerable than their adult counterparts, at higher risk to violence, abuse, and crime.
New York caused a bit of a buzz earlier this week when it announced the city’s Department of Homeless Services decided to run a study to determine if... Read More »