Category Archives: Homeless

America Has Unofficially Declared War on the Homeless

By Josie Wales. Published 12-23-2016 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Ed Yourdon from New York City, USA (Helping the homeless Uploaded by Gary Dee) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Police departments across the country have been ramping up raids on the homeless, stealing coats, blankets, and other personal items and leaving those on the street with no protection from the cold and rain.

The Homelessness San Diego Facebook page recently posted a video of city workers conducting an “encampment sweep” that was recorded by homeless advocate Michael McConnell. According to CW6, “the city says it routinely posts clean-up notices downtown as part of its regular weekly abatement schedule.

The Denver Police Department released a statement last Thursday evening defending police officers caught on video taking blankets, sleeping bags, and tents from homeless people and issuing some citations. Freezing temperatures didn’t stop the cold-hearted cops from confiscating the items “as evidence of the violations.”

The video taken by a bystander went viral after being shared by the ACLU of Colorado’s Facebook page. It was swiftly followed up by an open letter to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver City Council, and city officials. The letter, which expresses horror at the willingness of the local government officials to endanger the lives of the homeless, “demands that the City immediately (1) direct its police officers to cease confiscation of blankets and other survival gear possessed by people experiencing homelessness, (2) suspend enforcement of the Denver Urban Camping Ban through the winter months, using that time to explore alternative approaches to homelessness that do not criminalize people for having nowhere they can afford to live and (3) end the coordinated sweeps of people experiencing homelessness, whether they are conducted through police, public works, private security, all of the above, or any other means.”

This is not the first time Colorado authorities have come under fire for their brutal treatment of the homeless. In February of this year, Denver Law School released a report called Too High A Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado, which examined the economic and social cost of the anti-homeless laws. According to the paper, “Laws that criminalize panhandling, begging, camping, sitting or lying in public, and vagrancy target and disproportionately impact homeless residents for activities they must perform in the course of daily living.”

Los Angeles deployed an entire task force to crack down on homeless people, imposing their own “encampment sweeps” in September. The ironically named “Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement” teams are supposed to help reduce the number of people living on the street, but they appear to be doing nothing more than turning those who are less fortunate into criminals.

The ACLU declared a small victory over the summer when it successfully defended the rights of a man charged with trespassing after trying to gain access to emergency shelter. According to Jessie Rossman, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Massachusetts:

“Today’s landmark, unanimous ruling has affirmed, e.in the state high court’s own words that ‘our law does not permit the punishment of the homeless simply for being homeless.’”

Anti-homeless laws are cruel, unconstitutional, and create more hardship for those targeted, making it harder for them to get back on their feet. It is unthinkable to believe that stealing blankets and clothing from people living on the street is justifiable by any legislation, and it is terrifying to see law enforcement follow orders to do so without blinking an eye.

This article is republished under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

 

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Escalating the War on Low-Income Families

By Paul Buchheit. Published 8-22-2016 by Common Dreams

For the nation's poor, things are not getting better. They are getting worse. (Photo: Pixabay/CC0)

For the nation’s poor, things are not getting better. They are getting worse. (Photo: Pixabay/CC0)

Illinois Governor Rauner recently cut “Meals on Wheels” for seniors and at-risk youth services. Chicago residents were hit with a nearly 13% property tax increase. Some Chicago public schools could face 2017 cutbacks of an incredible 20 percent.

But six of Illinois’ largest corporations together paid ALMOST ZERO state income taxes this year. Full payment of their taxes would have exceeded the $1.1 billion Chicago Public School deficit. Continue reading

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Superbugs, Sewage, and Scandal: Are Rio Olympics Poised for Disaster?

Companies at center of grafting scheme construct Olympic Village, raw sewage pours into Rio de Janeiro, and protests sweep nation

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2016

Thousands of dead fish float in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, where the Olympics rowing and canoeing competitions will take place, in 2015. (Photo: Marcelo Sayao/EPA)

Thousands of dead fish float in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, where the Olympics rowing and canoeing competitions will take place, in 2015. (Photo: Marcelo Sayao/EPA)

A biology professor has simple advice for athletes and tourists descending on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Olympics’ start on Friday: “Don’t put your head underwater.”

Dr. Valerie Harwood, chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, remarked on the dangers posed by Rio’s water to AP, which reported Monday that a 16-months-long study revealed that “the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria.” Continue reading

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Transforming the poverty industry

When governments place maximizing revenue over serving those in need, the vulnerable are harmed. And when the vulnerable are harmed, so are we all.

By Daniel L. Hatcher. Published 6-21-2016 by openDemocracy

openDemocracy oD-UK oDR oD 50.50 Transformation Activism Economics Intersectionality Nonviolence Culture Love and Spirit Environment Care OurBeeb More Transforming the poverty industry DANIEL L. HATCHER 21 June 2016 When governments place maximizing revenue over serving those in need, the vulnerable are harmed. And when the vulnerable are harmed, so are we all. Headquarters of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC. Credit: Wikimedia/Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Headquarters of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC. Credit: Wikimedia/Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

In an effort to shore-up its budget, New Jersey is taking federal government assistance away from school children from poor families. The state has hired a private contractor called the Public Consulting Group to access more school-based federal Medicaid funds. This money is intended to help schools serve special education needs more effectively, but New Jersey has diverted over 80 percent of the funds to its general coffers for other uses—effectively taking tens of millions of dollars from school children every year. Meanwhile, in the face of insufficient funding, schools in the state have resorted to selling ads on school buses. Continue reading

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ACLU Sues Cleveland Over ‘Draconian Reach’ of RNC Protest Rules

‘The restrictions on speech put in place by the city of Cleveland are arbitrary, unnecessary, and unjustifiable.’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-15-2016

Police in riot gear stand behind a group of protesters at the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo: Brendan Scherer/flickr/cc)

Police in riot gear stand behind a group of protesters at the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo: Brendan Scherer/flickr/cc)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in a federal court against the city of Cleveland charging that the rules for the 2016 Republican National Convention violate free speech and “criminalize everyone.”

The rules for the convention, which takes place July 18-21, cover a 3.3-square mile so-called Event Zone. They include restrictions on the duration and location of protests and marches, and require permits for parades. No proverbial soapbox will be allowed within the Event Zone. The rules have already been the target of sharp criticism by advocacy groups and protest organizers. Continue reading

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The War in Afghanistan Has Turned a Generation of Children Into Heroin Addicts

By Michaela Whitton. Published 5-9-2016 by The Anti-Media

By davric (collection personnelle) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By davric (collection personnelle) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the many catastrophic legacies left behind by the longest war in U.S. history is that Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium. As with most parts of the world, the most vulnerable pay the heaviest price of war, and the country has faced a harrowing escalation in the number of child heroin addicts.

“What’s happened in Afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco-state that is really without any parallel in history,” Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins told Democracy Now back in 2014. Continue reading

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Breaking News: ‘There Is No Migrant Crisis’

In fact, the world is facing ‘a crisis of global injustice caused by war, poverty, and inequality,’ says Global Justice Now

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-9-2016

"Rich countries, with the help of the highly profitable security industry, have tried their best to use cruel migration controls, fences, walls and even guns to force people to accept lives of violence and destitution. This is not the solution." (Image: Global Justice Now/Jacob V joyce)

“Rich countries, with the help of the highly profitable security industry, have tried their best to use cruel migration controls, fences, walls and even guns to force people to accept lives of violence and destitution. This is not the solution.” (Image: Global Justice Now/Jacob V joyce)

Search the Internet for articles on the so-called “migrant crisis,” and half a million results pop up in a matter of seconds.

There’s just one problem: There is no such crisis.

“What we call a ‘migrant crisis,’ is actually a crisis of global injustice caused by war, poverty, and inequality,” said Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden, introducing a new briefing that draws attention to the multiple crises that are actually forcing people to relocate and calls for “free movement for everyone.” Continue reading

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Critics Condemn EU-Turkey Deal That Turned Refugees into Bargaining Chips

‘The best way to fight the demagogues in Europe who are currently profiting from the chaos in the Aegean is not to indulge their disregard for international law, but to offer sustainable, principled solutions.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-18-2016

Photo: @marsemarvi/Twitter

Photo: @marsemarvi/Twitter

As European Union ministers in Brussels on Friday accepted a controversial plan described as a direct assault on the “very principle of international protection for those fleeing war and persecution,” advocates for refugees and human rights condemned not only the deal’s specifics but the deplorable deterioration of values it represents.

“The deal with Turkey has been approved,” tweeted Bohuslav Sobotka, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, from inside the meeting of 28 European leaders. “All illegal migrants who reach Greece from Turkey starting on 20 March will be returned.” Continue reading

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Europe’s Controversial New Plan to Deal With the Refugee Crisis

By Michaela WhittonPublished 3-9-2016 at The AntiMedia

Refugees at Vienna West Railway Station, 2015. Photo: Bwag (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Refugees at Vienna West Railway Station, 2015. Photo: Bwag (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Leaders at the emergency E.U. summit, focused on stemming migration to the European Union, have agreed in principle to a bold exchange plan. The proposals state that all new irregular migrants (those without correct documentation) crossing from Turkey to Greece will be returned to Turkey with the E.U. meeting the costs. In exchange for each person re-admitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, a Syrian from Turkey will be admitted to the E.U. Member States.

Nearly 6o million people are currently fleeing conflict and persecution around the world in the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. Over a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, and according to International Organization for Migration (IOM), total arrivals in Greece and Italy have already reached an estimated 141,141 in 2016. Despite newly deployed NATO vessels designed to thwart people smugglers, migrants and refugees continue to arrive daily on the Greek islands from Turkey — which are already host to some 3 million Syrian refugees. Continue reading

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Why Palestinians are Filing a Lawsuit Against American Tycoons for $34.5 Billion

By Michaela Whitton. Published 3-8-2016 by The Anti-Media

Palestine flag

Photo: Flickr via Diego.78

A number of Palestinians have filed a $34.5 billion lawsuit against a group of U.S. tycoons, charities and a megachurch pastor for their complicity in Israeli land theft and violations of Palestinian human rights.

Around 35 Palestinians have brought the case, including Bassem al-Tamimi, a well-known activist and central figure in the popular resistance movement, as well as Palestinian poet and author ofMornings in Jenin, Susan Abulwaha. Other complainants include victims of settler attacks, those whose loved ones were killed by Israeli forces, or others who have lost chunks of land to Israel’s settlement construction. Continue reading

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