Tag Archives: Homelessness

‘Uninhabitable’: UN Report says Total Destruction of Gaza Nearly Complete

Under constant threat of war and a devastating economic blockade, occupied territory is being ‘de-developed’ – a process by which development is not merely hindered but reversed

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2015.

A Palestinian man holds the hands of his granddaughters near the remnants of the residential towers where the girls used to live, in the city of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. (Photo: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba)

A Palestinian man holds the hands of his granddaughters near the remnants of the residential towers where the girls used to live, in the city of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. (Photo: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba)

Citing a series of vicious military attacks in recent years coupled with severe shortages of water, medical supplies, and shelter created by an internationally-backed blockade, a new report issued by the United Nations warns that if current trends continue the Gaza Strip will be virtually “uninhabitable” within five years.

Home to approximately 1.8 million people, Gaza is often referred to the largest open-air prison in the world and the latest report, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is just the latest official assessment (pdf) to paint a devastating picture of life inside the sealed borders of Gaza which has now faced eight years of economic blockade and three large-scale military operations by Israel since 2009. Continue reading

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Icy Cold and Cut Services Create Dangerous Perfect Storm for Homeless

Published on Friday, January 09, 2015 by Common Dreams

by Jon Queally, staff writer

Homeless in New York City.

Homeless in New York City.

As record-breaking cold weather sweeps across the nation this week, reports from around the nation show how the U.S. homeless population—which has risen dramatically in recent years—are being hit the hardest in the wake of slashed funding that has left shelters overburdened and public services at their breaking point.

From Springfield, Massachusetts: “It’s a death sentence, you can’t survive, you get hypothermia, you go to sleep and you die.”:

Keith Kelleher, who is homeless, told 22News, “On a night similar to the one we had last night, very cold, two of them decided to make a statement, they slept on the steps of city hall and they froze to death.”

“It’s a death sentence, you can’t survive, you get hypothermia, you go to sleep and you die,” said Louann Harbert, a homeless resident.

Friends of the Homeless volunteers were searching throughout the night for those in need, helping them to find a warm place to sleep.

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Haiti 5 Years After the Earthquake: Where Has All the Money Gone?

On January 12, 2010, Haiti experienced the worst earthquake in their history; a massive 7.0 magnitude with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne (Ouest Department), approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. Estimates of the total lives lost range from 230,000 people to 316,000, with an additional 300,000 injured and 1.5 million displaced as a result of the disaster. As of September, 2014, 85,432 displaced people remain in 123 sites.

Haiti refugee camp. Photo by Jonathan M. Katz

Haiti refugee camp. Photo by Jonathan M. Katz

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Feeding IS My Religion

"The Hand" By Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia [CC-BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“The Hand” By Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia [CC-BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A growing trend in America regarding the homeless issue is to pass laws in metropolitan areas that essentially make it illegal to be homeless or to help the homeless by feeding them.

These laws are intended to make the homeless problem disappear, not solve the reasons for its existence. In the rush to make our world seem perfect and our communities idealistic, our law makers have disregarded the essence of that which makes us all connected. Continue reading

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Pocket Change or Social Change?

By Pineapple XVI [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Pineapple XVI [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Rockford, IL – Churches can no longer provide homeless people shelter, they are “no longer permitted to act as a temporary warming center and homeless shelter because they do not have the adequate zoning permits.”

Raleigh, NC – Arrest threatened for providing free food and hot coffee to homeless people.

An Indiana restaurant was forced to end its practice of serving up free meals every Thursday by the city after neighboring businesses complained about the presence of poor people nearby.

New York City – Cuomo refuses to consider striking rent subsidy language in the state budget which would allow the city to offer alternatives to a surging homeless population, according  to a report in Long Island’s NewsDay. “The number of people in the city shelter system had risen 7 percent between January 2013 and last January, reaching 53,615, the highest level ever recorded.”

By C. G. P. Grey ([1]) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By C. G. P. Grey ([1]) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These are just a few of the “latest example of a growing trend in municipalities across the country: the criminalization of homelessness as opposed to taking steps to address the fundamental problems that lead to it. Cities have shown a willingness to jail their homeless population rather than provide things like housing even though it is more expensive (to let them remain on the streets), while others have made it nearly impossible for outside groups to provide services for the poor that remain on the streets,” says Think Progress.

As many as 3.5 million Americans are homeless each year. Of these, more than 1 million are children and on any given night, more than 300,000 children are homeless. Homelessness is, in fact, caused by tragic life occurrences like the loss of loved ones, job loss, domestic violence, divorce and family disputes. Other impairments such as depression, untreated mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder, and physical disabilities are also responsible for a large portion of the homeless.  Many factors push people into living on the street. Acknowledging these can help facilitate the end of homelessness in America.

By Matty1378 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Matty1378 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A dear friend of mine drove a route to deliver a city newspaper regularly. She noticed the same people on the same corners every day, and realized both through their appearance and the signs they held pleading for help that homelessness was part of her city and community. Struggling in her own finances, she was unable to offer funds – but she also refused to turn a blind eye. She would offer them sandwiches and a bottle of water, which they were appreciative of. Some she knew by face, others by name. Now that she has lost her own battle with cancer and has died, I often wonder if any one else has noticed the people in her town.

I wonder if you might have driven by one of them. Did you think about how you could help, or did you want the light to change so you didn’t have to see that your city has homeless people in it? Did you think about how your city and state regulators are influencing how these people are even able to have charitable organizations help them?

Society is best judged by how they treat their most vulnerable. Are you ready for judgement?

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