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December 3, 2007
DESPITE CONDEMNATION, HESS HOLDS HIS GROUND
DESPITE CONDEMNATION, HESS HOLDS HIS GROUND
Called reckless by some, a new homeless families' policy is having the
desired effect, testifies the Department of Homeless Services
commissioner. > By Tram Whitehurst
City Limits WEEKLY
October 29, 2007
After only two weeks, the lines have been clearly drawn in a
vigorous debate over the new Department of Homeless Services (DHS)
policy eliminating emergency overnight shelter for homeless families
deemed to have other housing options. Both DHS staff and opponents of
the measure packed a City Council General Welfare Committee hearing last
week to examine the controversial policy change.
In his testimony before the committee, DHS Commissioner Robert Hess
gave a progress report on the new policy and explained how and why it
came to be. Hess argued that it has been successful in limiting the
number of ineligible families who show up at the Prevention Assistance
for Temporary Housing (PATH) facility in the Bronx. Since Oct. 12 when
the policy was implemented, the total number of families seeking “late
arrival placement”—or shelter after 5 p.m.—was 46 percent lower than in
the weeks prior to the change. A total of 16 families previously found
ineligible for shelter persisted in requesting late night placement over
the past two weeks, 11 of which were once again denied shelter, he
said. According to Hess, the policy “is helping to restore order at PATH
and strengthen a system that is dedicated to providing support and
services to homeless families.”
Critics at the hearing were not convinced by Hess’s testimony and
questioned the logic and motivation behind the policy. Expressing a
concern voiced by several speakers, Councilman Bill de Blasio, a
Brooklyn Democrat and chair of the committee, asked Hess: “Why would a
family come back [to PATH] if they had a viable alternative?”
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Advocate says legislation needed to help homeless in rural areas
Advocate says legislation needed to help homeless in rural areas
Daily Mail staff
Thursday October 11, 2007
Advocates for the homeless say proposed federal legislation could help alleviate homelessness in rural West Virginia.
Amy Weintraub, executive director of Covenant House, says the HEARTH Act
is "a beautiful piece of legislation" that would equalize government
assistance for those in urban and rural areas who are homeless or at
risk of becoming homeless.
HEARTH is an acronym for Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing.
The act, now before Congress, would allocate federal dollars to help
people in more rural areas get access to services and get them into
permanent housing, Weintraub said.
Right now, more services are available for the homeless in urban areas while the rural population is struggling.
"Rural homelessness is often hidden," Weintraub said.
Weintraub traveled to Washington, D.C., last week at the invitation of
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to testify before the Financial
Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.
Weintraub was also part of a panel discussion regarding reauthorization
of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which sets aside funding
for shelters and housing programs.
Capito said Weintraub's input was valuable for lawmakers because she's
been a longtime advocate for the homeless and has been active on issues
involving education, health care and domestic violence.
Weintraub and Capito said they agree the federal government's definition
of homelessness needs to be expanded so those in rural areas would
qualify for services.
"We are looking at a bill on homelessness to modernize the definition," Capito said.
In West Virginia, there are homeless people who move about as they live with relatives or sleep in cars, Capito said.
"The HUD definition of homelessness excludes many people who we here in
rural West Virginia would identify as homeless," Weintraub said. "That
would include families and individuals living in motels and families
doubling and tripling in trailers, apartments and houses."
Capito said reauthorization and reform of federal homeless programs is a bipartisan issue.
"There are many areas of agreement when you compare the various homeless legislative proposals," Capito said.
She said, for example, several legislative proposals all call for a series of federal grant programs to be consolidated.
That would alleviate the need for HUD to review each applicant project
individually and would cut the time needed for grants to be approved,
Capito said. Consolidation would also increase local control and
flexibility over how money could be spent, she added.
Weintraub said the act also would give communities more flexibility when
it comes to solving homelessness issues in both rural and more
"The HEARTH Act adopts a simple approach to meet needs of rural
communities," Weintraub said. "By aligning HUD's definition of
homelessness with the definition used by other federal agencies, it
ensures that people who are without homes in rural communities are
counted as homeless."
West Virginia's mountainous topography often isolates those in need of
assistance that readily available in urban areas, she said.
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January 30, 2007
HUD Makes $30 Million Available for Capital Repairs
The Housingfinance.com Blog notes: A HUD notice today
broadens eligibility for the $30 million HUD advertised in May as
available for emergency capital repairs to multifamily seniors'
That's Just ...
Categories: The Odd Story
NYC Reopens Section 8 to Nonemergency Applicants
The New York Times: The Bloomberg administration intends to give out 22,000
new federal housing vouchers to help low-income New Yorkers rent
apartments on the private market over the next two years, officials said
yesterday. To do that, officials are temporarily reopening the waiting
list for the program, called Section 8, to nonemergency applicants for
the first time in 12 years.
Twelve thousand of the vouchers will be given out this year and
10,000 next year — more new vouchers than the city has had in years,
officials said. Three thousand will go to New Yorkers on the brink of
homelessness, but officials said that most would go for the first time
in years to ordinary New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet.
Continue reading "NYC Reopens Section 8 to Nonemergency Applicants" »
Out For the Count
The Independent of Massillon Ohio has a nice profile of
Randy Allen, residential director for the Canton Rescue Workers of
America, and staff member Dean Hollaway out on an icy night in Massillon
working on a 24 hour count of street homeless in Stark county.
January 29, 2007
Developer Wants to Take a Stab at the Problem
The Orlando Sentinel: People seeing a 125-acre, 5,600-bed homeless community
will look at it and say, "Wow, I wouldn't mind living here," urban
developer Michael Arth wrote in a proposal advancing the idea.
Arth gets points for enlightened self-interest. He came up with an
imaginative solution to a growing problem of homelessness, which is an
unwelcome addition to the image he has created for DeLand's Garden
District of restored homes where crack houses once flourished.
. . . The only problem is a large body of evidence that suggests it
won't work, and the absence of workable funding from either public or
Arth downplays the $100 million-plus cost of the project as minimal
in the light of what we spend today in public and private funds on law
enforcement, treatment, rehabilitation, feeding, housing and even
burying the homeless. He says the construction would be "a one-time
cost of $17,500 per village resident," although there is no detailed
discussion of what rising construction costs would do during the 10-year
build-out period envisioned or how the operational costs would be
County officials and leaders of the Homeless Coalition, which has
made what most consider good progress in trying to provide shelter,
treatment and coordination among health and welfare agencies, have
greeted Arth's proposal with polite skepticism.
After all, compared with Daytona Beach police Chief Mike Chitwood's
widely applauded suggestion to give the homeless a bus ticket and send
them home, this looks pretty good, especially when you consider studies
have shown about 60 percent of the homeless in Volusia identify it as
. . .A number of the more than 2,500 homeless on Volusia's streets at
any given time aren't seeking the shelter, showers, care and
camaraderie envisioned by a community just for them. . .
New Study Highlights Successful Teen Outreach
A new study from Ohio State of a program in Albuquerque shows that homeless teens benefit from a more comprehensive approach to outreach.
In the treatment as usual, youth who stopped by the
drop-in center were offered food, a place to rest and the opportunity to
meet with case managers who helped connect them with counseling and
other services that they needed. This is the standard treatment for
homeless youth around the country, Slesnick said.
The CRA program offered a more comprehensive treatment involving 12
individual therapy sessions and four HIV education/skills practice
The therapy sessions were adapted for teens who lived on the streets,
Slesnick said. The first goal was to stabilize their situation, and
help them address the basic needs of food, shelter and safety.
The sessions then focused on goals that the youth themselves saw as
most important in their lives. The counselor helped them address coping,
skills development, and the steps needed to achieve their goals.
“The youth then had to apply these skills in the real world, maintain
those skills, and see how they could improve their own situation,”
Continue reading "New Study Highlights Successful Teen Outreach" »
The New York Times profiles "Long Island’s Best Known Homeless Person"
January 18, 2007
State Neglect Results in Mass Evictions
From The Portland Tribune (Oregon) we find a story maddening in the details.
A real estate developer buys a large apartment complex, begins to
renovate the units which are affordable housing, a community of a low
income tenants are evicted.
Rose City Village apartments — a mammoth 18-building
complex that was home to hundreds of low-income Latino and Southeast
Asian immigrant families — had become a ghost town practically
Research by the Portland Tribune found that most of the inhabitants
had left to avoid months of dislocation due to renovation by new
ownership, as well as rents that were swelling by $200 to $300 a month.
Neighbors and residents told of families and friends being scattered
around the city, of tenants crying as they packed their bags to go.
. . . “It feels wrong,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Portland
Tribune, recalling the day she asked the property manager what was
happening. “On the way to the office we passed a Spanish-speaking family
having a garage sale on their front lawn. In another apartment we could
hear a large group singing hymns in Vietnamese and holding a small
church service. … Our next-door neighbors are refugees from Laos and
have lived in their small apartment for 10 years.”
An investigation reveals that the development had originally been
subsidized by the state and local government back in the early 90's.
That created a set of responibilities to maintain affordable housing,
give tenants ample notice of changes and to give the city an option to
buy the units under certain conditions.
Another person who took note of the project was Micky Ryan, a crusading
lawyer for the Oregon Law Center, which advocates for low-income people.
She began amassing documents in order to figure out what happened and
who was responsible.
She found evidence that the complex was not, as city officials
initially thought, merely private property whose owners could do with it
as they wished. Rather, documents and interviews show, in 1991 the
apartment complex was funded with state low-income-housing tax credits
of at least $2.3 million.
The Portland Development Commission, meanwhile, provided a $1 million
rehabilitation loan as well as $7 million in bond financing.
The original owner bought the property for about $4 million in 1989.
In May 2003, he sold it to Steve Rose, a Portland developer, and a
limited-liability corporation called Dylan/Bristol, for $11 million. In
June 2006, Rose sold it to Brenneke of Guardian Management LLC, which
was partners with a California investment company, for $16.5 million.
Continue reading "State Neglect Results in Mass Evictions" »
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Because contributions from individuals allow us to speak freely and
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Read more about the Give|10 Campaign Recent Entries
· DESPITE CONDEMNATION, HESS HOLDS HIS GROUND
· Advocate says legislation needed to help homeless in rural areas
· HUD Makes $30 Million Available for Capital Repairs
· That's Just ...
· NYC Reopens Section 8 to Nonemergency Applicants
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