Feb 27

- Homeless population in US capital up 135 percent from last year (WSWS, Feb 26, 2014):

The number of homeless families seeking shelter in the Washington, DC has risen by 135 percent from the same time last year, surging past earlier official expectations of a 10 percent increase, according to various news sources. The growing rate of homeless families seeking shelter is almost unprecedented, bringing the entire family shelter system to maximum capacity by late January.

Nearly 300 individuals fill DC General, a former hospital-turned-family shelter, with another 125 families filling up the District’s only other family shelter. In fact, the city has had to put an additional 436 families with a combined 849 children in motels in the District and in the neighboring Maryland suburbs. The epidemic has been termed “a crisis” by the District’s director of the Department of Human Services (DHS), David Berns.

Continue reading »

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Feb 24

- 10 Stories From The Cold, Hard Streets Of America That Will Break Your Heart (Economic Collapse, Feb 24, 2014):

If the economy is really “getting better”, then why have millions upon millions of formerly middle class Americans been pushed to the point of utter despair?  The stories that you are about to read are absolutely heartbreaking.  I don’t know how anyone can read them without getting chills.  In America today, if you lose a good job, there is a good chance that you will get back on your feet before too long.  But there is also a good chance that you won’t be able to find a decent job and will plunge into the abyss of depression and desperation that so many millions of other Americans have fallen into.  As I wrote about earlier this month, the U.S. economy is definitely not getting any better.  For example, if you assume that the percentage of Americans that want to work is about at the long term average, then the official unemployment rate in the United States would be above 11 percent.  And compared to six years ago, 1,154,000 fewer Americans are working today even though our population has gotten significantly larger since then.  Behind all of these numbers are real flesh and blood people, and you are about to hear from some of them.

The following are 10 stories from the cold, hard streets of America that will break your heart: Continue reading »

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Feb 24

- South Carolina City Implements Law that Requires a $120 Permit to Feed Homeless People (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 24, 2014):

Gandhi famously noted that:

The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.

I would agree with that, as well as the obvious observation that a society’s greatness can also be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. This isn’t to romanticize homelessness or to condemn it. It is merely to note that the homeless are fellow human beings going through their own struggles and difficulties. You may not want to provide them food, but some people do, and there should never be an infringement upon such a basic human right as sharing food with someone who needs it.

Civil rights are often lost in societies by politicians scapegoating unpopular minorities. This happened with jews, gypsies, etc in Nazi Germany and we must be very careful the same does not happen here. One human being should be able to voluntarily give food to another in all cases, without exception. The concept of a permit needed that costs $120 per week is fascist, anti-human and downright evil. Continue reading »

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Jan 22

From the article:

“In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.

How did Utah accomplish this? Simple. Utah solved homelessness by giving people homes. In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail says for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but the keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.”

- Utah is Ending Homelessness by Giving People Homes (Nation Of Change, Jan 18, 2014):

Earlier this month, Hawaii State representative Tom Bower (D) began walking the streets of his Waikiki district with a sledgehammer, and smashing shopping carts used by homeless people. “Disgusted” by the city’s chronic homelessness problem, Bower decided to take matters into his own hands — literally. He also took to rousing homeless people if he saw them sleeping at bus stops during the day. Continue reading »

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Jan 15

Related info:

- Ex-Cops Acquitted In Beating Death Of Homeless Man In California


Cops acquitted of killing homeless man could face federal charges
An evidence photo of beating victim Kelly Thomas in hospital, as it was shown during a preliminary hearing on his death, for Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli at the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California May 7, 2012.(Reuters/Joshua Sudock)

- Cops acquitted of killing homeless man could face federal charges (RT, Jan 14, 2014):

The two police officers acquitted of violently killing a homeless man in California still might face federal charges as the FBI prepares to reexamine the case.

Testimony and evidence entered during the trial surrounding the death of a schizophrenic homeless man from California will be examined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an FBI spokesperson said Monday.

A representative for the FBI field office in Los Angeles told the LA Times on Monday evening that the United States Department of Justice will review the contents of the case before determining if federal charges should be filed against the two former Fullerton, CA police officers acquitted earlier that night of killing the man, Kelly Thomas, in 2011.

Continue reading »

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Jan 07

Robert-Freniere
Robert Freniere in the van where he lives. “He’s done a lot of things. . . . He’s got the gift of gab. Very smart,” said Adm. James Hogg, who officiated at Freniere’s retirement.

- Retired Air Force Colonel With Three Graduate Degrees Is Homeless And Sleeps In A Van (Economic Collapse, Jan 6, 2014):

What advice would you give to a retired Air Force Colonel that has three graduate degrees and that cannot even find work as a janitor?  59-year-old Robert Freniere once served as a special assistant to General Stanley McChrystal, and he has spent extensive time in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  But now this man who once had an office in the heart of the Pentagon cannot find anyone who will hire him.  In addition to his story, in this article you will also hear about several other middle-aged professionals that cannot find work in this economy either.  Despite what the Obama administration and the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that there has been no employment recovery in this country.  What you are about to read is absolutely heartbreaking, but it represents the reality of what is really going on out there in the streets of America today.

A lot of unemployed Americans believe that they cannot find work because they don’t have enough “education” or enough “experience”.  Well, the truth is that there are a whole lot of people out there like Freniere that have lots of both and still can’t even get hired as a janitor: Continue reading »

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Dec 31

See also:

- Meet The Minimum-Wage Homeless Who Are ‘Cleaning Up’ Fukushima (For The Yakuza)

- UN Official ‘Astounded’: Homeless Are Taken To Work In Fukushima, Ready To Die – Pastor: ‘At End Of Month, They’re Left With No Pay’ – Police: They End Up In Debt To Employers After Food And Housing Fees Deducted


- Forbes: “This is outrageous” — Homeless people are being sold to companies and put to work on Fukushima radiation – Gov’t-funded shelter supplying gangsters with workers (VIDEOS) (ENENews, Dec 31, 2013):

Reuters, Dec. 31, 2013 (Emphasis Added): Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers. [...] Mitsunori Nishimura, a local Inagawa-kai gangster [...] housed workers in cramped dorms on the edge of Sendai and skimmed an estimated $10,000 of public funding intended for their wages each month, police say. [...] Nishimura is widely known in Sendai. Seiryu Home, a shelter funded by the city, had sent other homeless men to work for him [...] “He seemed like such a nice guy,” said Yota Iozawa, a shelter manager.

Forbes, Dec. 30, 2013:  More than a year after the earthquake, after the crisis at Fukushima went from bad to worse, the Japanese government commandeered the clean-up effort [...] the report published this morning by Reuters suggests that the clean-up effort is still broken. [...] Reuters revealed that the Yakuza, the notorious criminal syndicates that control Japan’s underworld, are filling a manpower void [...] with homeless men they’ve recruited off the streets. [...] This is outrageous.

Continue reading »

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Dec 29

- Shelters Fill as Rent Aid Disappears (Wall Street Journal, Dec 27, 2013):

New York City residents who received rent subsidies are flocking to homeless shelters.

New York City homeless shelters—swelling with record-high populations not seen since the Great Depression—are increasingly being sought out by people who participated in a now-defunct rent-subsidy program designed to reduce homelessness, according to a report to be released Saturday.

Continue reading »

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Nov 21

- One Lawmaker Is Literally Smashing The Belongings Of The Homeless With A Sledgehammer (Economic Collapse, Nov 21, 2013):

There is a war on compassion in America today.  You are about to read about a Hawaii lawmaker that has used a sledgehammer to smash up at least 30 shopping carts that homeless people were using.  Yes, you read that correctly.  He is actually carrying a sledgehammer around so that he can destroy the belongings of homeless people.  He claims that it is his intention “to do something practical that will really clean up the streets”.  But as crazy as that sounds, the truth is that he is not alone.  As you will read about below, there are dozens of major cities all over the country where feeding the homeless has been banned.  In many of these instances, public officials are very open about the fact that the goal is to make their cities “cleaner” and “safer” places to live.  They simply do not want the homeless around.  In fact, there are some cities such as San Diego and San Francisco where social workers are actually giving homeless people one-way bus tickets out of town.  If you doubt this, just keep reading.  The United States is becoming a very cold, heartless place, and homeless people are increasingly being treated like human garbage in this country.  So how bad will the treatment of the homeless become when the economy gets really bad?

When I first heard about a state representative out in Hawaii that was using a sledgehammer to go after homeless people, I could hardly believe it.  But it is actually true.  The following is a short excerpt from an RT article that was published earlier this week: Continue reading »

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Oct 29

- 29 Incredible Facts Which Prove That Poverty In America Is Absolutely Exploding (Economic Collapse, Oct 27, 2013):

Did you know that the number of Americans on welfare is higher than the number of Americans that have full-time jobs?  Did you know that 1.2 million public school students in the U.S. are currently homeless?  Anyone that uses the term “economic recovery” to describe what is happening in the United States today is being deeply insulting to the nearly 150 million Americans that are considered to be either “poor” or “low income” at this point.  Yes, things are great in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but almost everywhere else economic conditions continue to steadily get worse.  The gap between the wealthy and the poor is at a level that America has never seen before, and this is beginning to create a “Robin Hood mentality” that could cause a tremendous amount of social chaos in the years ahead.  Anger at the “haves” in America continues to rise at a very alarming pace, and the “have nots” are becoming increasingly desperate.  At some point all of this anger is going to boil over, and you won’t want to be anywhere around major population centers when that happens.  Despite unprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year.

The following are 29 incredible facts which prove that poverty in America is absolutely exploding:

Continue reading »

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Oct 10

- What Happens When a Homeless New Yorker Dies? (Smithsoniam Magazine, Oct 7, 2013):

You should be quite relieved that you never have been, and hopefully never will be, on Hart Island

Roughly 7 million people live in New York City, and, like everywhere else in the world, some of them die. Sometimes, they die with no family and/or no money. In New York, a few thousand such people die each year in the city’s hospitals alone. But these people’s stories do not end with their deaths. What does the city do with the bodies? They’re buried on Hart Island.

Hart Island is located in the western part of Long Island Sound, a few miles offshore from the Bronx and only a bit farther from Queens. This tiny island—131 acres—has been uninhabited for years, at least by the living. Since 1869, the city of New York has used the island as a potter’s field, a burial ground for those who could not afford burial elsewhere. The potter’s field now takes up roughly 101 of the island’s 131 acres and is the largest tax-supported graveyard in the world.

More than 850,000 people have been buried on Hart’s Island, and roughly 2,000 more burials occur each year. Dismembered body parts constitute a small minority of the burials. An estimated one-third of the burials are of very young children. With one exception—“special child baby 1 1985,” the first child to die of AIDS in New York City—the bodies are buried in mass graves.

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Aug 28

- It Is Illegal To Feed The Homeless In Cities All Over The United States (Economic Collapse, Aug 27, 2013):

What would you do if a police officer threatened to arrest you for trying to share a sandwich with a desperately hungry homeless woman that really needed it?  Such a notion sounds absolutely bizarre, but this is actually happening in major cities all over the United States.  More than 50 large U.S. cities have adopted “anti-camping” or “anti-food sharing” laws in recent years, and in many of these cities the police are strictly enforcing these laws.  Sometimes the goal appears to be to get the homeless people to go away.  Apparently the heartless politicians that are passing these laws believe that if the homeless can’t get any more free food and if they keep getting thrown into prison for “illegal camping” they will eventually decide to go somewhere else where they won’t be hassled so much.  This is yet another example of how heartless our society is becoming.  The middle class is being absolutely shredded and poverty is absolutely exploding, but meanwhile the hearts of many Americans are growing very cold.  If this continues, what is the future of America going to look like?

An organization called Love Wins Ministries made national headlines recently when police in Raleigh, North Carolina threatened to arrest them if they distributed sausage biscuits and coffee to homeless people living in the heart of the city.  Love Wins Ministries had been doing this for years, but now it is apparently illegal.  The following is from someone who was actually there: Continue reading »

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Apr 09

- The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America (Economic Collapse, April 8, 2013):

Did you know that there are thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground beneath the streets of major U.S. cities?  It is happening in Las Vegas, it is happening in New York City and it is even happening in Kansas City.  As the economy crumbles, poverty in the United States is absolutely exploding and so is homelessness.  In addition to the thousands of “tunnel people” living under the streets of America, there are also thousands that are living in tent cities, there are tens of thousands that are living in their vehicles and there are more than a million public school children that do not have a home to go back to at night.  The federal government tells us that the recession “is over” and that “things are getting better”, and yet poverty and homelessness in this country continue to rise with no end in sight.  So what in the world are things going to look like when the next economic crisis hits?

When I heard that there were homeless people living in a network of underground tunnels beneath the streets of Kansas City, I was absolutely stunned.  I have relatives that live in that area.  I never thought of Kansas City as one of the more troubled cities in the United States. Continue reading »

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Mar 12

- Navy Veteran’s Plight Indicative of Houston’s Growing Homeless Population (News 92 FM, March 11, 2013):

A homeless Navy veteran faces up to a $500 fine for dumpster diving in downtown Houston. Veteran James Kelly was cited for “disturbing the contents of a garbage can” on Thursday morning of last week in front of the Hobby Center.

Update:

- Exclusive: Homeless Veteran Grateful as Lawyer Tackles City’s ‘Anti-Homeless’ Agenda [Listen] (News 92 FM, March 12, 2013)

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Mar 06

- New York’s Homelessness Worst Since The Great Depression (ZeroHedge, March 5, 2013):

State and local governments nationwide have struggled to accommodate a homeless population that has changed in recent years – now including large numbers of families with young children. As the WSJ reports, more than 21,000 children – an unprecedented 1% of the city’s youth – slept each night in a city shelter in January, an increase of 22% in the past year; as homeless families now spend more than a year in a shelter, on average, for the first time since 1987. New York City has seen one of the steepest increases in homeless families in the past decade, advocates said, growing 73% since 2002, and “is facing a homeless crisis worse than any time since the Great Depression.”

Homeless advocates said the Obama administration has focused on more visible problems, such as those sleeping on the streets, taking resources away from families. The steep rise has reignited questions about whether New York’s economic turnaround of the past two decades has helped the city’s poorest residents as they note (despite today’s Dow record highs), “the economy is nowhere near where it was.”

The blame apparently lies at the cessation of ‘entitlements’ as the DHS adds, since the end – in Spring 2011 – of a state-funded program that subsidized rent for people leaving shelters; homeless families have gone up 35%; but they also added that the city was working to find employment for the homeless, “a long-term solution.” Boston and Washington DC are also seeing homeless numbers surge.

Via WSJ, Continue reading »

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Dec 30

Don’t miss:

- America’s 75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe


- ‘Unimaginable number of veterans homeless’ (PressTV, Dec 30, 2012):

American military veterans who have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are homeless in “almost unimaginable numbers,” says Gordon Duff, senior editor at Veterans Today.

American veterans are returning to the United States “where our economy is in total shambles, where we have massive unemployment in the non-veteran work force,” he in a phone interview on Saturday.

“Despite our lowered unemployment figures, a large percentage of those are people that are no longer even bothering to look for work because there is no work in the U.S.,” he added.

Continue reading »

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Dec 21

- 75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe (Economic Collapse, Dec 20, 2012):

What a year 2012 has been!  The mainstream media continues to tell us what a “great job” the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are doing of managing the economy, but meanwhile things just continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class.  It is imperative that we educate the American people about the true condition of our economy and about why all of this is happening.  If nothing is done, our debt problems will continue to get worse, millions of jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be suffocated, the middle class will continue to collapse, and poverty in the United States will continue to explode.  Just “tweaking” things slightly is not going to fix our economy.  We need a fundamental change in direction.  Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic “adjustment” that America has ever gone through.  We need to be able to explain to our fellow Americans what is coming, why it is coming and what needs to be done.  Hopefully the crazy economic numbers that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

The end of the year is a time when people tend to gather with family and friends more than they do during the rest of the year.  Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help start some conversations about the coming economic collapse with your loved ones.  Sadly, most Americans still tend to doubt that we are heading into economic oblivion.  So if you have someone among your family and friends that believes that everything is going to be “just fine”, just show them these numbers.  They are a good summary of the problems that the U.S. economy is currently facing.

The following are 50 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe… Continue reading »

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Dec 19

This is the Greatest Depression.


- After Recession, More Young Adults Are Living on Street (New York Times, Dec 18, 2012):

SEATTLE — Duane Taylor was studying the humanities in community college and living in his own place when he lost his job in a round of layoffs. Then he found, and lost, a second job. And a third.

Now, with what he calls “lowered standards” and a tenuous new position at a Jack in the Box restaurant, Mr. Taylor, 24, does not make enough to rent an apartment or share one. He sleeps on a mat in a homeless shelter, except when his sister lets him crash on her couch.

“At any time I could lose my job, my security,” said Mr. Taylor, explaining how he was always the last hired and the first fired. “I’d like to be able to support myself. That’s my only goal.”

Across the country, tens of thousands of underemployed and jobless young people, many with college credits or work histories, are struggling to house themselves in the wake of the recession, which has left workers between the ages of 18 and 24 with the highest unemployment rate of all adults.

Continue reading »

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Sep 07

- Are You Better Off? 40 Statistics That Will Absolutely Shock You (Economic Collapse, Sep 6, 2012):

Are you better off today than you were four years ago?  This is a question that comes up nearly every election.  This year the Romney campaign has even created a Twitter hashtag for it: #AreYouBetterOff.  The Democrats are making lots of speeches claiming that we are better off, and the Republicans are making lots of speeches claiming that we are not.  So are most Americans actually better off than they were four years ago?  Of course not.  One recent poll found that only 20 percent of Americans believe that they are better off financially than they were four years ago.  But the same thing was true four years ago as well.  Our economy has been in decline and the middle class has been shrinking for a very long time.  The Democrats want to put all of the blame on the Republicans for this, and the Republicans want to put all of the blame on the Democrats for this.  A recent CNN headline defiantly declared the following: “Decline of middle class not Obama’s fault“, and this is the kind of thing we are going to hear day after day until the election in November.  But obviously something has gone fundamentally wrong with our economy.  So who should we blame?Sadly, you hear very little on the mainstream news networks or the talk radio shows about the institution that has the most power over our economy.  The Federal Reserve has far more power over our financial system than anyone else does, but the media and both political parties tell us that the Federal Reserve is “above politics” and that their “independence” must never be questioned. Continue reading »

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Aug 25

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

paul-craig-roberts
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

- America’s Descent into Poverty (Paul Craig Roberts, Aug 24, 2012):

The United States has collapsed economically, socially, politically, legally, constitutionally, and environmentally. The country that exists today is not even a shell of the country into which I was born. In this article I will deal with America’s economic collapse. In subsequent articles, i will deal with other aspects of American collapse.

Economically, America has descended into poverty. As Peter Edelman says, “Low-wage work is pandemic.” Today in “freedom and democracy” America, “the world’s only superpower,” one fourth of the work force is employed in jobs that pay less than $22,000, the poverty line for a family of four. Some of these lowly-paid persons are young college graduates, burdened by education loans, who share housing with three or four others in the same desperate situation. Other of these persons are single parents only one medical problem or lost job away from homelessness.

Continue reading »

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Aug 02
- UK homeless rate rises by 25% (PressTV, July 31, 2012):
The number of the homeless families and individuals in England has surged by 25 percent in the recent three years, a new research shows.

The number of homeless families and individuals in England has surged by a quarter in the recent three years, a new research warns.

According to data experts SSentif, the number of people classed as homeless and in need of emergency accommodation was 50,290 in 2011-12, showing an increase of over 25 percent when compared to 40,020 in 2009-10.

The research also found that regionally, the East of England faced the highest increase, with the number of cases increasing from 3,660 in 2009-10 to 5,270 in 2011-12, up by 44 percent.

Moreover, the figures revealed that the British government’s spending on tackling the problem of homelessness has dropped from £213.7m in 2009-10 to £199.8m in 2010-11.

Continue reading »

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Mar 10

- Homelessness rise of 14% ‘just tip of iceberg’ (Guardian, Mar 8, 2012):

Charities say figure fails to capture huge numbers who are living with friends, in hostels or on streets

Charities have warned that official figures showing a 14% rise in people classed as homeless are just the “tip of the iceberg”, because they fail to capture huge numbers who have been displaced from their home and are living with friends, in hostels or on the streets.

The latest homelessness figures also indicated local authorities are housing homeless families in bed-and-breakfast hotels because of a chronic shortage of suitable private temporary accommodation, a discredited practice that was almost eradicated by the Labour government.

The latest government figures, published on Thursday, showed 48,510 applications for homelessness assistance were approved by councils in England in 2011, up from 42,390 in the previous year, the biggest increase for nine years.

Campaigners warned that the problem would worsen in the coming months as the impact of housing benefit cuts took effect, forcing tens of thousands of families and vulnerable young people out of private rented homes.

There was a 44% increase in households who were accepted as homeless after having their homes repossessed, and a 39% year-on-year increase in the numbers of people seeking help from the council after having their short-term tenancy terminated.

Continue reading »

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Aug 14

Charity says that migrants from eastern Europe who do not qualify for benefits are sleeping rough in appalling conditions

Homeless people sleeping on the streets of London
Eastern Europeans in the UK are often left to fend for themselves if they lose their jobs and some end up sleeping rough.


Homeless migrants from eastern Europe in London who are unable to get benefits have become so impoverished that they are eating rats and drinking lethal cocktails of alcoholic handwash, a homeless charity has warned.

Jeremy Swain, chief executive of Thames Reach, one of UK’s biggest homeless charities, said he had been appalled by the conditions of destitute rough sleepers from new EU states, who now make up more than a quarter of those on the streets of the capital.

“We have come across homeless Poles in north London barbecuing rats. We have to explain to them that unlike the rats back home, in London they would be full of poison. The health risks are enormous,” he said.

A camp that was home to half a dozen Polish rough sleepers was closed down in March. The Guardian spoke to Megan Stewart of Thames Reach outreach team who found the site. She visited on three occasions and found people eating cooked rats, which had either been toasted over a fire or stewed in a pot.

“It was the worst thing I had seen in three decades of working with the homeless,” said Stewart.

Continue reading »

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Jul 20

katie-stagliano

It all began in third grade, when Katie Stagliano’s 40-pound cabbage fed 275 homeless people. Now, Katie’s six gardens have produced over 4,000 pounds of vegetables to feed the needy.

When Katie Stagliano was in third grade, she planted a cabbage in her family’s small garden. When it grew to an astounding 40 pounds, she donated it to a soup kitchen, where it was made into meals for 275 people (with the help of ham and rice). “I thought, ‘Wow, with that one cabbage I helped feed that many people?’” says Katie, now entering sixth grade. “I could do much more than that.”

So Katie started planting vegetable gardens as part of her nonprofit Katie’s Krops – she has six right now – including one the length of a football field at her school in her hometown of Summerville, S.C. Classmates, her family and other people in the community help plant and water, and Bonnie Plants donates seedlings. This past year, Katie took her commitment to a new level: she has given soup kitchens over 2,000 pounds of lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. Katie and her helpers are now harvesting the spring planting, and another 1,200 pounds will be donated by October.

“She just walks in like a proud little girl with her treasures in her arm,” says Sue Hanshaw, CEO of Tricounty Family Ministries, the soup kitchen in Charleston, S.C. where Katie first brought her 40-pound crucifer. “I love what she exudes, caring for others. It’s made a big impact on a lot of people.”

Says Elois Mackey, 49, a formerly homeless mother of two who has received a weekly vegetable delivery from Katie since September: “She is showing that you can help other people no matter how young you are. I love the vegetables she brings.”

katie-stagliano_02

Katie is a well-spoken 11-year-old who juggles the life of a school child with that of a world-changer. Swim practice, tennis matches, and studying (she has had the highest GPA of her class for the last four years) are sandwiched between daily waterings and tending.  “It makes me feel good,” says Katie. “I feel bad for those people who have to go to Palmetto house [a homeless shelter where she and residents recently planted a garden], but I feel good that I’m helping people.”

Katie’s desire to help as well as create sprouted early. “She’s always been very inquisitive and wants to go above and beyond,” says her mom, Stacy, 41. “It’s like, ‘What about this and why aren’t we doing this?”

Since the age of four, Katie has placed first in competitions that include inventing a toothbrush now on sale that teaches water conservation, for the Dr. Fresh company. “When you put the toothbrush in your mouth to brush,” says Katie, “it plays a rap song that says, ‘Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and you can save eight gallons of water.’” Continue reading »

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Jun 22

Floods after days of driving rain have killed at least 39 people in northeastern Brazil, and left 1,000 unaccounted for and another 100,000 people homeless.



President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called a crisis cabinet meeting and said the government would make federal funds available to help the homeless.

“Up until the early afternoon we had 26 confirmed dead in Alagoas and more than 1,000 people missing,” Teotonio Vilela Filho, the Alagoas Governor, said.

“We are praying for the missing to be found alive. But we are very worried because bodies are starting to turn up on beaches and on riverbanks,” Mr Vilela said.

Civil defence officials in devastated Alagoas state said the Mundau River burst its banks in the town of Uniao dos Palmares, leaving at least 500 people unaccounted for there.

“Pernambuco state’s rivers all run out through Alagoas. Swollen as they were they devastated cities,” Mr Vilela said. Thirteen people have been confirmed dead so far in Pernambuco, officials said.

The torrents swept away more than 40,000 houses, entire bridges and streets, as well as rail lines in 22 towns across Alagoas, Vilela said. Continue reading »

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Jun 01

- Giant sinkhole in Guatemala looks as if it goes to centre of the Earth (National Post):

giant-sinkhole-in-guatemala-looks-as-if-it-goes-to-centre-of-the-earth


giant-sinkhole-in-guatemala
Flooding and landslides from Tropical Storm Agatha have killed more than 150 people throughout Central America in the past few days, and apparently caused a giant Guatemala City sinkhole.
By Sara Miller Llana, Staff writer / June 1, 2010


Cartagena, Colombia — Villagers have been buried alive in Guatemala. Residents, caked in mud, have searched in the wreckage of their homes for loved ones. Aerial photos show entire swaths of the nation’s coffee crop under water. Then, there’s the giant Guatemala City sinkhole.

The Atlantic hurricane seasons opens today, preceded by the Pacific one just weeks earlier, but already seasonal weather – coupled with volcano eruptions and other freak accidents – has battered Central American nations.

More than 150 people have been killed, mostly due to flooding and landslides, after Tropical Storm Agatha, the first Pacific storm of the season, struck Guatemala Saturday, impacting El Salvador and Honduras as well. Thousands across the region are homeless. Continue reading »

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Feb 03

(AFP) — Kariana, aged three, has a lonely existence in the New York homeless shelter her parents moved into last year. Lonely, but not alone — there are nearly 16,000 children just like her.

Homelessness in New York has soared as a result of the damaged US economy and children make up almost half of that growing population.

Shivering outside the forbidding gates to a Brooklyn shelter, Kariana’s petite mother, Karen Diaz, said she’d been homeless since arriving three months ago from Puerto Rico with her husband Pedro, Kariana, and a second daughter, aged six.

“We thought we would be here just for 10 days and get some place better, but time flew by,” said Diaz, 24.

Guards would not allow a reporter inside the building, a former hospital now named the Auburn Family Shelter.

Diaz described a rough life of tasteless food, “disgusting, dirty” communal toilets, bunk beds in their family room, and “scary” fellow residents.

“There are no friends for the girls. There are a lot of sick people,” Diaz said, as Kariana fidgeted in the bitter cold. “We keep to ourselves.”

With unemployment running over 10 percent in New York, sky high house prices, and icy winter temperatures, the family is lucky to have a roof while Diaz’s husband searches for a security guard job. Continue reading »

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Sep 23

Ben Bernanke IS RIGHT, ‘the recession is over.’

It is now the ‘Greatest Depression’.


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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Paul Craig Roberts

Americans cannot get any truth out of their government about anything, the economy included. Americans are being driven into the ground economically, with one million school children now homeless, while Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announces that the recession is over.

economic crisis   The Economy is a Lie, too
Switzerland World Economic Forum Davos
At the urging of Larry Summers and Goldman Sachs’ CEO Henry Paulson, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bush administration went along with removing restrictions on debt leverage.

The spin that masquerades as news is becoming more delusional. Consumer spending is 70% of the US economy. It is the driving force, and it has been shut down. Except for the super rich, there has been no growth in consumer incomes in the 21st century. Statistician John Williams of shadowstats.com reports that real household income has never recovered its pre-2001 peak.

The US economy has been kept going by substituting growth in consumer debt for growth in consumer income. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan encouraged consumer debt with low interest rates. The low interest rates pushed up home prices, enabling Americans to refinance their homes and spend the equity. Credit cards were maxed out in expectations of rising real estate and equity values to pay the accumulated debt. The binge was halted when the real estate and equity bubbles burst.

As consumers no longer can expand their indebtedness and their incomes are not rising, there is no basis for a growing consumer economy. Indeed, statistics indicate that consumers are paying down debt in their efforts to survive financially. In an economy in which the consumer is the driving force, that is bad news.

The banks, now investment banks thanks to greed-driven deregulation that repealed the learned lessons of the past, were even more reckless than consumers and took speculative leverage to new heights. At the urging of Larry Summers and Goldman Sachs’ CEO Henry Paulson, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bush administration went along with removing restrictions on debt leverage.

When the bubble burst, the extraordinary leverage threatened the financial system with collapse. The US Treasury and the Federal Reserve stepped forward with no one knows how many trillions of dollars to “save the financial system,” which, of course, meant to save the greed-driven financial institutions that had caused the economic crisis that dispossessed ordinary Americans of half of their life savings.

The consumer has been chastened, but not the banks. Refreshed with the TARP $700 billion and the Federal Reserve’s expanded balance sheet, banks are again behaving like hedge funds. Leveraged speculation is producing another bubble with the current stock market rally, which is not a sign of economic recovery but is the final savaging of Americans’ wealth by a few investment banks and their Washington friends. Goldman Sachs, rolling in profits, announced six figure bonuses to employees.

The rest of America is suffering terribly.

The unemployment rate, as reported, is a fiction and has been since the Clinton administration. The unemployment rate does not include jobless Americans who have been unemployed for more than a year and have given up on finding work. The reported 10% unemployment rate is understated by the millions of Americans who are suffering long-term unemployment and are no longer counted as unemployed. As each month passes, unemployed Americans drop off the unemployment role due to nothing except the passing of time.

The inflation rate, especially “core inflation,” is another fiction. “Core inflation” does not include food and energy, two of Americans’ biggest budget items. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) assumes, ever since the Boskin Commission during the Clinton administration, that if prices of items go up consumers substitute cheaper items. This is certainly the case, but this way of measuring inflation means that the CPI is no longer comparable to past years, because the basket of goods in the index is variable.

The Boskin Commission’s CPI, by lowering the measured rate of inflation, raises the real GDP growth rate. The result of the statistical manipulation is an understated inflation rate, thus eroding the real value of Social Security income, and an overstated growth rate. Statistical manipulation cloaks a declining standard of living.

In bygone days of American prosperity, American incomes rose with productivity. It was the real growth in American incomes that propelled the US economy.

In today’s America, the only incomes that rise are in the financial sector that risks the country’s future on excessive leverage and in the corporate world that substitutes foreign for American labor. Under the compensation rules and emphasis on shareholder earnings that hold sway in the US today, corporate executives maximize earnings and their compensation by minimizing the employment of Americans.

Try to find some acknowledgement of this in the “mainstream media,” or among economists, who suck up to the offshoring corporations for grants.

The worst part of the decline is yet to come. Bank failures and home foreclosures are yet to peak. The commercial real estate bust is yet to hit. The dollar crisis is building.

When it hits, interest rates will rise dramatically as the US struggles to finance its massive budget and trade deficits while the rest of the world tries to escape a depreciating dollar.

Since the spring of this year, the value of the US dollar has collapsed against every currency except those pegged to it. The Swiss franc has risen 14% against the dollar. Every hard currency from the Canadian dollar to the Euro and UK pound has risen at least 13 % against the US dollar since April 2009. The Japanese yen is not far behind, and the Brazilian real has risen 25% against the almighty US dollar. Even the Russian ruble has risen 13% against the US dollar.

What sort of recovery is it when the safest investment is to bet against the US dollar?

Continue reading »

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Aug 10

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

paul-craig-roberts
Paul Craig Roberts

Tent cities springing up all over America are filling with the homeless unemployed from the worst economy since the 1930s. While Americans live in tents, the Obama government has embarked on a $1 billion crash program to build a mega-embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, to rival the one the Bush government build in Baghdad, Iraq.

Hard times have now afflicted Americans for so long that even the extension of unemployment benefits from 6 months to 18 months for 24 high unemployment states, and to 46 – 72 weeks in other states, is beginning to run out. By Christmas 1.5 million Americans will have exhausted unemployment benefits while unemployment rolls continue to rise.

Amidst this worsening economic crisis, the House of Representatives just passed a $636 billion “defense” bill.

Who is the United States defending against? Americans have no enemies except those that the US government goes out of its way to create by bombing and invading countries that comprise no threat whatsoever to the US and by encircling others–Russia for example–with threatening military bases.

America’s wars are contrived affairs to serve the money laundering machine: from the taxpayers and money borrowed from foreign creditors to the armaments industry to the political contributions that ensure $636 billion “defense” bills.

President George W. Bush gave us wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are entirely based on lies and misrepresentations. But Obama has done Bush one better. Obama has started a war in Pakistan with no explanation whatsoever.

If the armaments industry and the neoconservative brownshirts have their way, the US will also be at war with Iran, Russia, Sudan and North Korea.

Meanwhile, America continues to be overrun, as it has been for decades, not by armed foreign enemies but by illegal immigrants across America’s porous and undefended borders.

It is more proof of the Orwellian time in which we live that $636 billion appropriated for wars of aggression is called a “defense bill.”

Continue reading »

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Dec 14


A homeless man smokes a cigarette on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood in this January 27, 2006 file photo. Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders, a report said on Friday, and homeless advocates cautioned many cities were not equipped for the increase. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

BOSTON (Reuters) – Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders, a report said on Friday, and homeless advocates cautioned many cities were not equipped for the increase.

A survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that 19 of 25 cities saw an increase in homelessness in the 12 months to October, while four reported a drop and two cities lacked enough data for conclusive results.

On average, the cities in the survey saw a 12 percent rise in homelessness, the report said. Although the results do not cover all U.S. cities, homeless advocates said they were in line with anecdotal evidence nationwide.

Homeless advocates say families are flooding homeless shelters across the United States in numbers not seen for years, camping out in motels or staying with friends and relatives following foreclosures on tens of thousands of homes during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Continue reading »

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