End Mass Criminalization of Black and Brown Youth

End Racism and Discrimination

End Homelessness Now

Expand and Protect Social Security

Support Labor, Jobs for All

The People's Budget

Gender-Neutral Treatment - The Equal Rights Amendment

Saturday, 10 January 2015 00:00

Icy Cold and Cut Services Create Dangerous Perfect Storm for Homeless

Written by Jon Queally | Common Dreams
James Tocchio, who is homeless, holds up a sign as cold temperatures hit Boston this week. James Tocchio, who is homeless, holds up a sign as cold temperatures hit Boston this week. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

With number of people without permament housing rising nationwide and services for them falling, near-zero temperatures put thousands at severe risk

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.

From Greensboro, North Carolina: Volunteers Help House The Homeless During Bitter Cold:

While many people can crank up the heat during winter months – the homeless population don't have that option. Hundreds are stuck outside, sleeping in makeshift tents with no source of heat.

With overnight low temperatures dropping into the teens, winter emergency shelters are filling up quickly.

On most nights, hundreds of men, women, and children are staying at places like the Greensboro Urban Ministry.

From Asbury Park, New Jersey: Homeless shelters see uptick in requests as cold sets in:

"We're caught between a rock and a hard place because of the weather," said Tom Barrett, 52, Thursday morning in the James J. Howard Transportation Center in Asbury Park. "We don't want to be in this situation."

Across the Jersey Shore, frigid temperatures and nasty winds sent the homeless into shelters and public spaces looking for a warm place to stay, people who normally would spend the night in their cars or in public spaces outdoors.

From Washington, DC: District brings homeless in from the cold:

[Wednesday] was the second night this year that the city had announced a “cold emergency,” which allows officials to order homeless people into shelters when the temperature hits 15 degrees or below without snow, and 20 degrees when it’s snowing. The warming centers held 295 adults — 41 percent more than at this point last year.

The numbers illustrated the mounting challenge facing the city as it attempts to fill its moral and legal obligation to house a burgeoning homeless population.

From Boston, Massachusetts: As temperatures plunge to perilous depths, city expands shelter space:

At the Pine Street Inn, where demand for beds has reached record levels, more than 100 people have been sleeping on the floor of the lobby on recent nights. Officials are now planning to open their dining room to provide additional space.

Pine Street is running its outreach vans day and night and will allow the homeless to remain in the shelter throughout the cold spell.

“Everyone’s concerned about what will happen this week,” said Barbara Trevisan, a spokeswoman for the Pine Street Inn.

Dr. James O’Connell, president of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, said he has seen about 30 percent more people on the streets this winter than last year.

From Chicago, Illinois: Cold strains capacity of city's largest homeless shelter:

Children, including babies, are part of a wave of homeless Chicagoans who’ve swelled the population of the city’s largest 24-hour shelter past capacity during this week’s extreme cold spell.

On Wednesday evening, 1,075 people — including 30 children — slept at the Pacific Garden Mission in Pilsen.

“We have 990 beds but we don’t turn anyone away,” said Pastor Phil Kwiatkowski, President of the Mission at 1458 S. Canal.

“We have mats that we put down. It’s about survival. It’s life or death and people just want to get out of the cold.”

From Buffalo, New York: Homeless man in Buffalo loses legs to cold weather:

Jeff, who asked that his last name not be published, lived in a space outside of the Tops plaza in North Buffalo. During Buffalo’s blizzard last March, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital when he could no longer walk.

“My toes were gray, so I knew that was bad frostbite,” Jeff, 53, said. “My whole left foot was almost black. They said that’s going to have to be amputated. I said, yeah, I can see that right off the bat.”

In November he was back on the street.  The severe storm that month claimed his other leg. Someone found him unconscious.

“You don’t realize what you lose until you lose it. There’s so many things I can’t do. I’m restricted to the bed or the chair,” Jeff lamented.

Though every winter season brings difficult times for those without permanent housing, areport released in December by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that homelessness rates grew across the country in 2014, a trend driven by lack of affordable housing, widespread unemployment, chronic poverty, and a lack of needed services for those struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. Meanwhile, a report released in Novemeber by the National Center on Family Homelessness showed there are now more homeless children in the U.S. than anytime in the nation's history.

Looking for a solution to the current crisis? A recent report out of Utah has a novel idea for the homeless: provide them housing. As a report by Fusion media explains:

It’s a solution that might sound too simple, but it’s working. The program, called “Housing First,” has origins in New York. Utah started its own pilot of the program in 2005 with 17 people. The state took them off the street and put them into housing for 22 months. After the state saw all 17 people remained housed and stable during that time, the project was expanded. To date, the rate of chronic homelessness in Utah has dropped 72 percent since the program’s inception.

Watch the report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyQcXfslc6c


Read 4621 times Last modified on Saturday, 10 January 2015 21:29

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1

Willie Nelson - Keeping the Postal Service Alive

Email President Obama Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Featured News

  • Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors +

    As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against Read More
  • Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents +

    The ongoing crisis has left the city without safe drinking water for over two years, but the state claims water Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • BREAKING: Cop Who Shot Keith Scott on Video Will Not Be Charged +

    The Charlotte police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott will not be charged. In a news conference on Wednesday, R. Andrew Read More
  • Army Corps Says It Won’t Forcibly Evict Standing Rock Water Protectors, But Refuse To Elaborate +

    In a follow-up of its letter to leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, the U.S. Read More
  • DAPL Investors Getting Antsy: If Pipeline Doesn’t Move Oil by January First the Contract EXPIRES +

    Though water protectors have held their ground at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline for months now, they need Read More
  • WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain +

    West Virginia property owners won an important case at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday when that Read More
  • Clinton Campaign Joins Jill Stein’s Recount Of Votes In Wisconsin +

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Saturday announced they would participate in former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount of the Read More
  • Sioux Tribe Leader Responds to Army Corps Eviction Letter With Ominous Warning to US Gov’t +

    In response to the altogether shocking announcement the Army Corps of Engineers will be evicting water protectors from the Oceti Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22

Economic and Social Justice Calls

  • 5-4-2016 Economic and Social Justice Call
    The team explores the concept, economic theories and realities of achieving Full Employment in the current economy. Guests include Conor Williams, the secretary of the Transitional Jobs Collaborative in Milwaukee and Michael Darner, Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  • 02-03-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    Listen to this month's call led by Jim Carpenter as we discuss the state of our current economy, the impact of poor economic choices, and the other factors that play into the declining situation around the country, and in the world in this open and guided conversation.
  • 01-06-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    PDAction Board Member Donald Whitehead, and former Ex. Dir. of the Coalition for the Homeless leads the discussion on homelessness, with input from Joel Segal, PDAmerica founding member and National Director of the Justice Action Mobilization Network. Special focus is given to the housing crisis, the role of the banks, programs used by other countries to alleviate the problem, as well as the fact that women are the most adversely affected by this issue. H Con Res 98 - Resolve to Eliminate Homelessness - has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and is endorsed on this call.