Thursday, December 25, 2008

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) is a 501(c)3 organization based in Washington, D.C. and founded in 1989 as the legal arm of the national movement to end and prevent homelessness. Through policy advocacy, public education, and impact litigation, NLCHP works for systemic reform that addresses the root causes of homelessness and seeks to meet both the immediate and long-term needs of homeless and poor people. Through training and support, NLCHP also enhances the capacity of local and national groups to become more effective voices for the needs and rights of homeless people.

National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
1411 K Street
Washington, DC 20005
Maria Foscarinis

Tampa Bay's fastest-growing homeless is parents and children

Area shelter directors, homeless advocates, government officials and child welfare agencies say the rising unemployment rate, the sluggish housing market and the spiraling economy have forced an unprecedented number of families out of their homes.

And these officials aren't sure what to do about it. Limited social service funding, a dearth of affordable housing and a homeless assistance system designed for single men — the largest homeless demographic — make catering to families difficult.

"It has emerged as the next crisis in terms of housing," Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch said.

Numbers are hard to come by, but the overwhelming anecdotal evidence has pushed advocates for the homeless into action.

Pinellas County's Homeless Leadership Network will meet Friday to discuss how to address the uptick in homeless families. Business leaders are trying to organize an "adopt a family" program, and a handful of shelters that catered solely to single men and women for decades are adding bunk beds to accommodate children.

For the first time, several families were admitted this year to Refuge Ministries, a St. Petersburg homeless center for recovering addicts, after director Bruce Wright learned they had been couch surfing with friends.

"It's really hard," he said. "We see these people hurting who aren't getting the help because there just aren't resources available."

Others have had to turn people away.

"We have seen a huge increase, and a lot of it is due to the economic conditions," said Jan Falcione, community resource manager for Mary & Martha House in Ruskin, which accepts only homeless or abused women and children.

To ensure that the women feel safe, men, including fathers, are not allowed. "We don't have the proper facilities for that," Falcione said.

Reports of children without enough to eat or a place to sleep have flooded child welfare hotlines, said April Putzulu, a director for Eckerd Community Alternatives, the nonprofit that oversees foster care in Pasco and Pinellas counties. The agency plans to meet with local law enforcement officials this week to discuss the crisis.

Families need to be told where and how to get help so that they can stay together, Putzulu said.

"We want to prevent families from entering the dependency system or prevent removal of children from their families when it is not a safety issue," she said. "In these tough times what we really want to do is support our families and ultimately the best thing is for the child to stay with the family."

Putzulu said local social service officials also are considering applying for federal housing vouchers for needy families.

At Tampa's Metropolitan Ministries, there are 28 families waiting for beds. That is on top of the 40 families the shelter is already housing.

"We are seeing more working-class families," said spokeswoman Ana Mendez. "Mom got laid off. Dad got laid off. They need some extra help."

At Touched by an Angel Ministries in St. Petersburg, founders Jeffrey and Vonda Polhill are cramming up to five beds in each of their 21 apartments to house as many people as possible. Single men and women are grouped together to make room for more families.

"They come here with absolutely nothing," Jeffrey Polhill said.

Homelessness has been a growing problem in the Tampa Bay area, and the economy hasn't helped. Last year's homeless surveys found 5,195 homeless people in Pinellas and 9,532 in Hills­borough. Officials expect higher numbers during the next count in January.

For the Hites, homelessness hit suddenly.

Mary Hite, 28, was pregnant with daughter Chelsea and working as a customer service manager at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pinellas Park.

Maurice Hite, 42, was the household's primary breadwinner. He worked as an installer and welder for a building company but was laid off in early 2008 when there wasn't enough work to go around. He lost his job about the same time his daughter was born in February.

The family was evicted from its $1,200-a-month rental home a few weeks later.

The Hites soon found Touched by an Angel Ministries. They thought the help would allow them to recover quickly.

Then the couple's car broke down in June. Mary Hite quit her job because she didn't have a ride. Maurice Hite was able to find work, but only part time. Usually a star pupil, Ethan began to act up at school.

"It felt like a tornado," Maurice Hite said of the past nine months. "Everything just keeps piling up."


Utah Students Displaced with our amid enonomic and family turbulence

Catching a good night's sleep in the Midvale Community Center, which serves as the overflow shelter for Salt Lake City's Road Home, isn't easy.

People get up in the night to use the bathroom. Infants cry. People talk, argue, or even fight. But if getting a little shut-eye is hard, so is studying for a test, or finishing your math homework.

"I sit on my bed and just focus on it. I don't think about anything else that's going on around me," said Annette Palma, a 12-year-old fifth-grader at Midvale Middle School.

After job prospects in Portland, Ore., disappeared, Palma's parents headed to Texas with her four siblings when the family car broke down in Salt Lake City. Living in a homeless shelter is no excuse to skip
school, however. With the help of Connie Crosby, liaison for homeless students in the Jordan School District, Annette's mother Margarita wasted no time in getting her school-age children enrolled.

The transition has been hard. No more so than for Margarita's 11-year-old son Randy, who's fended off bullies at Midvale Elementary School.

"When I show teachers my children's transcripts they're amazed how well they've done," Palma said. "It's hard to seem them struggle. Of course I don't want to see them get hurt or laughed at."

Neither does Crosby, who checks the Midvale overflow shelter at 7 a.m. every weekday during late fall and winter months to see how many new children have arrived so she can enroll them, hopefully in the last school they attended. "We've definitely had an increase in students at the shelter," Crosby said.

While numbers for the 2008-09 school year won't be in until next year, social service liaisons at many Utah public school districts say they have already noticed an increase in the number of displaced students over the same time last year. The federal McKinney-Vento Act requires states to ensure that students are enrolled and can earn academic credit during times of displacement. So the liaisons do all they can to help students who find themselves uprooted, or in living situations beyond their control.

The greatest number find themselves "doubled up" with relatives outside their primary family. The second largest group of displaced students, such as the Palma children, are housed in shelters. Still others live in a parent's car parked in the school parking lot, or suddenly find themselves in the care of a grandparent or non-relative guardian after a parent has succumbed to drugs or mental illness.

Local charities do their part, donating clothes and some school supplies, but local school district liaisons do the heavy lifting. Students and families must be counseled, and transcripts and immunization records must move to the student's new school if it becomes impractical for them to attend their old school, a preferred option under the McKinney-Vento Act.

During the 2007-08 school year, Granite School District counseled 899 displaced students. This October alone the district has identified 768 displaced students, with the remainder of the school year to go. "We're at a very high number for the beginning of the year," Jacobson said.

With 1,235 displaced students counseled or served last school year, the Salt Lake City School District reports identifying more than 800 displaced students so far this school year.

The workload can become overwhelming. "Today I'll take two kids to get eyeglasses, help one teenager get food stamps, and make sure a bunch of kids get clothes," said Mike Harmon, counselor and education liaison for the Salt Lake City School District. "That's all before lunch, hopefully, if all goes well."

Harmon recalls helping a teenager reduced to living in a shed because it was the only place she could keep her German Shepherd, the only family she had left. Jacobson once got a report of a student living under the bleachers of a high school football field. As vulnerable as they are, Jacobson is often amazed at students' resilience.

"One 10-year-old girl was able to give us the clothing sizes for all her siblings," Jacobson said. "Sometimes you're dumbfounded that they know things they shouldn't need to know."

Harmon, who has 10 years of counseling experience for his district, and three additional years of counseling displaced students, said he sees an increasing number of students working in order to maintain their family's housing situation. Causes of displacement are not as important as helping those displaced, but Harmon hears the details of some cases. More students have been displaced due to doubling rents, he said. And he knows that some families have gone through a foreclosure, even if they choose not to fill out a McKinney-Vento form for aid. While the law requires that displaced students receive a measure of help once identified, applying for that help is strictly voluntary.

"We know there are some folks who've been foreclosed on who choose not to fill out the form," Harmon said.

Crosy said the Palma children are unusual for having switched schools only once. "There's children here already this year that have been in five different schools," she said.

Annette said she has no time for anyone who might look down on her or her family for using a temporary shelter. "It doesn't really matter what they think," she said. "I love my homework. It gives me something to do."


Homeless Students in Fairfax Co., VA, Schools are Up 25%

The number of homeless students in Fairfax County Public Schools is up 25 percent from last year, primarily due to home foreclosures.

Kathi Sheffel has been the homeless liasion for FCPS for the last eight years.

Under a provision of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, school districts are required to have a homeless liasion to help "highly-mobile" students maintain their educational requirements with as little disruption as possible.

Sheffel receives an annual federal grant of $97,000 to help supply her office with a full-time social worker, a part-time administrative assistant, and 21 part-time tutors for homeless students.

"We try to eliminate any barriers to their enrollment and education by providing support in lots of different ways," Sheffel says. "We want to make sure these kids don't get lost during their homelessness."

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, the creation of the liaision position was influenced by statistics showing that over one million children nationwide were likely to experience homelessness in a given year.

Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act defines a homeless student as living in an emergency or transitional shelter; a motel;, hotel; or campground; in a car; a park; public place; bus or train station; abandoned building or doubled up with relatives or friends due to a lack of a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

According to Sheffel, there are nearly 1200 students in Fairfax County schools this year that meet that definition. That is an almost 25 percent increase from last year, when the number was only 900.

Asked why the numbers have increased so dramatically, she gives a one word answer: "foreclosures."

"I have been here for eight years and the numbers have increased every year, but this is not usual to have this many in such a short period," she said.

Sheffel receives calls stemming from foreclosures on a daily basis and her phone is ringing off the hook.

"I get calls from schools everyday saying that a student's family is being evicted later in the week," she says. "Many come from families being evicted because their landlords are being foreclosed upon."

Many of these families wind up taking temporary residence in one of the county's four local family shelters. But according to Belinda Buescher of the Department of Family Services, nearly 100 families are currently on a waiting list because the shelters are currently full.

"The stress on a child in a homeless situation is phenomenal," said Sheffel. "The stress of not knowing where they are going to be staying, whether or not they will be able to remain together, if their parents will be OK and if they can stay in their school, can really take their toll. We try our best to minimize that stress."


Groups Call on President-Elect to Prioritize Ending Homelessness

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) and over a dozen other national homelessness advocacy groups called upon President-Elect Barack Obama to take steps immediately upon becoming President to address the urgent crisis of homelessness in the United States.

The incoming Administration has previously expressed a commitment to addressing homelessness. President-Elect Obama was a sponsor of the Homes for Heroes Act, which would provide housing assistance for homeless very low-income veterans, and Vice President-Elect Biden was a leader in the Senate working to prevent domestic violence survivors from becoming homeless through the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

NLCHP and their partner advocate groups are now urging the Presidential Transition Team to commit to ending homelessness by accepting six key recommendations, beginning by demonstrating its commitment in the first year by completing a federal plan to end homelessness and holding a White House Conference to begin implementing the plan.

Other recommended policy priorities include increasing access to affordable housing; ensuring adequate incomes; expanding access to health services; ensuring access to education for homeless children and youth; and protecting homeless people from discrimination.

"Homelessness in America is a growing crisis," said Maria Foscarinis, NLCHP Executive Director. "Increasing foreclosures and growing unemployment are threatening more and more Americans with homelessness, and shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries across the country are reporting surges in demands for help. It's critical that the new Administration act quickly and boldly to stem the crisis," she added.

For more information about the recommendations, contact Foscarinis at, or NLCHP Policy Director Laurel Weir at A full copy of the letter to the Presidential Transition Team is available at

Endorsing organizations are America's Road Home, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Give Us Your Poor, National AIDS Housing Council, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Housing Law Project, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness.

For More Information

Homeless Addicts: America's Untouchables

The smoky interior of the Roxy, with its smells of clove cigarettes, coffee, and greasy diner food, is an oasis. Those old familiar pulp fiction posters on the wall and the same Skinny Puppy songs playing on the jukebox. Small groups cluster at tables and in the booths. Gothic kids and punk rockers drinking the all-night coffee and chain smoking. Flamboyant gay guys sitting at the bar talking loud and looking around to see if anyone is paying attention. No one is.

I spot an associate sitting by himself at one of the small two-person tables and make my way over. His name is Joe but he goes by Ashes, and Ashes looks loaded. He barely looks up when I sit down and from the length of the ash on his smoke I can tell he was on the nod. His hooded eyes finally look up and find mine as the waiter takes my order for coffee and toast. He tucks a long strand of greasy hair behind his ear and through missing teeth tells me I look like hell. Coming from him this is truly something.

Ashes has been on the streets a long time. He was already “old” when I first hit the dope road all those years ago. Beneath his long and tattered leather jacket and his Sisters Of Mercy T-shirt his thin frame shows the wear of the longtime dope fiend. His arms are covered in homemade tattoos and scars from past abscesses. He is somewhere in his late 30s but looks a decade older. Anybody with eyes would make him for an addict. He’s about as trustworthy as a rented snake, and he is the closest thing I have to a friend at this moment.

My first question is, of course, is he holding and second, can I get him to kick down a little something. Even a rinse would set me straight and buy me some time to make a plan. No junky wants to give up any dope ever, but I have some leverage as he has no hustle and he knows I will make some money today. He supports his habit by spare changing in the transit mall. Not a sure thing, even on a good day. A real loser’s gambit. Real bottom of the food chain shit. So I get him to agree to get me well as long as I take him along on whatever scheme I cook up for the day.

In order for me to get the fix, we first have to go back to the squat he shares with some other scumbags under the Jackson Street overpass. We leave at once. Fuck the coffee and toast. It’s only a few blocks away and as we make our way to the spot, morning people are beginning their day. Office workers are emerging with their overpriced Starbucks beverages and service workers are on their way to their shitty jobs serving shitty food to shitty people.

The pedestrians avoid eye contact and keep moving. They’re not scared, just seen it all too many times. Anybody that lives or works downtown is so used to this that it’s like rain to them. Something unpleasant but inevitable, just part of the city. When we finally reach the overpass and duck down through the hole in the freeway fence the smell of shit is a shock. The whole side of the embankment is dotted with small white flags of used toilet paper marking each pile of human excrement. There are no public bathrooms open at night in this area of Portland so people do what they have to do whereever they can. No matter how many squats I’ve been in, the smell of piss and shit always takes my breath away for a moment. This is the bottom. Truly, it would be hard to fall any lower than this. Maybe dying of AIDS in a welfare hospital would be worse. Maybe.

The squats that line the freeway overpasses are like catch basins for the refuse of the city. The mentally ill, sexual deviants, illegal immigrants, wanted fugitives, hardcore drunks, prostitutes, crusty train-hopping kids, tweakers, junkies, the unlucky, and the unloved. We all have called these places home. For a night, for a week, even years for some. It’s easy to fly below the radar here. No rent, no responsibility, and nothing to worry about besides where the cops are and where your next fix or your next bottle is coming from.

My next fix is coming from Ashes and he is unrolling his works from a piece of leather he had up his sleeve. “There’s not much here to go around” he says, but he is willing to share a little, after he gets his, of course. I watch trembling in anticipation while he prepares his shot and as he draws up the black water from the spoon my stomach does flip flops like maybe I’m gonna puke or shit my pants. But I don’t.

Ashes has no veins so he just shoves the point in his shoulder and slowly pushes down the plunger with a slight grimace of pain. “I left a good rinse for you” he says, gesturing towards his spoon. Upon examination there is a light brown residue on the spoon and in the tiny piece of cotton stuck to the bottom.

I look around at the spectral figures in the darkened squat. Most still in their bedrolls and sleeping bags. It’s hard to spot a familiar face so I just ask out loud if anybody has a clean point. Nearby, what I had mistaken for a pile of trash and old rags stirs and by some miracle this small girl who I hadn’t even noticed says she might. She begins to dig in her pack and pulls out the familiar brown paper bag of the Outside In needle exchange. She tosses the bag to me and tells me to keep it; she says she is trying to kick.

I don’t want to think about what I might have done if there wasn’t a clean point available. Sharing needles under a bridge is not anything I want to experience. I’ve been lucky and I know it. I want to hug this tiny female savior but we don’t know each other. I wish I had a million dollars to give her. She may have just saved my life and I tell her so as my way of thanking her. She merely shrugs and rolls back over so she doesn’t have to watch us shoot dope in front of her.

I have to be careful. I’ve only been out of jail a few hours. I don’t even have laces in my boots yet and am still carrying the clear plastic property bag with all my shit in it. Many junkies have gotten out of jail only to OD with their first shot. They dumbly do the amount they were used to doing before being locked up. Not realizing that the time inside has lowered their tolerance. From what Ashes has left me I definitely don’t have to worry about an OD so I prepare the meager fix and do my thing.

It hits me first in the muscles of my jaw and with a slight burn up my arm. No euphoria, no rush, just a slight sensation of relief. It wasn’t much but it will have to do. I know I will have to make some money soon and my first thought is Home Depot. It’s a bus ride but pretty much a sure thing. They give you up to $100 cash back on returned merchandise. You don’t even need to have a receipt.

The hustle works like this. A guy goes in and shoplifts $99 worth of whatever. This guy is known as a booster. Another guy waits outside. The booster takes the stuff out of the store and hands it over to the guy who waited out side. This guy is called a returner. The returner then goes inside the store and returns the merchandise for cash. This is known as “the boost and return” Another variation on this is to hang around outside the store picking up receipts or getting receipts out of the trash. Then you go into the store and steal the exact item on the receipt and return it for the cash.

The only thing required to do returns is a valid ID Once you have done three returns your ID is burnt and store cuts you off. So boosters are always looking for new returners with clean ID who don’t look like disreputable dope fiends. Right now I need someone with a clean ID to take the bus to with me to the Beaverton and put some work in.

Ashes is not an option. He doesn’t even have ID and any loss prevention guy would make him instantly. I tell him to help me find someone to do returns and I will kick down some cash on top of the shitty little shot I already owe him. The small girl in the corner who gave me the rigs has overheard all this and it is too much for her. She stands right up and says “fuck kicking! I want in.” I feel kind of bad for dragging her into my madness but she says she has clean ID and in the light is actually pretty cute in a beat kind of way.

She stands probably 5-feet tall and is no more than 100 pounds. She has black dreads pulled back into a ponytail, large expressive eyes, pale skin, and very red lips. She says her name is Zoey but she goes by Squeak. Appropriate. She is wearing black Carhart bibs and a Venom shirt but says she has just the outfit for our expedition. After digging in her impossibly large pack she finally finds what she is after and with a giggle she gets back under her blankets. Some rustling around and a small amount of cussing later she emerges virtually unrecognizable. Some worn Gap khakis, a striped Columbia sportswear sweater, and her dreads pulled back in a bright knit stocking hat have transformed her into someone the Home Depot clerk probably won’t look twice at. Her new look has Ashes and me laughing, and that gets her a little pissed off, but after a minute she starts laughing too. With that laugh and seeing her smile for the first time I realize she is more than kinda cute. She is a very pretty girl. Petite and delicate features highlight the playful light that shines from her eyes, and if I’m not mistaken, that light is being directed at me.

Tye Doudy is 33 years old and lives in Portland. His stories are all true and told in the hopes that others may learn from his mistakes. This is the first in a series of articles about his life. He can be reached at This article appeared in the July 25, edition of Street Roots.

How Kaiser Permanente Has Helped Improve Homeless Health Care in Southern California

Kaiser Permanente helps improve health care for homeless people through partnerships with community clinics and social service providers; funding programs to address the health concerns of the homeless; and participating with homeless service providers to develop a stronger, coordinated system of care. Over the past two years, Kaiser Permanente has invested $2.5 million to help strengthen the homeless health care system in Los Angeles County.

KP's physicians and other staff volunteer with community clinics to provide thousands of hours of health treatment, education, and resources to people who are uninsured and homeless. As an example, in 2006, Kaiser Permanente radiologists provided interpretative services free of charge for more than 2,000 radiological examinations for homeless patients on Skid Row. This project coordinated diagnostic radiology services with three clinics in Skid Row: JWCH Institute, Los Angeles Mission Community Clinic, and UCLA Nursing Clinic at Union Rescue Mission.

Kaiser Permanente's homeless care efforts in Southern California focus on:

* Care coordination and case management work that link homeless patients with existing services such as alcohol/drug treatment, recuperative care, primary care, mental health, and housing
* Developing recuperative care bed access for those persons who do not require continued hospital care, but still need medical oversight
* Teaching hospital social workers and discharge planners how to assist homeless patients to access available community support services fol- lowing their discharge from a hospital. Examples of these services include post-hospital health care, housing resources, and other community resource support.
* Investments in agencies and other homeless providers to expand access to medical, dental, mental health, and addiction services.

Kaiser Permanente provided more than $800 million in community benefit in the United States in 2006. Part of that considerable effort is focused on supporting social service agencies that care for the homeless. In 2006, Kaiser Permanente provided more than $302 million in community benefit in Southern California alone. Key components of Kaiser Permanente's $2.5 million investment to strengthen the homeless health care system in Southern California in the past two years include:

Demand is up at homeless shelters

Tis not the season of overflowing homeless shelters, but the economic cold weather is creating winter-level demand on area emergency-housing agencies.

Requests for temporary lodgings have been at Christmas-rush peaks the past two months, with providers maintaining at least weekly contact with counterparts statewide looking for overflow space.

The Road Home, the state's largest shelter, deals with the wintertime peaks by opening annexes that close in early spring as demand drops and temperatures rise.

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As things go at the The Road Home, so goes the activity at other shelters. The state's busiest emergency/transitional housing service has space for 31 families but is providing room for five to 15 extra families per night by setting up cots in the foyer and office areas. About 60 families requesting services have been placed on a waiting list.

Many factors are leading to an increased demand for emergency services, said Matt Minkevitch, Road Home executive director.

"Evictions due to a job loss, medical bills that can't be paid due to loss of medical benefits, we've been seeing a lot of that figuring in," he said, noting that a faltering economy translates quickly into a need for emergency help for those near the bottom of the economic ladder.

Unofficial shelters such as temporary rooms offered by family members have been able to assimilate an unknown percentage of those who are technically homeless, and shelters statewide have been managing to find room at the inn, Minkevitch and other shelter managers said.

"We will always make room for those whose situation has become desperate," he said. Sleeping in your car is a desperate situation, he said, and he emphasized that people who are homeless or believe they're about to be shouldn't hesitate to call the shelter.

"They shouldn't feel like they're all alone," Minkevitch said. "A lot of people find themselves in tough situations for any number of reasons. Whys don't matter. We're here to help, and so that's what we do."

However varied the circumstances dictating the increase in demand, handling it is made more difficult by who is looking for shelter -- more families. Requests from single males have followed seasonal patterns, but requests from families and single women with children are reportedly up by at least one-third, according to area shelters.

Providers in Davis and Weber counties said finding additional space for emergency shelters running at capacity occurs regularly in winter months but is rare in warmer months when getting through a few nights by camping in trailers, along rivers or staying on the street isn't complicated by snow or freezing temperatures.

An operator of a battered women's shelter in northern Utah -- who said she didn't want to be named due to recent stalking incidents involving some of the tenants there -- said motels have become annexes to many of the smaller shelters.

"That's not the ideal situation for a battered woman trying to protect herself and her children," she said. "But even that space that we try to keep available has been full this summer," which has forced the shelter at times to ask a caller to rank the likelihood and level of danger if admission is put off a few days.

"That's not a good position for an emergency help center to be in, and it's a question we just hate having to ask," she said.

Emergency needs are also being met by various volunteer and faith- based programs that have stepped up services for families in transition. Along with individual assistance programs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at least a half-dozen other faiths have stepped up to help families who have fallen on hard times. In Salt Lake City, an estimated 20 congregations are offering Family Promise space to families, converting Sunday school space into temporary homes for families who have lost theirs or are in between jobs.

Like the state agencies and nonprofit community service groups keeping tabs on the situation, Family Promise says families make up at least half and possibly as much as two-thirds of the state's homeless population. There is no way to accurately determine how many families are trying to deal with the problem on their own.

Steve Graham, Family Promise president, told the Deseret News in April that predictions show the face of homelessness is changing because "after they've tried as hard as they can to not depend on anyone else, they turn to outside help."

There is the promise of more space being available in the fall as the first of several remodeled buildings is set to come on line to provide permanent housing for Utah's indigent and low-income residents.

The 200-unit Palmer Court, scheduled to open this fall, is being regarded as a centerpiece of the state's effort to end chronic homelessness by 2014.

The bump in the number of families in need driven by foreclosures or workplace cutbacks isn't deemed chronic under the strict definition of homelessness (a year or longer), said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Homeless Vets Find Jobs In Veterans Cemeteries

By Vic Lee

Navy veteran David Miller, 46, watched as the remains of fellow Navy veteran Irvin Thompson were laid to rest in the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon back in November. Thompson died 67 years ago at Pearl Harbor, but his remains were not identified until two months ago.

Miller carved the inscription on Thompson's headstone, and it was an honor to do so, he said.

"I feel that who else to do the headstone of a veteran than another veteran," Miller said.
Story continues below

Miller works for the Veterans Employment Agency where he has at least two things in common with the other employees; he is a veteran and homeless.

The agency is the brainchild of Irvin Goodwin; he runs a homeless veterans emergency housing facility in Menlo Park. Miller and the other employees live there while they get their life back together again.

Goodwin started the employment agency to provide jobs for his homeless residents.

"Because of their homelessness and a large gap in their work history, the employer feels like 'I don't want to take a chance with this guy,'" Goodwin said.

Goodwin came up with the idea of putting vets to work, inscribing headstones for national cemeteries. So far, they have contracts in Florida, Michigan and the cemetery in Dixon.

The orders come in from the national cemetery office in Quantico, Virginia.

Penny Rowlan served in the navy; she has been treated for post traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction and has been homeless for 13 years. She takes the orders, formats the inscription and cuts the stencil.

Rowlan feels a certain intimacy with each order.

"You would think after doing so many that maybe not, but each one I really take some time to think about it," Rowlan said.

The stencil is then sent to Penny Bethel who also assists in their preperation. Bethel was a medic in Vietnam; she has been homeless for a year after being laid off from work. She too takes each inscription personally.

Navy veteran Anthony Thomas came to the facility after losing his job and his home. He is in rehab for a drinking problem.

Both Thomas and Bethel pick out the letters with great care.

"It becomes a personal contact because this is someone you didn't know in life that you may meet them later on," Thomas said.

The stencil is sent to the cemetery in Dixon where the letters will be inscribed on a headstone.

That is Miller's job.

Miller was paroled seven months ago after serving 23 years in prison. This is his first job since getting out.

"Its emotional; you look at the name, some of them come in with a lot of inscription on them, some of them just come in with a date," Millier said.

The homeless veterans are not only learning a trade; the job gives them something more.

"You know, self respect, self esteem; all the things I had prior which I totally lost in my addiction and stuff," Rowlan said.

The veterans are proud of what they are doing. They are also grateful to their fallen comrades who in death have come to their aid. Inscribing headstones has given the veterans a second chance in life.

"Someday someone will do mine and say thank you to me like I do these people every day," Behtel said.
(Copyright ©2008 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Illegal To Be Homeless Since 2004

As the country fails to provide money for housing, and as essential funds are cut from social services, the amount of money spent to jail people for "quality of life" crimes increases.

The legal challenges resulting from criminalizing homelessness have proven costly for both homeless people and for those who prosecute them. Judgments against offending jurisdictions are not sufficient payment for the loss of freedom, jobs while incarcerated, shelter spaces and for the difficulty in finding employment once you have a "record."

Although anti-homeless ordinances violate HUD’s Consolidated Plan and should jeopardize any offending jurisdiction’s access to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME), and McKinney/Vento federal funds, few charges are brought against those cities because non-profit organizations risk their own funding if they complain. Moreover, local ordinances that discriminate against and criminalize the lives of homeless people often violate local, state, and federal constitutions, thus exposing city governments and police departments to civil liability. Ordinances that criminalize homeless people simply perpetuate the problems of homelessness.

It is more expensive to detain a person in jail than to house and offer services. According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty 2003 report, Punishing Poverty: The Criminalization of Homelessness, Litigation, and Recommendations for Solutions, the cost of providing jail, excluding the cost of the police resources used in the arrest, exceeds $40 per day. Some sources say the daily cost is as much as $140. In comparison, the average cost of providing counseling, housing, food, and transportation for one day is approximately $30.

In most cities there is a desperate lack of emergency and permanent housing and support. Funds that might be used to fund programs addressing the needs of homeless people are diverted to the criminal justice system.

(B) Social Consequences

Criminalization masks the social exclusion of homeless people under the guise of public safety concerns. When cities warn tourists and residents not to give money to panhandlers, they create the fear of homeless individuals that leads to further discrimination. This criminalization then helps to legitimize that fear.

Persons arrested or incarcerated for "quality of life" offenses may lose access to employment, families and friends. This loss also impacts employers who lose faith in hiring homeless people because "they don’t show up," or because they have "records."

Once incarcerated, these homeless individuals face overcrowding, violence, abuse, or disease. The conditions in turn contribute to additional social costs when the person is released and interacts again with society.

Cities might be more successful developing programs intended to reduce homelessness if the level of animosity among police, service providers, and homeless persons was reduced. With a focus on training, police might deal more effectively and efficiently with conflicts that arise, without violating the civil rights of homeless people.

(C) Political Consequences

Laws criminalizing the circumstances of poverty, as well as sanctioned or unsanctioned actions committed by law enforcement officials, may violate both state constitutions and the U.S. Constitution. For example, laws prohibiting or limiting panhandling and begging may violate the First Amendment. The seizure or destruction of homeless peoples’ property may violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. Laws prohibiting sleep and other necessary activities in public spaces may violate the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. In addition, discriminatory enforcement of such laws may constitute a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which assures equal protection under the law.

(D) Individual Consequences

The criminalization of homelessness makes the struggle to survive on the streets even more difficult, depressing, demoralizing, and frightening, especially as the criminal justice system can itself act as a major barrier to individual efforts to escape homelessness. Regardless of the number of ordinances passed, homeless people still must eat, sleep, and survive in public because often no alternative is available to them.

Once homeless people have been arrested for "quality of life" violations, their criminal records grow, and as a result they may be excluded from jobs and housing. Anyone incarcerated at least 30 days loses Social Security benefits during incarceration. Also, if an individual receiving benefits is found to have an outstanding warrant, she or he can be denied benefits. The Social Security Administration has gone so far as to grant agencies an "incentive" of $400 per person found to be in violation. In addition, when homeless persons do not follow through with the process of criminal justice, such as failing to pay traffic tickets or not appearing in court, warrants are issued for their arrest and they may be subjected to further charges and/or jail time. Money used to pay fines might otherwise be used for housing or other needs. Finally, it may be difficult for homeless people to maintain the mandated relationship with parole officers or with community service organizations.

Many homeless people lose all their possessions, even difficult-to-obtain IDs, when they are arrested. In addition, police harassment causes homeless people to miss appointments and/or interviews, reinforcing their status as second-class citizens. Homeless persons who are employed at the time of arrest and who are held in jail may lose their current jobs. Even when people are only given citations and are not arrested, the police may use the threat of arrest to intimidate individuals without housing. Thus, there are many hidden effects of these policies.

Policies of criminalization defeat their own goals of removing homeless people from public visibility because they simply create further barriers for survival and undermine individual efforts to escape homelessness. Such policies keep more people on the streets and increase problems related to homelessness. When individuals are released from jail, they are still homeless, and they have even more barriers and obstacles to overcome than before.

(E) Security Guards and the Homeless Community

A few cities in the United States have reached legal agreements with their municipalities to put an end to police harassment of homeless people. A growing problem in the United States is the rise in private security forces that wear uniforms and mistreat homeless people. In a few cities, including Cleveland, Ohio, these security guards are often off-duty Cleveland Police officers. These privately-paid security officers are allowed to wear the uniform of the municipal police force, and have close contact with the police. They have the ability to detain homeless people and, subsequently, have them arrested. When they are off-duty, these officers do not always abide by consent decrees, legal settlements, or even the law with regard to panhandlers or the rights of homeless people. People who spend a large number of hours of the day on the streets report frequent and systematic abuse by private security guards in the downtowns of our urban environments.

There are a growing number of reports of increased tensions between homeless people and security guards from around the United States, ranging from Business Improvement District security in Atlanta, Georgia and Columbus, Ohio with their "Downtown Ambassadors." These guards patrol the streets and intervene when they see infractions of メquality of lifeモ laws. In Reno, Nevada, conflicts arise between the downtown casinos and homeless people. Fort Worth, Texas, has made a significant effort to curtail panhandling, and has drafted neighborhood associations into the fight.

In many communities, security guards are indistinguishable from municipal police officers. Often, they wear the same or similar uniforms, carry guns, and threaten arrest. It may be impossible for homeless people to distinguish between an on-duty municipal police officer and an off-duty security guard, and to negotiate the legal landscape enforced by these guards.

For example, in Cleveland, despite an agreement with the Police Department since 1999 not to "arrest, or threaten to arrest or detain, any individuals, including homeless individuals for performing innocent, harmless, inoffensive acts such as sleeping, eating, lying, or sitting in or on public property," homeless people are still being harassed by security guards, who are, typically, off-duty police. These individuals are known to keep their CPD uniforms on, while working as security guards for private businesses. This is especially a problem in the urban core where finding access to transportation, food, and a place where one can rest without being harassed becomes a difficult task.

These security guards, who patrol private buildings in their uniforms, have been engaged in harassment against homeless individuals that they encounter on public sidewalks and around the private businesses they are to guard. Phoenix, Arizona, has combined police and security outreach into one unit.

The security guards, especially since the events of 2001, play a greater role in both numbers and visibility in most American cities. Despite efforts to focus funding and attention on those who live on the streets, the number of homeless people has increased in most American cities. The security guards are employed to secure buildings and businesses, but they often become much more. Security guards provide the illusion of security to a fearful population. They are used to assure cash registers do not stop ringing because of a perceived unsafe environment. Security guards are highly visible, and many buildings pay a premium for the guards to look like law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, they have a much different mandate that is essentially a profit motive, with little responsibility to serve the public good, as well as less accountability than on-duty officers.

Although security guards may be highly trained and respectful law enforcement officers during the day, they are paid to keep a certain appearance within a building. Homeless people are viewed as a threat to public safety. Media distortions, fear of the unknown, and misguided information often turn homeless people into the scapegoats for problems downtown. People who choose not to access the shelters, when shelters exist, are blamed for high crime rates, the flight of wealthy pedestrians and residents from the city, and the closing of businesses. Security guards are often told in no uncertain terms to move homeless people out of sight at all costs. They ignore the freedom to ask for money or the freedom to be left alone.

Homeless Head to Court over Right to Sleep Outside

While most would agree the freedom of sleep is a basic human right, for the homeless in many Canadian cities, that right is elusive. A Victoria man is determined to change that by challenging bylaws that ban sleeping in public places.

Thirty-four-year-old David Arthur Johnston, a "right-to-sleep" activist who himself sleeps outside, was prepared to starve himself to death in jail to protest Victoria's "anti-sleeping bylaw." He was released on bail on August 9. He was serving a nine-month sentence for failing to honour an agreement with the Crown to leave the province.

Johnston, who lost more that 30 pounds during his 36-day hunger strike, has been in and out of jail over the past two years in his fight for the right of homeless people to sleep outside. His repeated arrests were mainly a result of his attempts to sleep on the grounds of St. Ann's Academy, a former convent now owned by the provincial government. Johnston maintained a fast each time he was imprisoned.

Victoria has a street camping bylaw that prohibits sleeping in public places, which the police enforce by constantly moving people along. The bylaw has a provision that goods can be confiscated if left out overnight.

Johnston, who has been living outside since 2000, says people are finally coming to understand something that's been "subtly hidden," that there is no such thing as public property.

"The city and the police's mentalities have it so they believe it acceptable to violate fundamental rights on city or provincially 'owned' property," says Johnston.

Irene Faulkner and Cathy Boies-Parker, Victoria barristers who are challenging the bylaw as unconstitutional, say it's a catch-22 because it's illegal to sleep outside, yet there aren't enough shelter beds for the approximately 700 homeless people in the city.

"There are somewhere in the vicinity of 100 to 175 shelter beds, depending on the time of year," says Faulkner. "In summer, many beds are actually shut down because there's nice weather and people can sleep outside. But they can't, because it's illegal to sleep outside."

The two lawyers are challenging the bylaw on behalf of a group of homeless people who lived in a tent city at Cridge Park, which was dismantled in October 2005 shortly after it was set up. They say that living in close quarters helps shield the homeless from much of the violence they encounter when alone on the streets, and that it helps prevent their possessions from being stolen and provides them with a sense of belonging. A number of tent cities were erected in Victoria in 2005, only to be quickly dismantled by the police.

David Arthur Johnston at St. Anne's Academy, where he has been arrested for sleeping. (Courtesy of Jane Bandcroft)

Boies-Parker says the police don't usually charge people under the bylaw, but instead "use the existence of the bylaw as a threat" to move people along.

"It's enforced more often by sort of intimidation," she says. "They use it as authority to make people not be able to be at peace on the streets."

Vancouver lawyer David Eby says all Canadian cities have similar bylaws preventing the homeless from sleeping outside, including Vancouver, which has an additional bylaw prohibiting entry into parks outside of daytime hours. He says a lack of public washrooms in Vancouver makes matters worse for those with no home, leaving them no choice but to use back alleys as toilets.

"It's all part of criminalizing the homeless," says Eby, who works at Pivot Legal Society, a non-profit legal advocacy organization located in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

In the approach to Johnston's bail hearing, a number of his supporters held an overnight prayer vigil under the cross at St. Ann's Academy. Four were arrested for falling asleep during the vigil, only to be released the next morning without being charged.

Janine Bandcroft, founder and editor of the Victoria street newspaper, the Street Newz, says that while some homeless people are purely victims of circumstance, others make a conscious choice to live outdoors. Johnston, who fits the latter category, refuses to use money or own property. Bandcroft believes people shouldn't be punished or criminalized for wanting to "live outside of the mainstream if they're not harming anybody."

"Our public spaces are becoming acceptable only for those who the police and the city deem appropriate," says Bandcroft. "If you or I fall asleep in the park on a blanket at a picnic it's okay, but if a street person falls asleep in a park he's going to be woken up and asked to move along, and to me that's just discrimination."

Boies-Parker says that in some U.S. cities, such bylaws have been struck down as unconstitutional. Both barristers see this as an important case and one that has never been undertaken in Canada, primarily because the homeless — those who would benefit the most from having the bylaw struck down — lack the resources need to launch a lawsuit.

"What the city is doing here is they're trying to put their social problem off to the side by making it illegal to be homeless, basically, but not providing any alternative to that," says Boies-Parker. "What we can't do is punish these people for the status of being homeless."

Johnston, meanwhile, has promised not to return to the grounds of St. Ann's Academy. He is to appear in court again in October for a bail hearing. He says he won't "overtly challenge the anti-sleeping policy" until the Supreme Court hears the case against the city.

"The charter challenge will be successful, because to have it otherwise would be saying that every Canadian must pay to sleep," says Johnston. "The Supreme Court will be telling the City of Victoria that it is unlawful to arrest people for sleeping in public access spaces."

Halle Berry Was Also Homeless

Halle Berry lived in a homeless shelter when she first left home.The Oscar-winning actress has revealed her mother refused to support her when she ran out of money aged 21 - leaving her homeless. Halle, 40, told Reader's Digest magazine: "But a girl had to do what a girl had to do. You can do that when you're 21 and ambitious and your eyes are this big and you don't want to go home. I became a person who knows that I will always make my own way."When I moved to Chicago, she drove me there, but I don't think she ever thought it would pan out. After a month or two, I ran out of money and called her."I said, 'Mom, I hate to ask you this, but could you send me some money? I just have rent money, I can't eat this week.'"And she said no. She said, 'I'm not going to start this calling home asking mom for money. No, figure it out or come home.' I was so mad. I didn't speak to her for a year-and-a-half."The 'Perfect Stranger' star has forgiven her mother and believes the experience made her stronger. She said: "I'm actually grateful she did that, because it taught me how to take care of myself and that I could live through any situation, even if it meant going to a shelter for a small stint, or living within my means, which were meager."Meanwhile, friends of Halle claim her boyfriend, model Gabriel Aubry, is about to propose. A source told the New York Post newspaper: "They've moved in together in Los Angeles, and although they have separate residences in New York, they always stay in the same place and are together constantly."I wouldn't be shocked if Aubry proposed soon."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One Seattle chaplain's story of homelessness

A chaplain whose pioneering work to end homelessness is recognized worldwide shares the story of encountering the limits of the city's mental health system.

Pilgrim Church in Seattle has a chapel with a small courtyard opening through an archway onto a side street, and one morning as I was passing by on my way into the building, I noticed four bags of garbage, one at each corner of the courtyard. At the doorway to the chapel itself, protected from the rain, a man was sleeping. He awoke and raised his head as I approached. I said my name was Craig and that I was the pastor. He told me he was a baker and that he spent the nights baking bread for the whole city. He shot constant glances over my shoulder, his eyes scanning the courtyard. He said there was a great evil in the world; he had put the bags of garbage out to protect himself and the church. I moved closer and crouched down to listen more carefully.

"The evil goes to what it knows," he said.

I asked his name.

"Sterling Hayden," he said, "the actor." He was referring to the movie star whose career had peaked in the 1950s, some twenty years earlier.

It was November, a season of ever-colder weather, but Sterling continued to sleep in the chapel courtyard, exposed to the night air. Each morning for a week I found him there, bags of garbage carefully set out around him to ward off the evil. Each morning we talked a little. Each morning the custodian carefully removed the garbage to the Dumpster. Each evening Sterling rebuilt his surround of safety. One morning as we sat side by side on the steps leading from the street to the courtyard, a steady downpour began. I invited him inside. We climbed the stairs of the parish house to my study, a room with an old rolltop desk and a simple sitting area with comfortable chairs. Sterling confided to me how worried he was. Unnameable threats hovered about him. He lapsed into silence, an inner world of terror showing through frightened eyes.

What I first saw in Sterling was his "illness self": the homeless man, his strange sense of identity, his terrible fright, his unusual attempts to create safety. As we sat together over the course of that week, there were also brief and fleeting moments of ordinary conversation and health. He asked for a drink of water. He gently touched a small green plant growing on the windowsill.

On his last night with us, Sterling placed large amounts of toxics around the courtyard. The next morning, in one corner we found a box of used motor-oil cans and dirty rags scavenged from a gas station. In another corner was a five-gallon bucket of old cooking grease hauled from the alley behind a nearby restaurant. In a third corner was a bag of half-filled bottles and spray cans of cleansers. In the fourth corner sat a carton of empty containers that once held paint thinner, shellac, and wood stain. These materials were the only protection Sterling could devise.

When I saw Sterling's volatile collection in the courtyard, I talked with him about going to the hospital. I said he might find safety and care there. The hospital, I told him, protected people from disease and infection. They had good security and staff on duty day and night, help that we didn't have at the church. I told him there was a team that could come and help him. To my relief, he was willing.

I called King County Mental Health Crisis and Commitment Services, and was told that county-designated mental health professionals (MHPs) would be dispatched promptly. Sterling and I waited in my office, and after about thirty minutes two men arrived. They listened to Sterling's frightened and confused story. The MHPs agreed that he needed help and should be in the hospital.

Sterling relaxed a little. "Can we go now?" he asked. "Will you take me?"

The MHPs looked at each other, then at me, and then at Sterling. "Sterling," one of them said, "we can't do that. We can only take people to the hospital if they don't want to go."

Sterling looked crushed, and I was incredulous.

"He wants to go," I said. "Why can't you take him?"

"Sterling is a voluntary patient," one of the MHPs replied. "We can only arrange transportation for involuntary patients, people we're committing to the hospital against their will."

I shook my head. This was absurd.

Before I could put together a question about what we could do, Sterling shouted at me, "You said these people would help!" and dashed out of the room.

"Sterling, wait!" I called. I wanted to ask the MHPs if I could take him, and to which hospital, and whom we should talk to. I hadn't a clue how to get someone into a psychiatric unit in Seattle.

How Someone Bipolar Can Go From Being Wealthy To Homeless

When I was at Yale University, I took a lot of classes in sociology. In these classes, we covered homelessness. At the time, I never thought about my mom being homeless, but I can see now how it happens.

Based on all my research and personal interviews with people who help homeless people and those who are homeless, I know how it can happen to people who are bipolar or simply hit a run of bad luck.

A person runs out of money; he/she gets fired, is laid off, etc. If the person can't find another job he/she eventually starts to run out of money. A person stops taking medicine, and eventually he/she gets into a bipolar episode and can't get out of it.

Unfortunately, suffering from bipolar disorder predisposes a person to suffering the other consequences. That is, a person who has bipolar disorder is more likely to be fired from a job, get divorced or suffer other set-backs that can cause financial hardships.

They are also more likely to run out of money during an episode because they are being outrageous risk takers and spending their money with no thoughts about tomorrow. People who are bipolar may spend thousands of dollars in days and not think about it until much later.

Eventually he/she can't afford things like insurance, car payments, and/or a telephone. The last hold out is the mortgage on a house or the rent for an apartment. Eventually the person is homeless. With this in mind, I believe it's super important to protect one's wealth when you are dealing with bipolar and also make sure you take your medicine to prevent this downward spiral to homelessness.

The most dangerous part of this pattern of homelessness for someone suffering from bipolar disorder is that, when they become homeless because they have lost everything, they stop getting treatment. Why? Because they no longer have money for doctors or medication and they no longer have a regular routine or home. Without that stability, they can't get a job and get back to a safe, stable environment where they can get well again. They become trapped in their illness and in their environment. It is a vicious cycle that can be very difficult to overcome.

Also, not only could a person become homeless but he/she could go into a depressive episode without medical treatment or any supervision and commit suicide-up to 15% of people who have serious mood disorders attempt suicide. The rate is higher if the person with a mood disorder is homeless and not getting proper treatment.

About The Author

David Oliver is the founder of a one stop source of information on how to cope and deal with bipolar disorder. Sign up for one of his FREE Mini Courses on Bipolar by visiting

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mental health of homeless children and their families

Panos Vostanis
Panos Vostanis is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Leicester (Greenwood Institute of Child Health, Westcotes House, Westcotes Drive, Leicester LE3 0QU, UK. Tel: 0116 225 2880; fax: 0116 225 2881; e-mail: In his National Health Service (NHS) capacity, he provides a mental health service for children looked after by local authorities, youth offenders and homeless families. The research projects on homeless children have been supported by the Nuffield Foundation (1996–1998), West Midlands NHS Executive Research and Development (1998–2000) and, currently, the PPP Healthcare Medical Trust.

Homeless families are defined as all adults with dependent children who are statutorily accepted by local authorities (housing departments) in the UK, and are usually accommodated for a brief period in voluntary agency, local authority or housing association hostels. This period varies from a few days to several months, although the target for rehousing is usually around 4 to 6 weeks. Some housing departments, particularly in London, also use bed and breakfast accommodation.

This definition is obviously fairly broad and does not include those children and their carers who have lost their homes and live with friends or relatives, on the streets, in squats or as travellers. For this reason, official statistics are not often accurate, although it is estimated that about 140 000 families in the UK fulfil these criteria each year (Vostanis & Cumella, 1999). Many of these families become homeless again within 1 year of rehousing. The average family comprises a single mother and at least two children (usually under 11 years), although there are a number of adolescents and fathers living in homeless centres.

On the whole, reasons for family homelessness are different from those for single homeless adults. The majority of families become homeless because of domestic violence and, to a lesser extent, harassment from neighbours. In our epidemiological studies (Vostanis et al, 1997), the corresponding figures were 50% and 25%. These very much depend on the type of accommodation, as most local authorities or voluntary organisations (for example, Women’s Aid or Crisis Response) have hostels exclusively or predominantly for victims of domestic violence. The proportion of families who are refugees has fluctuated since the late 1990s. Initially, they were confined to the London area, but in the past few years their numbers have been rising in most parts of the UK. There is, however, an increasing tendency for refugees not to go through the above homelessness route. Similar trends in homelessness have been evident in other Western societies, mainly in North America (Weinreb & Rossi, 1995; Bassuk et al, 1996; Better Homes Fund, 1999).

Characteristics and needs

Homeless children and families are a heterogeneous population, with multiple and interrelated needs. This is a crucial observation for the development of services. The episode of homelessness is rarely a one-off event. Most families have histories of previous chronic adversities that constitute risk factors for both children and parents (Bassuk et al, 1997). Such events include family conflict, violence and breakdown; limited or absent networks for family and social support; recurring moves; poverty; and unemployment. Mothers are more likely to have suffered abuse in their own childhood and adult life and children have increased rates of placement on the at-risk child protection register, because of neglect, physical and/or sexual abuse.

Studies have looked at a range of health needs among homeless children and their parents. Not surprisingly, a number of problems appear to cluster in this population. In particular, the children are more likely to have a history of low birthweight, anaemia, dental decay and delayed immunisations, to be of lower stature and have a greater degree of nutritional stress. They are also more likely to suffer accidents, injuries and burns. Some studies have found that child health problems increase with the duration of homelessness, although this finding is not consistent. A substantial proportion of homeless children have delayed development compared with the general population of children of a similar chronological age. This includes both specific developmental delays, such as in receptive and expressive language and visual, motor and reading skills, as well as general skills and educational status (Page et al, 1993; Webb et al, 2001).

Mental health problems and disorders

The social profile of homeless children includes many well-established risk factors for the development and maintenance of psychopathology. These are not specific to child or adult psychiatric disorders, as research has found high prevalence rates for a number of emotional and behavioural problems and disorders (Amery et al, 1995). In children of pre-school and primary school age, behavioural problems include sleep disturbance, feeding problems, aggression and hyperactivity. These are often comorbid with emotional or developmental disorders. Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often precipitated by life events such as witnessing domestic violence. About one-third of children admitted to hostels in Birmingham were reported to have mental health problems which required clinical assessment and treatment (Vostanis et al, 1997). Histories of abuse and the presence of mental illness in mothers were the strongest predictors of child psychopathology. In the absence of any intervention, child mental health problems remained 1 year later (Vostanis et al, 1998). In a subsequent cohort, mental health problems among both children and their mothers were strongly associated with poor family and social support networks (Vostanis et al, 2001).

Homeless adolescents and street youth are likely to present with depression and attempted suicide, alcohol and drug misuse, and vulnerability to sexually transmitted diseases, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Two major studies of this group in London (Craig et al, 1996) and Edinburgh (Wrate & Blair, 1999) found significant histories of residential care, family breakdown, poor educational attainment and instability of accommodation. These were associated with sexual risk behaviours, substance misuse and comorbid psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. A high proportion of homeless mothers also have similar psychiatric disorders, again primarily depression and substance misuse. Prevalence rates of 45–50% have been reported (Connelly & Crown, 1994; Zima et al, 1996; Vostanis et al, 1997). These are similar to rates found among single homeless women (Adams et al, 1996).

Access to services

There are several reasons why homeless children and their families cannot access mainstream health and social care services, despite their high level of need. The main one is their mobility between different health and local authority sectors. As most families will have changed address frequently or urgently, they are less likely than the rest of the population to be registered with a general practitioner (GP) or, in the best of situations, to be registered as temporary patients with a GP covering the hostel residents. This reduces their access to primary and secondary medical care as well as to immunisations and other preventive health procedures (Brooks et al, 1998). Homeless families therefore, tend to rely on accident and emergency departments for medical treatment and to have high rates of hospital admission (Lissauer et al, 1993).

The same applies to social services (access teams, family teams and family support units) and other community agencies. Homeless children are also more likely to be out of school, to avoid being traced by a violent ex-partner or because of the distance from the hostel (particularly in large cities). Parents may wait until they know where they are to be rehoused before registering the children with a new nursery or school. Nurseries and primary schools in the proximity of hostels usually have a high pupil turnover, with resulting high costs, and there are often limited vacancies for short periods (Power et al, 1995). These problems are compounded for refugee children. The outcome is that children miss out on their only source of social stability, i.e. their peers, their routines and a sense of achievement, which are important protective factors.

Apart from the organisational problems in accessing services, considering the frequency of child protection incidents and registrations, children may also be at increased risk because of a lack of continuity and information transfer as they often move between different parts of the country and local social services departments may not be aware of their previous history or be informed of it sufficiently well in advance.

These family and service characteristics inevitably have an impact on any potential contact with mental health services. They are less obvious for adults with mental illness, who may be known to local services. However, psychiatric cover of a hostel can be a contentious issue, as residents can be classified as having no fixed abode. The local service may argue that this population substantially increases the number of referrals and therefore requires extra resources. Areas with such additional resources usually target them at the single adult homeless population, where it is more likely that there will be individuals presenting with severe mental illness. It is more difficult to provide cover for parents with depressive or anxiety disorders, self-harm and substance misuse. In our research (Cumella et al, 1998), homeless mothers had a 49% prevalence rate of psychopathology and an 11% rate of contact with mental health services in the previous year, compared with the corresponding rates for children of 30% (need) and 3% (contact with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)).

Child and adolescent mental health services are undergoing an unprecedented change, seeking to improve their accessibility and response to the general population by distinguishing between different levels of intervention (Box 1). Adopting such a service model is even more important for homeless children who cannot at present access services structured around stability and waiting lists for assessment and treatment. Ways of addressing these problems are discussed below.

Parents’ Perspectives on Homelessness And Its Effects on The Educational Development of Their Children

Rita I. Morris, RN, PhD, PHN
Rita I. Morris, RN, PhD, PHN, is professor emeritus of the School of Nursing, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Rachael A. Butt, RN, MSN

Rachael A. Butt, RN, MSN, is a nurse consultant in special education, Hope Infant Family Support Program, San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA

This qualitative study explored parents’ perceptions of how their homelessness affected the development and academic achievement of their children. Grounded theory with symbolic interactionism was the framework for this study. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 34 homeless families in a variety of settings. Multiple factors were found, including unstable relationships, abuse and violence, abdication of parental responsibility, poor parenting models, and resilient children. The findings present a case for supportive educational services for homeless school-age children. School nurses play a dual role. They can ensure that school personnel and resource providers understand the culture of homelessness, and they can develop and implement innovative programs for parents and school personnel to help homeless children.

The Legal Rights and Educational Problems of Homeless Children and Youth

Yvonne Rafferty
Pace University

This article summarizes the educational rights of homeless children and youth afforded by the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. It also describes the educational problems they confront, including academic underachievement and poor school attendance. Factors that exacerbate these outcomes of homelessness are delineated: barriers to accessing schooling and appropriate services; multiple movements between schools; insensitivity of school personnel; barriers to parental involvement; and difficulties in obtaining school clothes and supplies. The extent to which existing laws adequately address identified needs, problems, and barriers is discussed. Gaps in policies and practices are identified and recommendations for social policy changes presented.

1 in 4 Homeless are Veterans

by,James Joyner

A highly touted report coming out today shows that 1 in 4 homeless are veterans.

Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.

And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.

The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.

The Department of Veterans Affairs cited an even higher figure back in August, reporting that “ne-third of the adult homeless population have served their country in the Armed Services.”

According to the Census Bureau, “In 2000, there were 208.1 million civilians 18 years old and older. Almost 26.4 million of these people, or 12.7 percent, were veterans. Presumably, there are no homeless people currently serving in the United States military, so that’s a reasonable baseline.

A couple of things to keep in mind, though. First, our veteran population is overwhelmingly male: Only 6 percent are women, although the percentages increase for younger veterans. The same is true of the homeless population (”single men comprise 44 percent of the homeless, single women 13 percent”).

Second, despite a disproportionate share of veterans among the homeless population, the Census Bureau also reports, “Poverty rates were low among veterans for every period of service. Overall, 5.6 percent of veterans lived in poverty in 1999, compared with 10.9 percent of the U.S. adult population in general.” It is true, however, that “The youngest veterans, those who served in August 1990 or later, were among the most likely to be poor, with a poverty rate of 6.2 percent.” Then again, that’s true of the general population as well.

The DVA offers additional insights:

Atlthough many homeless veterans served in combat in Vietnam and suffer from PTSD, at this time, epidemiologic studies do not suggest that there is a causal connection between military service, service in Vietnam, or exposure to combat and homelessness among veterans. Family background, access to support from family and friends, and various personal characteristics (rather than military service) seem to be the stronger indicators of risk of homelessness.

Almost all homeless veterans are male (about three percent are women), the vast majority are single, and most come from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds. Homeless veterans tend to be older and more educated than homeless non-veterans. But similar to the general population of homeless adult males, about 45% of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness and (with considerable overlap) slightly more than 70% suffer from alcohol or other drug abuse problems. Roughly 56% are African American or Hispanic.

So we have this strange dichotomy: Veterans are less likely to be poor than their counterparts but are also somewhat more likely to be homeless. Much (all?) of this disparity goes away when controlling for demographics, since veterans are overwhelmingly male and disproportionately black or Hispanic.

And whatever disparity remains seems not to be explained by the defining characteristic of veterans, service in the military. The vast majority of veterans, homeless or otherwise, did not serve in combat. Those who did suffer the traumas of combat are apparently no more likely to be homeless than anyone else.

Surge Seen in Number of Homeless Veterans

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 — More than 400 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have turned up homeless, and the Veterans Affairs Department and aid groups say they are bracing for a new surge in homeless veterans in the years ahead.

Experts who work with veterans say it often takes several years after leaving military service for veterans’ accumulating problems to push them into the streets. But some aid workers say the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans appear to be turning up sooner than the Vietnam veterans did.

“We’re beginning to see, across the country, the first trickle of this generation of warriors in homeless shelters,” said Phil Landis, chairman of Veterans Village of San Diego, a residence and counseling center. “But we anticipate that it’s going to be a tsunami.”

With more women serving in combat zones, the current wars are already resulting in a higher share of homeless women as well. They have an added risk factor: roughly 40 percent of the hundreds of homeless female veterans of recent wars have said they were sexually assaulted by American soldiers while in the military, officials said.

“Sexual abuse is a risk factor for homelessness,” Pete Dougherty, the V.A.’s director of homeless programs, said.

Special traits of the current wars may contribute to homelessness, including high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and traumatic brain injury, which can cause unstable behavior and substance abuse, and the long and repeated tours of duty, which can make the reintegration into families and work all the harder.

Frederick Johnson, 37, an Army reservist, slept in abandoned houses shortly after returning to Chester, Pa., from a year in Iraq, where he experienced daily mortar attacks and saw mangled bodies of soldiers and children. He started using crack cocaine and drinking, burning through $6,000 in savings.

“I cut myself off from my family and went from being a pleasant guy to wanting to rip your head off if you looked at me wrong,” Mr. Johnson said.

On the street for a year, he finally checked in at a V.A. clinic in Maryland and has struggled with PTSD, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse. The V.A. has provided temporary housing as he starts a new job.

Tracy Jones of the Compass Center, a Seattle agency that has seen a handful of new homeless each month, said she was surprised by “the quickness in which Iraqi Freedom veterans are becoming homeless” compared with the Vietnam era. The availability of meth and crack could lead addicts into rapid downhill spirals, Ms. Jones said.

Poverty and high housing costs also contribute. The National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington will release a report on Thursday saying that among one million veterans who served after the Sept. 11 attacks, 72,000 are paying more than half their incomes for rent, leaving them highly vulnerable.

Mr. Dougherty of the V.A. said outreach officers, who visit shelters, soup kitchens and parks, had located about 1,500 returnees from Iraq or Afghanistan who seemed at high risk, though many had jobs. More than 400 have entered agency-supported residential programs around the country. No one knows how many others have not made contact with aid agencies.

More than 11 percent of the newly homeless veterans are women, Mr. Dougherty said, compared with 4 percent enrolled in such programs over all.

Veterans have long accounted for a high share of the nation’s homeless. Although they make up 11 percent of the adult population, they make up 26 percent of the homeless on any given day, the National Alliance report calculated.

According to the V.A., some 196,000 veterans of all ages were homeless on any given night in 2006. That represents a decline from about 250,000 a decade back, Mr. Dougherty said, as housing and medical programs grew and older veterans died.

The most troubling face of homelessness has been the chronic cases, those who live in the streets or shelters for more than year. Some 44,000 to 64,000 veterans fit that category, according to the National Alliance study.

On Wednesday, the Bush administration announced what it described as “remarkable progress” for the chronic homeless. Alphonso R. Jackson, the secretary of housing and urban development, said a new policy of bringing the long-term homeless directly into housing, backed by supporting services, had put more than 20,000, or about 12 percent, into permanent or transitional homes.

Veterans have been among the beneficiaries, but Mary Cunningham, director of the research institute of the National Alliance and chief author of their report, said the share of supported housing marked for veterans was low.

A collaborative program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the V.A. has developed 1,780 such units. The National Alliance said the number needed to grow by 25,000.

Mr. Dougherty described the large and growing efforts the V.A. was making to prevent homelessness including offering two years of free medical care and identifying psychological and substance abuse problems early.

One obstacle is that many veterans wait too long to seek help. “I had that pride thing going on, ‘I’m a soldier, I should be better than this,’” Mr. Johnson said.

Kent Richardson, 49, who was in the Army from 1976 to 1992 and has flashbacks from the gulf war, said, “when you get out you feel disconnected and alone.”

Mr. Richardson said it took him two years to find a job after leaving the Army. Then he became an alcoholic. He now stays at the Southeast Veteran’s Service Center in Washington, awaiting permanent subsidized housing.

Joe Williams, 53, spent 16 years in the Army and the Navy, including a deeply upsetting assignment in the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the dead from the gulf war were taken for autopsies.

For the past three years Mr. Williams has lived in a bunk bed in a Washington shelter. He was laid off, his car and house were repossessed, and his wife left him. He moved to Georgia, where he lost another job.

Broke and depressed, he walked from Georgia to a V.A. hospital in the Washington area, where schizophrenia was diagnosed. Now, after three years of medication and therapy, he feels ready to start looking for work.

“I have a mission I’ve got to accomplish,” Mr. Williams said.

Sean D. Hamill contributed reporting from Pittsburgh, Michael Parrish from Los Angeles and J. Michael Kennedy from Seattle.

War Vets Prepare, Serve Thanksgiving Dinner to D.C.'s Homeless

WASHINGTON - Shelters all over the region opened up their doors on Thanksgiving Day to prepare food for the homeless, but one group of volunteers in the District not only served those in need, they also served and fought for America in the armed forces as well.

Philip Yunger served in the U.S. Army and for the past 8 years, he has also served Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless at Capitol Hill United Ministry Church. He has been volunteering at several shelters for nearly three decades. As a retired vet, he says it's his duty to volunteer his time.

"This is a sit down dinner, not a chow line," said James Forward, Vietnam War Vet.

Yunger helps organize the dinner with a few of his war vet friends and help from volunteers in the community. "It's almost like a continuation of what we did in the service as we're almost like a long range patrol, scouring around looking for homeless people," said Yunger.

He says its not hard to find the homeless in the D.C. area and the number of homeless veterans motivates him to volunteer. "So you sit down and you listen to their stories and you understand not everybody's as fortunate and now, in this day and age, there's 16,000 homeless people in the Washington area, a third of which are veterans," said Yunger.

The cooking crew started at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and prepared enough food to serve 100 people. "This is the best on Capitol Hill as far as I'm concerned," said Eric Silverthorn.

"It's delicious and it's good, and I ain't had a meal like this in so long, and I love it." Arlene Mercer says she comes here every Thanksgiving and has a lot to be thankful for. "I'm just thankful to be alive and able to come down here and eat," said Mercer.

Yunger says he will continue to do this every year and offer his service to those who aren't as fortunate. "Really it just comes down to dishing out hope," said Yunger.

The church hosts the homeless for the entire day. The basement stays open all afternoon and the volunteers bring in a big television for everyone to stick around and watch football. At night, some more volunteers bring in hot dogs, chips and soda for the evening football game.

Habitat For Humanity

If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing, please contact the Habitat for Humanity affiliate serving your area
Habitat Affiliates

Gaithersburg, Maryland:
Montgomery Co,Maryland, HFH of
9110 Gaither Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-1422

Phone: (301) 990-0014 x11
Fax: (301) 990-7536

Washington, District of Columbia:

843 Upshur St., NW
Washington, DC 20011
Phone: (202) 882-4600
Fax: (202) 882-9343

Arlington, Virginia:

Northern Virginia, HFH of
4451 1st Pl S
Arlington, VA 22204-1317
Phone: (703) 521-9890
Fax: (703) 521-9893

Baltimore, Maryland:

Chesapeake HFH
3326 Keswick Rd
Baltimore, MD 21211
Phone: (410) 366-1250
Fax: (410) 336-1310

Baltimore, Maryland:

Sandtown HFH
1300 N Fulton Ave
Baltimore, MD 21217-1528
Phone: (410) 669-3309
Fax: (410) 523-3015

Newport News, Virginia:

Peninsula HFH
PO Box 1443
Newport News, VA 23601-0443

Phone: (757) 596-5553
Fax: (757) 591-0455

Norfolk, Virginia:

South Hampton Roads, Inc.; HFH of
900 Tidewater Dr
Norfolk, VA 23504
Phone: (757) 640-0590
Fax: (757) 640-0595

Virginia Beach, VA:

South Hampton Rd HFH Gen Store
Providence and Kempsville Rd
955 Providence Sq Shopping Ctr
Virginia Beach, VA 23464Phone: (757) 474-0069
Fax: (757) 474-0086

For info:

Monday, December 8, 2008


Agency Mission Statement—Shelter Partnership, Inc. is dedicated to alleviating, preventing and ending homelessness by assisting in the development of short-term and transitional housing programs, affordable housing, and supportive services for the homeless and potentially homeless throughout Los Angeles County.

Since its founding in 1985, Shelter Partnership has been a leader in the fight against homelessness in Los Angeles County.The agency accomplishes its mission through the following activities:

* Operating the Resource Bank by soliciting large-scale donations of merchandise and ensuring that these items are delivered to the people and agencies who need them most;
* Providing technical assistance to community-based organizations and public agencies (helping agencies receive more than $725 million in federal funds);
* Conducting research and publishing analytical studies to inform public policy;
* Promoting community education.

Shelter Partnership, Inc. is a unique, 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization which develops resources and housing for the growing number of homeless families and individuals in Los Angeles County. Since 1985, Shelter Partnership has continued to provide a variety of support to hundreds of agencies, free of charge. Shelter Partnership also serves as a resource to public agencies, the business community, local and national media, and community members involved in the issues of homelessness and the creation of permanent, affordable housing.

Shelter Partnership, Inc.
523 West Sixth Street
Suite 616
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 688-2188
(213) 689-3188 Fax

Human Rights Awareness Tour

The Human Rights Awareness Tour is a group of traveling student organizers, non-governmental organizations, film makers, bands, photographers, journalists, artists, poets, and performers who have united in an effort to promote Human Rights and establish the notion as a nationwide concern. The Human Rights Awareness Tour will be stopping at universities across the country to organize motivational and educational events to create a positive environment for students and all others to learn about the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as current human rights violations around the globe and the organizations that are playing key roles in defending human rights.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an advisory declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 217 on December 10, 1948 at Palais de Chaillot in Paris. It consists of 30 articles which outline the view of the United Nations General Assembly on the rights guaranteed to all people. Eleanor Roosevelt, first chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that drafted the Declaration, said, "It is not a treaty... [In the future, it] may well become the international Magna Carta."

Based on student and faculty interest and venue availability, a designated week may include any or all of the following events: the Human Rights Awareness Festival with local and national bands and performances, the No Sweat Fashion Show featuring sweatshop free clothing, the Fair Trade Coffee Night with poetry readings and acoustic music, a Speaker Series, a Film Series, and a Human Rights Art Exhibit with live art.

We at the Human Rights Awareness Tour have made a committment to positive activism and believe that the best way to effectively raise awareness that will induce international improvement is through positive thinking and communication. We celebrate and support the United Nations' draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to John R. Corkery, Executive Director of the tour, "Human rights were created to be enjoyed by all of humanity. Our goal with this tour is simply to let people know in a positive way about the existence and benefits of Human Rights. We are not here to push any political agenda, religious ideology, force actions upon anyone, or tell people what to do. We want to show people that human rights are a good thing and are cause for celebration, but ultimately we want people to come to their own conclusions about the best way to support these rights."

Our ideology is perhaps best summarized by the following two quotations from Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King Jr.

"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." Mother Theresa

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr.

We thank you for your interest and participation in this inspirational movement.

Homeless Activist Released On Bail

Homeless activist released on bail
Sandra Mcculloch, Times Colonist
Urban camper and homeless activist David Johnston walked out of jail yesterday free on bail, after agreeing to obey city laws on pitching tents in public places.
Johnston had been in jail relating to charges from an Oct. 17 arrest after he refused to take down a tent in Beacon Hill Park. He was released on conditions he obey the law and follow certain conditions.

On Oct. 31, Johnston was arrested again after he refused to take down a tent that had been pitched at Centennial Square. He was charged with breaching his previous undertaking to obey the law.

Johnston was in Victoria provincial court yesterday afternoon for a bail hearing. Crown prosecutor Pinder Cheema initially opposed Johnston’s release, describing his actions as “a deliberate breach of the undertaking.”

She said there was “every likelihood he will flagrantly disregard court orders.”**

Defence lawyer Sue Wishart acknowledged that Johnston is very outspoken on the issues facing the homeless, and he’s passionate about his beliefs that the homeless have a right to sleep in public places.

He bases that belief on a B.C. Supreme Court decision released Oct. 14, that ruled that due to a shortage of shelter beds the homeless should be able to sleep in Victoria parks.

The city responded by drafting a policy that restricted the camping hours in parks to between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Johnston is keen to have the courts decide the validity of this city policy, said Wishart.

“He wants this matter set for trial,” she said.

Johnston was released on his own recognizance. He must keep the peace and not erect any temporary overhead protection in a public space except between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Any shelter erected during the night must be disassembled by 7 a.m., Judge Ernie Quantz ruled, adding Johnston cannot light any campfire or cooking fire in a public place.

Quantz read the conditions aloud in court to Johnston and asked if he agreed to obey them. Johnston agreed.

Any breach could land Johnston in jail for months, said Quantz. “With your record of breaching court orders … you well know you’ll be detained until your trial date, which may not be until the spring.”

Johnston returns to court Nov. 12.

Bright Beginnings Child Development Center..

Have you ever wondered where children living in shelters go during the day? Where do they learn? Where do they play? Where do they go to feel safe?

Bright Beginnings understands the special needs of young children and families living in homeless environments and through safe, nurturing, developmentally appropriate care, supports children to reach important childhood milestones and parents to end their homelessness.


Bright Beginnings takes a holistic approach to meeting the special needs of homeless families with young children and has developed a comprehensive program to include educational, therapeutic and family support services. Research repeatedly indicates that children living in homeless environments experience increased health problems, developmental delays, anxiety, depression, behavioral problems and lower educational achievement. Bright Beginnings understands the complex needs of our children and supports them to reach important developmental milestones. At the same time, Bright Beginnings supports parents to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency and end their homelessness.

128 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 842-9090
United Way #8379/ CFC #17053