Today, we have a special announcement: I (Catherine) will be leaving the communications position at the Alliance. I hand the reins to many faces you have already seen on the social media networks and the blog (and the website staff page).
The Alliance’s efforts to communicate and interact with you have grown dramatically in the past 3 years. We’ve:
- Launched social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter which are now followed by thousands of supporters,
- Launched a blog, About Homelessness which included content from across the Alliance departments (policy, research, capacity, admin),
- Improved and updated our website for your better usability, featuring links to our social media networks and our newest publications and reports, including our most popular annual publication, The State of Homelessness in America; and
- Continued to discuss the importance of federal funding, housing-based solutions, and homelessness research in major media outlets, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor.
The best part of my tenure here has been creating avenues in which we can connect with you, providers and consumers. So rarely are we afforded the opportunity to really experience how our work impacts the lives and livelihoods of everyday people. Leveraging these new media tools to create communities has given us a way to keep ourselves focused on what’s really important: ending homelessness for individuals and families.
Thank you all so much for your readership and your commitment to the goals of the Alliance. Working with our ever-growing network of online and offline supporters is what has been most rewarding about this job!
Moving forward, you can direct your communications –related questions to Shalom Mulkey. Or, if you have thoughts, comments, or suggestions about our communications efforts, you can leave them in the comments section or share them on our Twitter or Facebook accounts.
It’s the Atlantic that makes the case that we might have made as well – one good outcome of this situation is that it brings attention to the very real and disturbing problem of homelessness in the country. From the Atlantic: “An estimated 600,000 Americans are currently homeless, including nearly 70,000 veterans, according to the recently released The State of Homelessness in America from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. That’s a small drop-off from 2009, but U.S. rates are alarmingly high: 21 homeless per 10,000 people across the country.”
BBH, the advertising firm that came up with the “homeless hotspots” concept wrote their own defense on their blog yesterday.
In other news:
- The Associated Press wrote about a report that raises concerns for homeless female veterans and their families;
- Reuters covered homeless single mothers and their struggles to provide for their families; and
- The Detroit Free Press wrote about a White House Conference in their city covering LGBT homelessness and youth homelessness.
Keep your eyes out for news about the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in July 2013. Our annual conference is slated to take place from Monday, July 16 to Wednesday, July 18 in Washington, D.C. The website for the conference – including online registration – is still under construction but we’re hoping to launch it at the end of this month.
Now – the news of the week:
- The Oregonian highlighted a group of faith-based organizations that are helping individuals and families with rapid re-housing.
- Reuters wrote about a New Jersey legislator who went undercover to see if he could access shelter and services as a homeless person.
- Earlier this week, there was a White House conference on housing for LGBT people during which Secretary Donovan announced a rule that mandates equal access to housing services for LGBT individuals and families. In a related story, the Associated Press discussed if the next big LGBT issues was over housing for LGBTQ homeless youth.
- In Alliance blog news, we’re happy to announce a few ongoing series for the month of March:
- On Tuesdays, senior policy analyst Lisa Stand will discuss the relationship between the Affordable Care Act and ending chronic homelessness,
- On Wednesdays, capacity building associate Anna Blasco will write about the Alliance’s efforts to help communities transform their homeless systems,
- And on Thursdays, the advocacy team will continue their series on federal legislation and how you can make a difference.
Don’t miss it!
A little housekeeping: After wrapping up the loose ends of the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, we’re happy to announce that the National Conference on Ending Homelessness is slated for Washington, D.C. from Monday, July 16 to Wednesday, July 18. More information on the conference will post to the website as soon as it’s available – so please check back often! (Or you could just sign up for our weekly newsletter.)
Now, after a week’s hiatus, we’re back to share with you news of the week:
- Our friend, Mark Horvath, sat down with Barbara Poppe and Laura Zeilinger of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness as well as Maria Foscarinis of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty to talk about homelessness and solutions. Check out his videos on the Huffington Post.
- There was a touching story from our friend Meribah Knight of the Chicago News Cooperative about youth homelessness in the Windy City. She profiles two young men who left home under wildly different circumstance – but both struggled to find stable, adequate housing.
- The Washington Post, in a similar story, profiled a family in Florida struggling to make ends meet while managing their precarious housing situation.
- The New York Times gave kudos to our friends at Home for Good in Los Angeles in an editorial published just this morning. The once “national capital of homelessness” is looking to doff the title for good.
- Our friend Greg Kaufmann at the Nation writes today about hunger – people facing it, how we’re dealing with it, and what we can do moving forward.
We wrapped up the loose ends from our Los Angeles conference and we followed the release of the President’s Budget Proposal, trying to analyze how proposed funding levels and changes to regulations would impact our goal of ending homelessness. Make sure you didn’t miss any of the following:
- Guest blog posts from the conference written by attendees and colleagues
- A recording of the webinar on the President’s Budget Proposal
- Conference presentations
- A budget rundown and chart outlining proposed funding levels.
And in traditional news:
Obama Budget Splits Homeless Advocates, Huffington Post
Homeless Advocates Divided Over Bill Aimed at Helping Kids, Huffington Post
Obama’s 2013 budget would boost Veterans Affairs funding 10.5%, Washington Post
Economic Reports Show a Brightening Outlook, Associated Press
First, a little housekeeping news: we’re just a week away from the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness! Speakers and participants– please make sure to register and get excited! Online registration for the conference ends on Thursday, February 2 at midnight. But don’t worry, you can also register onsite at the conference for $650.
And now, the news:
- President Obama gave his State of the Union speech on Tuesday during which he discussed the economy and economic disparities. We wondered whether he had given any thought to the very economically disenfranchised.
- People across the country conducted point-in-time counts this week to gauge the number of homeless people in their community. On the blog, we linked to a few news clips about the counts and you can also find a post on our own experience during the DC count; you can find a one-page fact sheet on PIT counts on our website.
- The Christian Science Monitor wrote a great piece on ending chronic homelessness. We were pleased to see that they echoed what we know: the solution is permanent supportive housing.
- There was a particularly interesting article in the Chicago Tribune about two formerly homeless brothers experiencing difficulty adjusting to housing.
- The Huffington Post also brought light [again] to the issue of women veterans experiencing homelessness. The rate of homelessness among women veterans, as compared to their male counterparts, is notable.
So our news of the week is clear: on Wednesday, January 18, the Alliance released new report, The State of Homelessness in America 2012. Like last year’s, this report includes state by state counts as well as analysis of eight related indicators including severe housing cost burden and doubled up households (this year’s headliners).
To our great surprise and delight, some major news media have some interest! A big thanks to CNN, the Huffington Post, MSNBC, and Reuters for highlighting some of the findings from the report. The Fiscal Times and The Nation also went out of their way to spill a little ink on our behalf.
And in related news:
- Across the country, communities started conducting their annual homeless counts; many communities are looking for volunteers to help canvass the neighborhood.
- Popular Mechanics, ran a short online post analyzing the way the District of Columbia counts homeless veterans and sheds important light on the process.
- On Tuesday, a man was charged with the murder of four homeless men. The serial killer caused quite a stir last week in the Los Angeles, CA area, especially among homeless men and women and direct service providers.
- The New York Times ran a compelling story about failed adoptions contributing to the increased youth homelessness. When foster families fail to take responsibility for their adopted young people, the youth – often with limited resources and education – often wind up homeless.
- The Times ran another story about “permanent patients” in New York hospitals. These patients, though well enough to be discharged to private residences or continuous care facilities, “languish” in hospitals due to immigration status, lack of sufficient insurance, or lack of appropriate housing. Unfortunately, hospitals end up absorbing millions of dollars in care costs when these patients could be sufficiently cared for at much lower costs in more appropriate settings.
- Adolfo Carrion, NY regional administrator at HUD, penned a thoughtful guest opinion in the Times Union about “an investment in the end of homelessness.”
- And finally, in California, news has been percolating about a serial killer victimizing homeless people. This morning, Orange County (CA) police but homeless people on alert after the murder of three homeless men.
- @ThinkT3 and @Ntl_Homeless send us a note about this article about a new housing initiative for homeless or at-risk veterans.
- @leighallen pointed us to a @huffingtonpost story about a tent city in Lakewood, NJ.
Keep pointing us to stories that you think are interesting about homelessness, poverty, and housing and we’ll be sure to include them in our Friday blogs!
Happy New Year!
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the 2011 Point-In-Time (PIT) counts, actually showing a small decrease, 2.1 percent, in the number of people experiencing homelessness on that night as compared to the year before. The accompany veterans supplement to the PIT report showed a 12 percent decrease in homelessness among veterans. The Alliance distributed a press release in response to these findings yesterday, lauding the federal investment in preventing and ending homelessness but projecting potential increases once the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) expires in 2012.
- A study released this week by the National Center on Family Homelessness reports a 38 percent increase in the number of children experiencing homelessness since 2007, meaning approximately 1 in 45 children is experiencing homelessness.
- Similarly, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a survey of 29 major cities yesterday suggesting that hunger and homelessness were on the rise over the last year.
- The Associated Press reported that nearly half of all American were classified as “poor” or “low income” in the latest census.
- The Alliance, joining the week of homelessness news, released three statements this week: one on the potential impact of sequestration on federal homeless assistance programs, one in response to the PIT counts, and one congratulating Alliance president Nan Roman after she was selected to serve on the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission.
For last week’s News Roundup Poll, we asked you if you thought that private enterprise should be given more of a role in creating affordable housing, or if public housing agencies should be responsible.
There was a pretty balanced division of opinions, with approximately equal parts voting for private and public. A small number of people chose to not vote for either, but selected an unspecified third option. This is understandable, given the complexity of the situation and the need for both public and private efforts, but we’d still like to hear about it in the comments!
In the news this past week:
- Nan Roman, President and CEO of the Alliance, was quoted in an article on Virginia’s plan to end homelessness. The State’s Office to End Homelessness recognizes that rapid re-housing and stable housing will help truly end homelessness in the Commonwealth.
- An editorial in the New York Times this week points out a provision in the Section 8 Savings Act that would increase rents for Americans in poverty, possibly forcing them into homelessness.
- The Washington Post reported that, due to high youth unemployment, the rate of young people, teens, and families with young parents who are homeless has risen in recent years.
- Google is investing in affordable housing in a number of locations across the country, including near their headquarters in Mountain View, California.
- The camps set up by the Occupy Movement are continuing to attract homeless people. The camps offer relative protection from theft, violence, and police harassment, compared to living without a home elsewhere.
- The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) federal welfare program is facing severe budget shortages, leaving poor families without desperately needed assistance. The State of Washington has reduced funds and enacted stricter eligibility thresholds in the face of sharp increases in applications.
For last week’s News Roundup Poll, we asked you if you were planning on donating your time or money to a nonprofit organization benefiting the homeless at some point this holiday season.
Almost all of you said that you would, which is outstanding. Since winter is coming, and the economy is only creeping forward, it is more important now than ever to make sure that the most vulnerable members of society have a safe and stable place to live.