Thursday, July 19, 2007

HUD Links

Me, I've been on a waiting list for housing for 2 months, which is indicative of the speed, and thoroughness of government help to the poor. Still, if you want to know what's going on, on the Federal level, you can check out these links.
If you are homeless
If you are a homeless assistance provider
If you want to help the homeless
Other Resources

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Tennessean

The Tennessean
Sunday, 07/15/07
How to handle panhandlers?

The Tennessean asked readers what they thought should be done about people who panhandle on our streets. Following are excerpts from their replies:

What can we do about begging? Well, how about helping people who are reduced to this method of survival? How about giving them a job and a place to live? They're panhandling because they're desperate and don't know what else to do.

It bothers me that so many downtowners, especially the newcomers moving in, are so ticked off at those less fortunate than they. When knocking panhandling, these folks are really annoyed by all homeless persons and want them to go away.

It seems to be the norm today to discriminate, but to blame the homeless for being homeless is the worst kind of bigotry.

Aren't we all beggars? How many persons do we know today who are asking for all kinds of favors — from their schools, their employers, from the government and others? What do you think all those candidates for political office are doing? They wouldn't get very far without asking for help and money. …

If all the business owners downtown, the Chamber of Commerce and Metro government would try to work out a solution to homelessness, then all the impatience and worrying about panhandling would be taken care of.

M. Smith,

Nashville, as well as virtually all other American cities, needs to deal with the issues of poverty and homelessness. We need to address the core issues to provide affordable housing, mental-heath and drug-addiction treatment and public restrooms.

While these issues must be approached with compassion, giving money to panhandlers is not the needed solution. While money donated to worthy charities or social services is applied directly to helping people, money given to panhandlers is usually spent on alcohol or drugs and simply enables these people to continue bad behaviors.

Panhandlers tend to congregate where their behaviors are rewarded and avoid areas where they receive no handouts.

George Gruhn, downtown businessman

Some people just don't want to support themselves or their addictions, so they tend to rely on other people for their support, thinking that the world owes them something.

Anyone caught panhandling anywhere should be written a citation and have to appear in court and possibly be brought up on charges. I think that would decrease the panhandling.

Octavis R. Horne,

I honestey do not know if there's any legitimate solutions I can talk about and feel comfortable with. This form of asking — or begging some would call it — is something that is almost natural in this country!

Maybe we should just keep intimidating the panhandlers and post a sign saying it's not allowed. I don't believe passing out cards would make Nashville's image any more glamorous than any other city or town in our great nation.

Floyd Jackson Jr.

Panhandling is not a Nashville thing. It's a national thing. It's everywhere. What to do about it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Me personally, if I can give, I do. If I can't, I don't. Some people lose more change in their couch. What's a little change?

S. Pruett,

Panhandling and homelessness go hand in hand and are found in every major city across America.

Nashville has a militant brand of panhandling. Very aggressive and not taking "No!" for an answer, they become belligerent and offensive.

What ever happened to "any spare change?" or a cup and a sign asking for a donation?

Now, I'm asked for $1.25 for local bus fare, and another asked for $42.50 for bus fare "to get home."

Sadly, the park across from the library has been taken over by the homeless, and I don't dare walk through there to eat lunch.

What to do? Passing out literature about shelters only infuriates them, and they operate on a strictly "cash-only" basis for beer or wine.

Avoiding their stare makes me feel uncomfortable and angers me that my city has been hijacked.

The only solution I see is to increase funding to make shelters more accommodating with increased social and medical services. It's up to them to improve their situation, not me.

Paul D'Argent

Every city of any size strives to address the many challenges posed by homeless men and women who have real and legitimate needs.

For 13 years, I have worked at Vanderbilt University, often encountering panhandlers on both the West End and 21st Avenue sides of campus.

I also coordinate student groups that work with the homeless during the winter months. We host 15 men on Sundays for the citywide program called Room in the Inn.

My point? I believe that one approach to panhandling is for people, first, to get involved as volunteers in some kind of homeless ministry or program.

This serves to address the real needs of this population (for food, clothing and shelter), while allowing the main population to get acquainted with the homeless and to discover that this is not a monolithic group. …

By the way, not all panhandlers are homeless!

What do I do when asked for money?

Normally, I have a "no-cash" policy. If the person asking for help says he needs a few dollars for a meal, I have offered to walk over to Wendy's or the nearest restaurant to order something for that person. … I have bought bus fare for people, too.

Some panhandlers exploit people by (rightly) assuming that people are pressed for time, don't want to spend time talking to them and will give them a few dollars just to have them go away. These same panhandlers, when offered actual goods or services for which they are asking, will make excuses for not needing the food or fare "right now." Such refusals then become a legitimate way for citizens to discern real needs from tall tales. …

Metro needs to broker the skills of its local clergy, community organizers and others who know this population so that the greater Nashville population can deal, hands on, with those who deserve a little hospitality.

Mark Forrester,

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Find A Shelter

This link will take you to the most complete listings of homeless shelters.

Blogging About Homelessness

Click this link to read the latest blog offerings on the subject of homelessness, by joe and josephine Blogger. Google's Blog Search

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The North American Street Newspaper Association (NASNA)

The North American Street Newspaper Association is dedicated to the growth, promotion and improvement of newspapers created by and for homeless people.

Street papers with websites:
Real Change News -
Online newspaper about the homeless in Seattle, Washington.
Street Roots -
Portland, Oregon street newspaper and online community.
The Big Issue Online -
Street newspaper published on behalf of and sold by homeless people.
News... From Our Shoes -
Homeless newspaper from the state of North Carolina.
StreetSmarts -
Orlando, Florida street newspaper.
StreetWise -
Chicago, Illinois street newspaper.
Curbside News -
A publication for homeless persons in Stanislaus County, California.
Streets -
Online magazine with columns, news, features and links.
Homeless Newspapers and Magazines -
Directory listing homeless newspapers and magazines from around the world.
SL Streets -
Salt Lake City homeless and low-income news and resources. Daily updates on national and local homeless issues and news. Articles written by homeless and homeless advocates.

Friday, July 6, 2007

National Coalition For The Homeless (NCH)

NCH on the Colbert Report
National Coalition for the Homeless
Facts About The Homeless


Our Mission is to end homelessness.

Toward this end, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) engages in public education, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing. We focus our work in the following 4 areas: housing justice, economic justice, health care justice, and civil rights. Most recently, we launched the Bringing America Home Campaign, a comprehensive campaign to end homelessness.

CONTAct us: National Coalition for the Homeless | 2201 P St NW | Washington, DC 20037 | Phone: 202.462.4822 | Fax: 202.462.4823 | Email:

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Bigots And Angels

Ok, some I'm gonna try to make a couple more blogs - lists really. One will be a list of all the bad things that happen to homeless people, shelters being shut down, drunks being attacked by 10 year olds, etc. And the other blog will list all the good things that are happening for the homeless, new shelters being built, homeless people saving old people from burning buildings etc. One will be called Bigots And Buffoons. The other will be called Angels And Architects.

How To Get into Public Housing In Nashville

Click the following link,
How To Get Into Public Housing In Nashville

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

David Snow
David Snow
Professor, sociology
‘Framing’ the homeless
By dispelling stereotypes, David Snow helps communities solve a human crisis (03.18.2003)

The homeless are the homeless — a social enigma — or so it seemed until UCI sociology professor David Snow came along.

Although a specialist in social movements and social protests, Snow has, over the course of his career, become an authority on the lives of homeless people. He first entered this unusual field of study at the request of local government officials while teaching at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1980s. “Different agencies had loads of questions about the homeless, but they had no comprehensive, systematically collected data to develop decent public policy,” Snow says.

To counter this data deficiency, Snow and a colleague, Leon Anderson, followed and interviewed homeless people in Austin for two years — spending more than 500 hours on the streets. The work led to their influential book, Down on Their Luck: A Study of Homeless Street People.

That early work, along with Snow’s later studies conducted at the University of Arizona and his ongoing studies in the School of Social Sciences at UCI, are providing an expert examination of homelessness and, in the process, a road map for successful policies to deal with the problem.

“There are different categories of homelessness,” says Snow, who came to UCI in 2001. “Some homeless people have mental problems, some have drinking problems, some just ran out of luck, and some are dealing with a combination of issues. You can’t have a one-size-fits-all policy. You have to have a number of programs focused on different aspects of the problem.

“While helpful, ‘shelterization’ is not an effective policy to deal with the issue,” he adds. ”What you want is transitional housing in connection with job training and jobs that pay a living wage.”

In the process of providing important, reliable information about homelessness, Snow has dispelled many stereotypes about homeless people, including:

• They are lazy and refuse to work. The homeless people Snow surveyed consistently listed finding a job that pays a living wage among their top priorities. Many said they collected cans and junk for resale, or panhandled, on a daily basis, and even more said they were taking day labor jobs to provide for themselves.

• Most are alcoholics. His studies show that 25 to 35 percent of the homeless indicate problems with alcohol. Snow suggests that drinking is part of the homeless subculture, much as it is part of the college subculture. His research also finds that drinking increases the longer a homeless person is on the street. However, drinking alone does not explain why many people become homeless.

• Most are involved in petty criminal activities. Snow has documented that the rate of violent crimes perpetrated among the homeless is lower than among people living in homes. The homeless did have a higher rate of misdemeanors, such as public intoxication, urinating in public and sleeping in parks – activities that if committed in a home would not be crimes.

“David Snow has made several noted contributions to the field of sociology,” says Judith Stepan-Norris, professor of sociology. “He has played important roles in increasing the understanding of social movements and has contributed to the concept of ‘framing,’ which has gained wide popularity in sociology and other fields.”

As developed by Snow and others, framing provides a theoretical and empirical way to better study social movements and collective behavior. It allows researchers to understand how movement leaders and their followers define events and social conditions in a way that facilitates collective mobilization. Martin Luther King Jr., for example, was a brilliant frame communicator, says Snow, by pulling together and articulating strands of Christianity and democracy that resonated with so many people and got them involved in his cause.

Snow is proud of both his theoretical contributions to his field and his research on homelessness, and he feels compelled to use his work to help improve lives whenever he can. In Tucson, where he conducted homeless studies for the University of Arizona, Snow joined the board of the Primavera Foundation, an organization that supplies men’s and women’s shelters, helps homeless people seek jobs and offers other assistance to get people off the streets.

“Any of us in academia can research and write for each other, and talk to each other — which is what we do much of the time,” he says. “But we have an obligation to extend our work beyond the academy. If I’m studying a broad social problem, I feel compelled to connect my work to the city, county, state or country in which I live.”

— by Alan Janson

Independence Day

As much as we espouse the virtues of Freedom, why do we Americans spend so much time and energy trying to control, manipulate and restrict the actions of others, especially other Americans?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Homelessness And Health Issues

The following information was found at:

The health effects of homelessness include higher rates of infectious diseases, mental health problems, physical disorders, disability, and premature death. A United Kingdom report noted that those sleeping on the street on average lived only to their mid-to-late forties. Higher rates of infectious disease result from overcrowding, damp and cold living conditions, poor nutrition, lack of immunization, and inadequate access to health care services. There has been a particular concern with increased rates of tuberculosis (TB), particularly multiple drug-resistant TB. It has been reported, for example, that 48 percent of the homeless in Toronto test positive for TB. Another factor leading to increases in TB and other infectious diseases is the higher prevalence of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in those segments of the homeless population involved in drug abuse and prostitution.

The conditions in which homeless people live also make them more prone to trauma. A study of street people in Toronto found that 40 percent had been the victims of assault in the previous year, while 43 percent of the women reported sexual harassment and 21 percent reported they had been raped in the previous year. These street people were also more than five times more likely to have been involved (as pedestrians) in a motor vehicle accident than the general population, and one in twelve of them had suffered frostbite in the previous year.

Homeless people are also more likely to suffer from cardiovascular, respiratory, arthritic, gastrointestinal, and skin disorders. The Toronto study found that arthritis and rheumatism were twice as frequent, emphysema and bronchitis five times as frequent, asthma two and one-half times as frequent, gastrointestinal problems twice as frequent, and epilepsy six times as frequent as in the general population.

Mental health problems contribute to and result from homelessness. The United Kingdom report noted that 9 to 26 percent of those living on the street have serious mental health problems (compared to 0.5 to 2% in the general population), while Canadian estimates are that 20 to 40 percent of those using shelters have substance abuse or psychiatric problems. Alcohol abuse and dependency is also very common in this population. But while such substance abuse and mental health problems contribute to homelessness, homelessness also contributes to these problems. The Toronto study, for example, found that one-third of the street people interviewed had feelings of worthlessness, that more than one in four (and almost two-thirds of the women) had contemplated suicide in the past year, and that one in twelve (and almost one in three of the women) had attempted suicide in that same period.

The increase in homelessness among families in recent years has focused increasing attention on the serious health problems faced by children living in hostels and temporary accommodation. These problems include disturbed sleep, mood swings, depression, and developmental delays, as well as increased rates of obesity, anemia, infections, injuries, and other health problems.