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National Coalition for the Homeless;
The housing and homelessness crisis in the United States has worsened over the past two years, particularly due to the current economic and foreclosure crises. On March 27, 2008, CBS News reported that 38 percent of foreclosures involved rental properties, affecting at least 168,000 households.1 The Sarasota, Florida, Herald Tribune noted that, by some estimates, more than 311,000 tenants nationwide have been evicted from homes this year after lenders took over the properties.2 People being evicted from foreclosed properties and the economic crisis in general have contributed to the growing homelesspopulation.
As more people fall into homelessness, local service providers are seeing an increase in the demand for services. In Denver, nearly 30% of the homeless population is newly homeless. The Denver Rescue Mission has reported a 10% increase in its services. The State of Massachusetts reports that the number of families living in shelters has risen by 33% in the past year. In Atlanta, Georgia, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless reports that 30% of all people coming into the Day Services Center daily are newly homeless. In Concord, New Hampshire, the food pantry at First Congregational Church serves about 4,000 meals to over 800 people each month, around double the rate from 2007.
Of the 25 cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors for its annual Hunger and Homelessness Report, 19 reported an increase in homelessness in 2008.8 On average, cities reported a 12 percent increase. The lack of available shelter space leaves many homeless persons with no choice but to struggle to survive on the streets of our cities.
Even though most cities do not provide enough affordable housing, shelter space, and food to meet the need, many cities use the criminal justice system to punish people living on the street for doing things that they need to do to survive. Such measures often prohibit activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and/or begging in public spaces and include criminal penalties for violation of these laws. Some cities have even enacted food sharing restrictions that punish groups and individuals for serving homeless people. Many of these measures appear to have the purpose of moving homeless people out of sight, or even out of a given city.
As criminalization measures can be counterproductive in many ways, the U.S. Congress recently passed and the President signed legislation, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, which requires the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness to devise constructive alternatives to criminalization measures that can be used by cities around the country.
Homes Not Handcuffs is the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's (NLCHP) ninth report on the criminalization of homelessness and the National Coalition for the Homeless' (NCH) fifth report on the topic. The report documents cities with the worst record related to criminalizing homelessness, as well as initiatives in some cities that constitute more constructive approaches to street homelessness. The report includes the results of research regarding laws and practices in 273 cities around the country; as well as descriptions of lawsuits from various jurisdictions in which those measures have been challenged.
National Coalition for the Homeless;
The lack of available shelter space leaves many homeless persons with no choice but to struggle to survive on the streets of our cities. Unfortunately, the response has been for the cities to turn to the criminal justice system to respond to people living in public spaces. This trend includes measures that target homeless people by making it illegal to perform life-sustaining activities in public, usually including criminal penalties for violation of these laws. This document covers which cities are the meanest towards its homeless occupants, and what exactly the laws are that makes homelessness appear to be a criminal activity.
California cities have the least affordable housing and the most congested traffic in the nation. California's housing crisis results directly from several little-known state institutions, including local agency formation commissions (LAFCos), which regulate annexations and the formation of new cities and service districts; the California Environmental Quality Act, which imposes high costs on new developments; and a 1971 state planning law that effectively entitles any resident in the state to a say in how property owners in the state use their land. Cities such as San Jose have manipulated these institutions and laws with the goal of maximizing their tax revenues.
Meanwhile, California's transportation planning has allowed transit agencies, such as San Jose's Valley Transportation Authority and Los Angeles' Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to hijack tax revenues that were originally dedicated to highways so they can build rail empires that will do little or nothing to relieve congestion. New highway construction in the 1990s cut San Jose congestion in half, but congestion is again worsening as funds once spent on highways are now diverted to expensive and little-used rail transit projects.
California should change its planning laws to forbid cities and counties from conspiring to drive up housing prices in order to maximize tax revenues. California and its urban areas should also fund transportation out of user fees instead of taxes, thus making transportation more responsive to the needs of users instead of politically powerful special interest groups. Other states should avoid passing laws that create similar conditions. These recommendations and eight others in this report will greatly improve the livability of San Jose and other California urban areas.
National Coalition for the Homeless;
This report is the National Coalition for the Homeless' (NCH) fourth report on the criminalization of homelessness and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's (NLCHP) eighth report on the topic. The report documents the top 20 worst offenders of 2005, as well as initiatives in some cities that are more constructive approaches to the issue of people living in public spaces. The report includes the results of a survey of laws and practices in 224 cities around the country, as well as a survey of lawsuits from various jurisdictions in which those measures have been challenged.
Greater Ohio Policy Center;
Like many cities in the Midwest, Akron, Ohio has weathered a long-term decline in its traditional economic base and has had to reimagine its role in the twenty-first century economy. The city was long believed to have navigated this transition more successfully than many of its peers, but recent data analysis shows many troubling economic and demographic trends that could negatively affect the city's long-term trajectory.
Based on analysis of city-level data and interviews with local stakeholders, the "62.4 Report", titled to refer to the city's square mileage, details the city of Akron's current condition in terms of economic strength, individual and family economic health, neighborhood stability, and demographic trends. The Report focuses on Akron's assets and challenges to make recommendations for how the city can regain a competitive edge.
National Housing Institute;
This report summarizes how McCormack Baron Salazar, a development firm, and its nonprofit subsidiary, Urban Strategies, involved residents in an 18-month redevelopment of New Orleans' C.J. Peete public housing complex after Hurricane Katrina. The National Housing Institute report takes an up-close look at how those charged with redeveloping the public housing development worked with residents throughout the process -- and what they learned along the way.
What Works Collaborative;
Presents criteria for evaluating proposals for reforming the two government-sponsored enterprises. Outlines the key arguments for their structural strengths and weaknesses, a framework and goals for reform, and features of specific proposals to date.
Annie E. Casey Foundation;
Outlines the issues low-income residents face when displaced by redevelopment projects, and suggests alternative approaches and practices to ensure better outcomes. Provides guidelines for planning, securing technical assistance, and referring services.
F.B. Heron Foundation;
Contains president's letter, mission statement, program information, grant guidelines, grants list, highlights from Heron's mission-related investment portfolios, financial statements, and lists of board members and staff.
Rebuild by Design (RBD) was formally launched on June 20, 2013, to ensure that the rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy incorporated designs that built in resilience. RBD was launched with strong public leadership, philanthropic support and professional interest within the design community. The early enthusiasm for RBD came as much from curiosity about RBD's vision and ambition as from the substantial size of the implementation awards from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds that Congress appropriated to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Hurricane Sandy Recovery. Phase I of RBD held true to the vision of iteratively responding to science-based evidence and to local citizens and community groups through open-ended design techniques. These activities unfolded in various ways and to different ends throughout Phase I's three stages – Stage 1: team selection, Stage 2: research, and Stage 3: community engagement. RBD managers also kept an eye on the feasibility of design proposals from technical, financial and political perspectives – parameters that have all been heavily shaped by RBD's post-Sandy New York context. As part of its ongoing commitment to learn from the work it supports, the Rockefeller Foundation provided funding for the Urban Institute to evaluate the design competition component of Phase 1 of RBD, including its innovative aspects, partnerships and community engagement. The highly positive findings of the evaluation indicate that even though RBD itself is limited in scope to the Sandy recovery area, it has the potential to be transformational in the way disaster recovery efforts are designed, funded and implemented at a broader scale in the US. With the caveat that the evaluation looked only at the design competition phase, RBD brings hope and inspiration that collectively communities and decision makers can 'build back better' by responding in innovative and creative ways and working as a region to become more resilient. In sum, RBD has moved the mark on resilience action in the U.S.
National Transitional Jobs Network;
This resource is a case study on Daybreak, a program that offers emergency shelter, street outreach, housing, education, mental health, and employment services -- including transitional jobs (TJ) within a social enterprise setting -- to help youth get and stay housed. Daybreak's target population had originally been young teens ages 10 to 18, but because of increasing needs the program now gives more attention to transition-aged youth ages 18 to 24.
Heartland Alliance National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity;
This resource is a case study on Larkin Street, a program that includes housing and medical care along with education, employment, and career services via their Larkin Street Academy. Larkin Street Academy "meets youth where they are" by offering a range of employment services including YouthForce, a job readiness class, the Institute for Hire Learning (IHL), and Wire Up.