ARCHIVES

New Report: Homeless Being Criminalized

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Officals at Chicago Defender Charities feed the homeless in 2010. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Across the country, homeless people are finding that their activities are being considered criminal acts, according to a new report from a Washington D.C.-based advocacy organization.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty discovered a “startling trend toward criminalizing basic acts necessary for homeless persons’ survival, including eating and sleeping in public.” An analysis in their report, “Criminalizing Crisis: The Criminalization of Homelessness in America,” shows that poverty is at “record levels,” with as many as 3.5 million people experiencing homelessness annually.

“Cities are continuing to penalize people forced to live on our streets and in public spaces,” the report’s authors concluded. The group surveyed local policies in 234 cities, and learned that 40 percent prohibit sleeping in public places; 33 percent prohibit sitting or lying in public places; 56 percent prohibit loitering in public places; and 53 percent prohibit begging in public places. In 188 cities surveyed for both this report and the Law Center’s 2009 report, there were major increases on prohibitions on homeless people begging or panhandling, sleeping and loitering.

Read more »

Tags: , ,
Categories: Homepage

Residents’ Journal Reporters Share Results of Youth Surveys

by Mary C. Piemonte 


Click on the image to view the third episode of this season’s “RJ TV,” on August 2, 2010.

Watch Residents’ Journal Youth Project Director Quintana Woodridge’s discussion with RJ young adult reporter Jasmine Hunt about participation in the Chicago Youth Voices Network’s “Nuf SAID” project, where Hunt and other youth reporters surveyed their peers across the city of Chicago in March 2010, about issues of education, crime, violence, health and the environment, housing and homelessness, jobs and employment issues.

The two RJ reporters also discussed Hunt’s scheduled interview with 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell regarding pollution, an upcoming article on school violence by another youth reporter, and they also discussed a “Youth Truth” video produced by the Nuf SAID group in July 2010.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage Video

RJ Reporter talking about Youth Media Project

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Click on the image to view the second episode of this season’s “RJ TV,” on July 19, 2010.

Watch Residents’ Journal Youth Project Director Quintana Woodridge report the statistics, results, and plans of recent surveys our youth reporters and others in the Chicago Youth Voices Network’s “Nuf-SAID” project done in March 2010, on Chicago low-income area youth perspectives regarding crime, violence, education, health and the environment, housing and homelessness, jobs and employment issues.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Homepage Video

HUD Renews 19 States’ HIV/AIDS Supportive Housing Programs

by Mary C. Piemonte 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on June 29 that it will award $30 million dollars to HIV/AIDS housing programs across the nation – to continue support of stable housing for the next three years – to organizations serving more than a thousand extremely low-income individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS who are at risk for homelessness.

The funding is offered through HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA) and will renew HUD’s support of 29 local programs in 19 states.

Read more »

Tags: , ,
Categories: Homepage Uncategorized

Homeless Vets Speak Out

by Michael Ibrahem 

This reporter was recently forwarded a press release which focused on the problem of homeless veterans recently discharged from active duty. The Jan. 5, 2009, press release was issued by the Illinois chapter of Volunteers of America indicated that “Nationally, over 200,000 are homeless on any given night in this country and more than 500,000 are homeless at some point during the year.” Erica Foreman, a community relations coordinator for Volunteers of America, said: “The lack of affordable housing – that is a big problem in Chicago and nationally, leaving many veterans in America homeless.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many homeless veterans there are. It is obscene. “There has never been affordable housing or sufficient job opportunities for these veterans. Volunteers of America has come up with its own affordable housing program that should be launched in 2010 on Madison and St. Louis on Chicago’s West Side. I think our communities should really get involved and contact local aldermen and governmental officials.”
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

CHA New Work Rule Questioned

by Mary C. Piemonte Editor-In-Chief

The CHA Board of Commissioners approved a new rule requiring all “able-bodied” adult residents – ages 18 to 61 – to work in order to keep their public housing rental unit, during their December 2007 public meeting. However, the new mandated work rule demands some things that may create “homelessness” as well as lawsuits according to legal aid attorneys for the lead resident tenant council.

Tenant Council Concern about New Work Rules
Richard Wheelock, an attorney from the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago spoke with Residents’ Journal on January 10, 2008, on behalf of the Central Advisory Council.

The CAC consists of elected public housing residents to work on behalf of other tenants with the CHA and City of Chicago officials.
Read more »

Tags: , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

State Passes Support for Renters

by Michael Ibrahem 

In Chicago, even everyday citizens have definite ideas about affordable housing or the lack of it. Throughout Illinois, activists and legislators alike are pleased with the results of the State House vote on May 4 for S.B.75, better known as the Rental Housing Support Program. “We are very excited about the passing of this bill…it is estimated that this bill could help 5,500 homeless applicants per year,” exclaimed Mimi Alschuler from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

The Rental Housing Support Program plans to assist families earning 30 percent or below an area’s median income. In most places in Illinois, supporters say that’s about $19,000 for a family of four. More than 150 organizations statewide supported this bill. The program would be funded with a $10 state surcharge on real estate documents recorded with county recorders. All total, counties statewide could build a fund amounting to between $25 million to $30 million, though estimates vary. Those funds are expected to be sufficient annually to assist over 5,500 applicants. Each county would be allowed to keep $1 of the $10 surcharge paid for the documents recorded in the county recorder’s office, with the remainder going for the Rental Housing Support Program.
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

2004 Election Focal Points

by Michael Ibrahem 

In the previous issue of Residents’ Journal, I wrote about two of the candidates who were competing to be the next US Senator from Illinois. I asked them specific questions of interest to our entire readership. However, there are issues which all voters should become familiar with. To better inform our readers, I have asked a number of local activists to comment on some of the issues we should know about.

On November 2, 2004, citizens of the United States of America will go to the polls to vote. Due to the war in Iraq, economic concerns regarding the national budget, jobs, out-sourcing (sending work to foreign countries) and the threat of rising interest rates, many of us will certainly be aware of the importance and significance of the coming election. Locally and nationally, activists, officials and others are sounding the alarm far and wide to make sure we understand what is at stake.
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Affordable Housing for Humboldt Park

by Crystal Medina Editorial Assistant

On April 26, the Latino community and several legislators came out to Humboldt Park to hold a press conference in front of Shakespeare Apartments, 2141 N. Humboldt Blvd., a building where 36 families lost their homes three years ago. Many residents were forced to move with only three months notice because the Section 8 building was turned into condominiums. Residents were forced to leave despite the fact that they had lived in the building for years, some for decades. This type of scenario is happening more and more often, as the loss of affordable housing causes Latino families to become homeless.

Local Latino tenants joined state Sen. Iris Martinez (D-20), Ald. Rey Colon (35th), Ald. Manny Flores (1st), the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Humboldt Park Social Services and other groups to talk about two bills in Springfield currently under consideration.
Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Crystal Clear Views

by Crystal Medina Editorial Assistant

Dear Crystal:

I am a 17-year-old girl and I was having a lot of problems with my mother. So I ran away from home. I’ve been on the streets for about three weeks now.

I used to stay with my older ex-boyfriend but he kicked me out last week. Since then, I’ve been staying with different friends.

I realize now there is no place like home and I want to go back. The problem is, I don’t think my mom wants me back. I’ve seen her about four times since I left and she acts as if she doesn’t care. Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized