So, truth – it was a pretty slow news week. It seems like the news media covers homelessness in cycles: it gets really good (covering solutions and strategies and communities) and then it gets really bad (covering pan handling and camp outs).
I think we’re in an in-between phase.
This week, we noticed a very long feature on youth aging out of foster care in the Seattle Post Intelligencer written by reporters at Investigate West. While we at the Alliance wholeheartedly agree that this is an oft-overlooked and very important issue, we took serious issue with the article’s wildly inaccurate depiction of our own organization:
“At the national level, it’s barely on the radar of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a powerful advocacy group that provides information the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
In fact, not only is youth homelessness a 2010 Policy Priority for the Alliance, but in the last year alone, we’ve:
- published a series profiling the way some communities are using HPRP funds to assist youth,
- launched a youth site visit campaign encouraging legislators to examine the issue in their own communities,
- hired new staff to work on the issue,
- and – just this week – wrote a toolkit encouraging communities to fully incorporate youth in their January 2011 point-in-time counts.
I’m hoping that next time, before writing such inflammatory remarks, it would occur to a journalist to pick up the phone as I’m always happy to chat!
Moving right along: On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times put out a piece on the elderly living at (or below) the poverty line. Hat tip to writer Alexandra Zavis for covering an issue that, in my opinion, doesn’t get examined enough. We focus on children and adolescents and their parents but rarely, I think, do we shed any light on those in their golden years.
And it turns out, the years aren’t so golden. Zavis reveals that too many California seniors are just barely scraping by – and we agree. Last year, the Alliance published a brief called Demographics of Homelessness: The Rising Elderly Population in which we project that elderly homelessness will grow by a third by 2020 and double by 2050 if the current rate continues. It’s time to start talking about this problem.
And finally, Kamala Harris (currently the District Attorney of San Francisco and the Democratic nominee for California Attorney General) penned a piece for the Huffington Post on protetecting survivors of domestic violence.
In the piece, Harris writes about a San Francisco-started-turned-state law that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who are survivors of domestic violence. Harris explains that in California, domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness for women and families. And for such vulnerable families, homelessness makes everything worse: women are less likely to access services or press charges, children’s schoolwork, health, and well-being suffers.
The relationship between domestic violence and homelessness is little acknowledged but significant. Here at the Alliance, we’re paying more and more attention to this relationship and researching ways to divert survivors from homelessness. Kudos to Harris for pointing it out so eloquently.
And that’s a wrap from us – have great weekend!