Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Iraq War Veterans
already joining burgeoning homeless population

Posted on February 14, 2005 by editor

Iraq war veterans already joining burgeoning homeless populationBy Ron Chepesiuk
Adjusting to civilian life after serving in the military has always been a daunting challenge for soldiers, but as the Iraq war continues with no end in sight, an increasing number of returning American soldiers are finding it tough merely to put a roof over their heads.

According to advocates for the homeless, about 100 Iraq War vets are currently homeless, and they expect that number to increase dramatically if US troops stay in Iraq for several years, as Bush administration officials have admitted they will have to.

"Americans think the VA [the U.S. Veterans Administration] is wonderful, but that's a lot of crap," said Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless Veterans (NCHV) in Washington, DC. "The VA doesn't have enough resources to take care of our veterans, and Congress doesn't want to pay for them." The NCHV has 350 member organizations in 46 states, providing shelter, food and other services to homeless vets.

Maria Fostarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in Washington, DC, agreed that the VA lacks the resources to do its job well, and added: "Budgets are not acts of God. They are political choices. The VA needs to be out there making the case for veterans."

As some Iraq war vets become homeless, they join the approximately 300,000 veterans the VA estimates are homeless in the US at any given moment and the half-million who experience homelessness in the course of a year. Nearly 47 percent of homeless vets served during the US assault on Viet Nam and surrounding countries.

No organization, including the VA itself, keeps thorough statistics on homeless vets, but the agency has determined a profile of the homeless vet population. Nearly all are male and single. More than half suffer from mental illness or substance abuse problems; more than two-thirds were enlisted for three or more years; and about a third were stationed in a war zone.

Michael Stoops is Director of Community Organizing for the National Coalition for the Homeless, a separate organization based in Washington, DC. He stressed that homeless vets are not "losers," as some people might think. About 89 percent of homeless veterans received honorable discharges from their branch of service, Stoops noted, citing an NCHV statistic. "It's outrageous that anyone who has put their life on the line for their country should have to live on the street," Stoops commented.

Estimates of how many homeless vets are currently served by VA-affiliated programs and services vary greatly, but the VA itself admits the number taking advantage of its services of any kind is only a minority, with around 40,000 benefiting from housing-related programs each year, mostly through on-the-ground outreach organizations like NCHV. According to most estimates, hundreds of thousands of veterans who experience homelessness at some point during the year do not receive any VA benefits at all.

The White House's 2006 budget proposal includes a small increase in funding for programs that help homeless veterans. Boone said NCHV is pleased with the increase, but said her group estimates that at least twice the amount -- or about $200 million -- would be required to help shelter all the veterans currently looking for assistance. She said the new budget will add an additional 1,073 beds for homeless veterans nationwide and provide three times that many with other services.

In the future, many homeless Iraq war vets will need mental health treatment, Boone predicted. "Studies show that mental health issues for homeless vets begin later in their lives -- as much as twelve years later," she explained. "They will seem to be doing well mentally, despite being on the street, and then some event will trigger a problem. The public should be really concerned about that because the VA doesn't have the facilities or resources to treat the current number of homeless vets with mental health issues, let alone any new ones."

Statistics from the VA show that as of July 2004, nearly 28,000 veterans of the current Iraq war sought health care from the federal agency and that one in every five was diagnosed with a mental disorder. A study that appeared in the July 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that 17 percent of service members returning from Iraq met screening criteria for major depression and general anxiety disorder.

A recent NCHV survey shows that combat veterans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq are beginning to request help from homeless volunteer service providers. The survey was conducted in response to the growing number of inquiries from journalists and government officials involved in veteran and budgetary affairs, Boone said.

Meanwhile, say veterans' advocates, the Pentagon appears to be a in state of denial. While admitting to some problems in treating soldiers returning from Iraq, Pentagon officials have told the press that the situation has been addressed.

Homeless vet advocates remain unimpressed. "The military has done a terrible job easing vets back into American life once their tour of duty ends," Stoops said.

In a recent NBC nightly news report, Dr. Alfonso Batres, head of the VA's transition assistance program, said it was up to retiring veterans to seek help. "You may offer all the programs in the world, but if they don't come in to receive those services then it's very difficult to provide them access," Batres said.

Homeless advocates said the VA is wrong to put the onus on vets and expect them to know what services are available. "Isn't it the job of the VA, as a federal agency, to make the people it serves aware of how [the VA] can help?" Boone asked.

Stoops said, "That type of attitude shows that the system is broken and why we will see more [returning] vets from the Iraq War end up on the streets of America."

As Congress gears up for new term, the NCHV has adopted a comprehensive political agenda that focuses on homelessness prevention strategies and on adequate funding levels for community based veteran service providers. The organization and its allies are lobbying Congress to provide an increase for the Homeless Veterans Revitalization Program (HVRP) and the Veterans Workforce Investment Program (VWIP), the only federal projects specifically dedicated to providing employment training and placement services to American veterans.

The NCHV warns that, without an increase in government funding, a number of programs receiving government grants will decrease and there will be no new grants for new programs.
Meanwhile, advocates for homeless vets would like to see Americans who have strongly supported US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan step forward and get involved with the issue. "You see all those cars with yellow ribbons saying Support Our Troops,'" Boone said. "What you don't see are signs saying 'Support Our Veterans.' But when those men and women take off their uniforms, that's when they need support the most."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Suspicious Death Of Homeless Woman in Fresno

I copied the folowing story from this link

Justice for Pamela Kincaid

by Mike Rhodes ( MikeRhodes [at] ) Saturday Aug 18th, 2007 5:01 PM

Justice for Pamela Kincaid By Mike Rhodes A friend of mine died under disturbing and suspicious circumstances last month. I’m determined to find out the truth and discover what led to her death. Here is what I know: Pamela Kincaid was the lead named plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by the homeless against the City of Fresno, because the city was taking and immediately destroying their property. This sometimes included their IDs, clothing, tools, kittens, and in one case the urn containing the ashes of a grandchild. Pam stood up against this injustice and was willing to put herself on the line to protect the rights of all homeless people in this community. A federal court issued a preliminary injunction to stop the city from conducting these raids on the homeless and on July 30 ruled to certify the suit as a class action lawsuit. That means that all homeless people affected by the city’s policy will be compensated if the lawsuit prevails in court. On the day the class action lawsuit was certified in Federal Court, the attorneys visited Pam in UMC, the long-term care facility she was in. A day and a half later at 1:30 AM on Wednesday, August 1, Pam fell from the fourth floor, under suspicious circumstances. Pam was in this facility because she had been beaten, nearly to death, in mid July. Pam had been telling me for months that she felt she was being targeted by the police and others because of the lawsuit. She was very upset about being arrested and put in jail for several days without charges ever being filed. Pam described what happened: “You know why they arrested me, don’t you? It was retaliation for the lawsuit.”

The arrest occurred when Pam was driving around with friends in downtown Fresno. “All of a sudden there was this swarm of cop cars,” Pam said. “They got us all out of the car but they seemed mostly interested in me. One of the guys I was with had an open can of beer, which they just totally ignored. They arrested me on a probation hold. I’m not on probation and they knew that!” Pam spent the next several days in jail. No charges were ever filed. As she was being released, Pam asked one of the sheriff deputies why she had been in jail. Pam told me the officer rolled her eyes and said, “There ought to be an investigation.”

Pam thought she knew exactly why she was arrested and put in jail: she believed it was because she was the high visibility plaintiff in a very controversial lawsuit that put the City of Fresno and the Fresno Police Department (FPD) in a bad light. Al Williams, another named plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city, was also arrested and released with no charges ever being filed. The day after Al was put in jail, the encampment he lived in was raided and his disabled wife was forced to move. Later, Sherri (Al’s wife) was arrested for trying to use the restroom at McDonald’s restaurant (see page one story in the August 2007 Community Alliance). Life on the streets is hard on homeless people. If you are a woman and homeless, you can double or triple the difficulty factor. There are very few beds for homeless women in Fresno and Pam had given up trying to find a safe place where she could stay at a shelter. She was streetwise, but living in a tent in downtown Fresno can still be dangerous.

She told me that there were people on the street that were upset with her because of the lawsuit. Specifically, she said the drug dealers, who are a small part of the downtown homeless community, were angry with her. They were angry because the lawsuit had increased law enforcement’s presence around some homeless encampments and the drug dealers blamed her. On one occasion, Pam and I talked about the drug situation downtown. She said it was just unexplainable how the police will come in and arrest one person who is dealing drugs and leave everyone else alone. She said, “All they would have to do is to come in here with a drug sniffing dog and it would be all over.”

She believed there had to be some kind of payoff going on so the police protected some dealers and arrested others. A couple of months ago Rev. Floyd Harris was at the corner of G and Santa Clara streets talking to homeless people. He was surprised at how openly drugs were being bought and sold. He too questioned the motivation of the police to selectively enforce drug laws. The drug wars, as they play out in downtown Fresno, are making some people rich, other people vulnerable, and some people end up dead. Pam Kincaid usually lived in very remote locations in the old industrial section of downtown Fresno (south of Ventura). She often lived with other people because that provides a homeless woman with some protection.

Pam, like many homeless women, also had a dog. It is notable how often Pam, and the encampments she lived in, were forced to move. Even after the preliminary injunction and victory in court, homeless people are endlessly harassed and told to “move on.” The City of Fresno conducted one of their raids on homeless encampments on Santa Fe (just south of Ventura) in early July. Pam was living there at the time. This was the fourth or fifth time she had been forced to move in the last six months. Pam ended up in an encampment on Mono, just east of R Street.

On or about July 13, 2007, Pam and a friend (we will call him Mario -- not his real name) started walking toward a store on Ventura. According to Mario, they saw a FPD patrol car cruise by, turn around and pull up beside them. This is not unusual if you are living on the street. The police are always stopping homeless people and asking them for their ID, running their names through the database, and seeing what comes up. It is like fishing. Every so often the police catch someone who is in violation of parole, has an outstanding warrant, or for some other reason is being looked for by law enforcement. Cynthia Greene, who is homeless and another named plaintiff in the lawsuit against the City of Fresno, told me she was stopped four times on one day in mid July. Cynthia said, “I was out trying to collect cans for recycling and the police came up and asked me for my ID. I would get done with one stop and a few minutes later I’d get stopped again. This is unusual even for Fresno.”

Cynthia said she felt uncomfortable with all of the stops and was concerned that she was being targeted. According to Mario, the police officer checked Pam and his ID and let them go. As they were leaving, a group of about six or seven people (at least one them has been identified to me as a drug dealer) walked by and went to the police car. Mario said that he looked back and saw the officer pointing at him and Pam while he talked to the group.

Pam decided to stay at her encampment and Mario continued on to the store. Feeling something might be wrong, Mario returned (without going to the store) to see four of five women from the group savagely beating Pam. Mario said, “Pam is on the ground and one of them has these boot heels, you know like these dress boots, you know what I’m talking about? With the big heels? And they are just. . . ." (Mario jumps up and down as if stomping something on the ground.) According to Mario, they were saying, “Drop the suit, drop the suit, you’re hurting us, you’re hurting them, now we’re hurting you.” Mario says that after he stopped the assault on Pam he tried to flag down a police patrol car. T

he first police vehicle that went by on R Street did not stop. Within 15 minutes another patrol car came by. This time the officer stopped and Mario explained what had happened. The officer left, saying he was going to find the perpetrators of the crime, but he never came back to follow up on the victim or write a report of the assault. I talked to Jeff Cardinale, the Fresno Police Department Public Information Officer, about police involvement in this incident. Cardinale insisted that there is no record of any contact with Pam or Mario on R or Mono street. Pam was admitted to Community Medical Center on July 13. The nurse who attended to Pam said she was black and blue from the waist up. “It was clear that Pam had been beaten,” the nurse told me. The police report issued at the time she was admitted to CMC was more vague. The police report suggests that Pam had a bad sunburn, might have a mental illness, and did not want to press charges.

A man with extensive contacts in the homeless community confirmed, at least in part, Mario’s version of what happened to Pam. He said three young women were bragging about how they had beaten Pam up. Fearing retaliation himself, he did not want to identify those involved. I didn’t find out that Pam was in the hospital until about a week after she was admitted. She was still black and blue and it did not look like she had a sunburn to me. She was clearly disoriented. Her attending physician, Dr. Ossia, told me that Pam did not know what city she was in or what year it was. He explained that she had sub dermal hematoma, which causes swelling inside the skull, and the pressure can cause the disorientation and delusions she was experiencing. He was cautiously optimistic that she would regain her memory.

After Pam was at CMC for over a week it was agreed that she needed to move to more long-term care. But without insurance or any resources the options were very limited. UMC was one of the only long-term care facilities that would take Pam. On the day before she transferred to UMC, I talked to her nurse again. She told me that Pam was starting to remember what had happened and said that the attack had to do with the lawsuit against the City of Fresno. She was put on the fourth floor of the long-term care facility at UMC. At about 1:30 AM on Wednesday, August 1, she went through the doors to a balcony and fell four floors to her death.

The doors were supposed to have an alarm that would alert staff if they were opened and the staff knew that Pam was disoriented due to the attack. Something, we don’t yet know what, went horribly wrong. Several of Pam’s friends saw her just before she died. Those that I talked to said she was doing better, she was not suicidal, and her nurse said her memory was starting to clear up.

We are left with a lot of unanswered questions like:

* If what Mario is saying is true, what did the police officer say to the group that attacked Pam? * Why did the police officer who Mario stopped not return to help Pam or write an incident report? Why does the police have no record of this contact? * Why did the police who talked to Pam at CMC not conclude that a crime had been committed and try to find out who attacked her? * What went wrong at UMC? How could a patient who is known to be disoriented walk onto a balcony, and fall from the fourth floor? * Why was a repairman working on the alarm system leading to the fourth floor balcony the morning after Pam fell? * Why does Fresno not have more shelters for homeless women? Jeff Cardinale, with the FPD, told me they are not investigating either the beating incident or the suspicious circumstances of Pam’s death. He suggested I talk with the sheriff’s department.

After being initially told by the sheriff’s department that they did not have an active investigation either, I called back again. This time I was told that they are investigating Pam’s death. I called the detective investigating the case but have not heard back from him yet. Fresno mayor Alan Autry often talks about this town as being “A Tale of Two Cities.” I can’t help but wondering if the mayor had shown up at Community Medical Center, beaten nearly to death, would they have concluded that he was sunburned, delusional, and that no investigation was necessary?

Maybe this is a tale of two cities - one where there is justice and fairness if you are well to do, but if you are poor (especially if you are a homeless woman) you can’t even get the police to open an investigation after you have been beaten. At least the Coroner’s office and the sheriff’s department are looking into the suspicious nature of her death. I demand justice for Pamela Kincaid. I want the Fresno Police Department to open an investigation and find out who savagely beat Pam leaving her disoriented and brain damaged.

I applaud the Coroner who ordered an autopsy (we are still waiting for the results) and encourage the sheriff’s department to conduct a vigorous investigation into the suspicious circumstances of her death. Pam was a hero.

She stood up for her rights and the rights of all homeless people. As the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the City of Fresno, she sometimes became a lightening rod and vilified by those who would continue the system of bigotry and hatred against the homeless. Pam took pride in being a recognizable leader of an effort that will result in better conditions for Fresno’s homeless.

Being a part of the lawsuit was something Pam did, not for herself, but for all homeless people. It was, in part, that spirit of selflessness that made Pam such a wonderful person and a friend I will miss.

For a list of articles and documents about the struggle for civil liberties for homeless people in Fresno, see:

(picture at top of page)
Pam spoke at the Press Conference on the steps of Fresno City Hall. The Press conference announced the lawsuit against the City of Fresno to stop them from bulldozing homeless encampments.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

No Sitting On The Sidewalk Here Pal

THE PORTLAND ,OREGON CITY COUNCIL ADOPTED AND PASSED THE RECOMENDATIONS OF THE S.A.F.E. COMMITTE ONE MONTH AGO. They take effect on June 9th,2007. Unless you are sitting down on a parade route,or at a "permitted" event,you will be given a warning by a Portland Police Officer.

After that, one time warning, you will be given tickets with fines attached. You can not sit down on pavement in Portland,Oregon from 7:a.m. - 9P.M. at night. This is in effect for 2 years. Unless you are having a medical emergency,that is the only allowable excuse for being on the ground,(passed out drunk,counts too)

I asked the question of the Chiefs Forum,yesterday during citizen imput time,and Assistance Chief Lynn Berg,Stated the above. My follow -up question was ,"whom will write the tickets? Berg's response,was ,"only the Portland Police.

Clean and Safe Officers, do not write tickets,nor are suppose to search you,ever!. Their Boss,Director of Clean and Safe, Bill Sinnot(retired from PPB last April to take this Postition) was present as I asked the question, so he knew and knows all along, what his Officers can and can not do.

When you start getting those citations,and any force is used,that is questionable, and or an arrest is attached, contact the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center @503-295-6400 or pop in for guidence at 520 SW 6th Ave #1050, downtown Portland , Oregon. As always,check in with The "Sisters of the Road" cafe staff,and they too will assist you.

Or contact "Street Roots" newspaper.

They did have complaint forms about a month ago, to list the contact some of you have had with the Portland Police that was of concerning/questionable behavior. Feel free to contact "Mayor Tom Potter" with complaints,as to the lack of Bench's and Bathrooms, and SERVICES in Portland to meet your needs.

As well as your City Ciommissioner Erik Sten, whom is your housing commissioner.

Commission Randy Lenord is your- public safty commissioner,Police complaints etc...

Commission Dan Salztman is over- City Parks, clean and safe complaints or harrashment of the homeless

Commissioner Sam Adams is over -transportation...sidewalk movement etc.

Now if any of you, clearly see anyone whom seems like they are the "Blue collar" type of people,sitting on sidewalks,and a cop is near them, and does nothing to them, note the time, Officer name, and tell Street Roots, newspaper or call the N.W. Constitutional Rights center so they can start tracking the patterns of discrmination.

This ordinance is a clear attack upon the downtrodden in life...And it is going to create a lot of hostility between Police and homeless and mentally ill persons whom could not begin to comprehend.

BE Safe everyone....Bless -You all. Teresa (article copied from Portland Indy Media)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I new website I just came across is here

Just found this website and wanted to share it with my Zebra 3 readers

The story I just read and am commenting on my blog here is found at this link about the iceman:

The only one word I heard used that was somewhat "an itch" to read was the use of the word "bum" in the context and the line itself seemed to poke humor or somewhat a yuppie sentence with the word bum being used" (( Fashion week may be over in New York but I am sure one of those young funky designers would have jumped on this urban retro look creating a line of bum couture. ))

I have done it my self but i personally feel it carries a slight if not well contended (not saying intended) notion this is a degenerate a sub standard or un-excepted type of person.

It is just my opinion that this using of the word is derogatory is in sort of a "political correct" correction.

Now in my vocabulary I do use the word "bumming" like he was bumming around or he was begging and bumming food and water" ....more in the line of an adjective of an action taking place

Yes ... I used to but no longer like to refer to the people who happen to be homeless or are "street people" as bums ...... it's my opinion....that I am trying to not use this word as in a way to show dignity and respect.

SO ..........HEADS UP Z3 READERS!!

As I read more of the next few stories on this website I start to see sort of continuing use of the word "bum" and a sort of callous sarcasm. In fact i am not alone ...

At this link which i found on their very website in a boastful way seems to me like it may be hitting the nail closer straight on.

I bet within a few minutes you may feel like I am starting to feel

And I am not sure this website street people .com it is all peaches and cream!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Homeless Story And Insight ~ By Jody Paulson

I have been technically homeless since January and truly homeless (by that I mean homeless and broke) since June. I woke up yesterday morning and realized that this condition might present a good journalistic topic on Indymedia, so here it is.First of all, in advanced countries (I'll be generous and include my own nation, the United States, in that category) it's not all that bad.

For as much fear as it inspires in the heart of man to keep working at their horror of a job, the hells of homelessness are definitely overrated. The worst things about it are boredom and daily rituals of pride-swallowing. Sounds like your typical low-end service job to me. I'm a good person to ask about this: in the span of a year I've gone from working so much I didn't have a life to not working at all and thus not being able to afford a life. I honestly can't say which is worse, though the latter definitely carries the greater stigma in my country.In point of fact, there are several benefits to homelessness that man "home-guards" fail to appreciate:1) Lots of exercise2) Great opportunity to work on your tan3) Feel more like JesusSeriously, homelessness is a great way to work on your materialist hang-ups.

One thing I've discovered is that my fellow homeless people are far less likely to rip me off than your average Fortune 500 CEO. I'm also much more likely to toss things that I don't need because I simply can't carry them every place I go. In the past few weeks I've given away a cassette player, paints, clothes, and thrown out stacks of old love letters. They just weren't worth the weight and space they were taking up in my knapsack.One also has ample opportunity to work on that most boring of the seven virtues: patience. If there's one phrase that I could use to characterize the experience of institutionalized homelessness, it's "hurry up and wait." For example, I spent six months waiting at a free health clinic last Monday in a bid to obtain a month's supply of badly needed thyroid medicine. I was sent away with an appointment for a week and a half later. Then there's the Salvation Army, who kicks you out at eight in the morning and lets you back in at 6:30 pm. At 5:30 you see people who honestly have nothing better to do gather like crows on a telephone wire near the Salvation Army's back door. The entire day they've been waiting - at the library, the park, the public square - for the precise moment when they can roll out their bed, claim that space as their own for the night, and collapse there from exhaustion.

I still don't understand why, but there's something about lugging your earthly possessions over pavement all day that saps every ounce of energy a human being has.I would like to stress, however, that even in the US (at the time of this writing) there is no real reason one "has" to sleep outside on a park bench. There are shelters and soup kitchens in every decent-sized American town (admittedly easier to find if you are female), and there are always ways to get from town to town. Hitchhiking is considerably more dangerous and less common in the US than it is in Europe, but other homeless people are your best ally in this regard. Everyone always knows somebody who's going somewhere and can hook you up with a ride to the next shelter in an old beat-up van. Most shelters only give you 2-4 weeks to stay and if your time runs out before you can get a decent job you can always pack up and move on to greener pastures (or at least more shelter time). Some people would rather do this than work and this lifestyle is known as "shelter hopping." I think this gives homeless people in general a bad name and I can't understand why anyone would find this existence less exhausting than, say, cleaning toilets for a living ... but on the other hand, it does let you see more of the world ... sort of.If you're the type of person who prefers to suck but not swallow, however, homelessness is definitely not for you. In this lifestyle one must force down one's pride on a daily basis: Petty bureaucrats will look at you the way they'd look at a pet poodle they suspect of piddling on their carpet. You will be directed through a series of hoops and rules, which often seem to exist for the sole pleasure the enforcer gets from enforcing them. If you smoke (which, fortunately, I do not) you may find the experience of homelessness an excellent incentive to quit -- failure to do so means constantly bumming from strangers and "hunting for snipes" in the gutter.

Finally, there is no dignified way of waiting in line to receive a free lump of mush from a server with a condescending smile. If you know how to zone out in the midst of a deafening crowd, you'll soon find this to be a valuable skill.As disheartening as it is to inevitably smell bad, feel chained to your change of clothes and constantly chastise yourself for getting angry over being made to wait for charity, in this day and age there is one side-effect of homelessness that can definitely be avoided: the feeling of being invisible, ineffectual, and unimportant. Trust me, I know how to get around this one.

Here's what you do:1) Sell one of the bus passes they give you at the Salvation Army (or panhandle, or beat your bongos, whatever) and buy an 89-cent box of chalk from Walgreen's and write "Bush Knew" and "9/11 = Reichstag" in front of a prominent government building.2) Spend all your allotted Internet time at the public Library railing against the US government and multi-national corporations.Before you know it, important people will be paying very close attention to you.

Caution: this plan may be as hazardous to your health as smoking cigarettes, only quicker!
By Jody Paulson

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Homeless Sex Offenders in Florida now-live Under the Overpass

I found this story today in a MSN headline
Homeless and a sex offender - Florida sends them under the overpass
Here is the link to the original article:

Florida housing sex offenders under bridge

Story Highlights• Sex offenders can't live within 2,500 feet of places children might gather• In an urban area like Miami, this leaves few options for the convicted criminals• A handful of sex offenders are now living under a bridge
By John Zarrella and Patrick OppmannCNN
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The sparkling blue waters off Miami's Julia Tuttle Causeway look as if they were taken from a postcard. But the causeway's only inhabitants see little paradise in their surroundings.
Five men -- all registered sex offenders convicted of abusing children -- live along the causeway because there is a housing shortage for Miami's least welcome residents.
"I got nowhere I can go!" says sex offender Rene Matamoros, who lives with his dog on the shore where Biscayne Bay meets the causeway.
The Florida Department of Corrections says there are fewer and fewer places in Miami-Dade County where sex offenders can live because the county has some of the strongest restrictions against this kind of criminal in the country.
Florida's solution: house the convicted felons under a bridge that forms one part of the causeway.
The Julia Tuttle Causeway, which links Miami to Miami Beach, offers no running water, no electricity and little protection from nasty weather. It's not an ideal solution, Department of Corrections Officials told CNN, but at least the state knows where the sex offenders are.
Nearly every day a state probation officer makes a predawn visit to the causeway. Those visits are part of the terms of the offenders' probation which mandates that they occupy a residence from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
But what if a sex offender can't find a place to live?
That is increasingly the case, say state officials, after several Florida cities enacted laws that prohibit convicted sexual offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks and other places where children might gather.
Bruce Grant of the Florida Department of Corrections said the laws have not only kept sex offenders away from children but forced several to live on the street.
"Because of those restrictions, because there are many places that children congregate, because of 2,500 feet, that's almost half a mile, that's a pretty long way when you are talking about an urban area like Miami, so it isn't surprising that we say we are trying but we don't have a place for these people to live in," Grant said.
For several of the offenders, the causeway is their second experience at homelessness. Some of them lived for months in a lot near downtown Miami until officials learned that the lot bordered a center for sexually abused children.
Trudy Novicki, executive director of Kristi House, said the offender's presence put the center's children at risk. "It was very troublesome to learn that across the street there are people who are sex offenders that could be a danger to our children," she said.

Keeping the rats off
With nowhere to put these men, the Department of Corrections moved them under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. With the roar of cars passing overhead, convicted sex offender Kevin Morales sleeps in a chair to keep the rats off him.
"The rodents come up next to you, you could be sleeping the whole night and they could be nibbling on you," he said.
Morales has been homeless and living under the causeway for about three weeks. He works, has a car and had a rented apartment but was forced to move after the Department of Corrections said a swimming pool in his building put him too close to children.
The convicted felons may not be locked up anymore, but they say it's not much of an improvement.
"Jail is anytime much better than this, than the life than I'm living here now," Morales said. "[In jail] I can sleep better. I get fed three times a day. I can shower anytime that I want to."
Morales said that harsher laws and living conditions for sex offenders may have unintended consequences.
"The tougher they're making these laws unfortunately it's scaring offenders and they're saying, 'You know what, the best thing for me to do is run,'" Morales said.
A Miami Herald investigation two years ago found that 1,800 sex offenders in Florida were unaccounted for after violating probation.
Florida's system for monitoring them needs to be fixed, says state Senator Dave Aronberg, who proposed a bill to increase electronic monitoring and create a uniform statewide limit that would keep them 1,500 feet away from places where children go.
'We need to know where these people are at all times," Aronberg said after CNN invited him to tour the bridge where the sex offenders live. "We need residency restrictions, but just don't have this hodgepodge of every city having something different."
State officials say unless the law changes their hands are tied, and for now the sex offenders will stay where they are: under a bridge in the bay.

Thnks for reading this far
~ joe anybody

Friday, March 16, 2007

Homeless protest the sit-lie law in Portland Oregon

I have posted a link to some of my videos on this isue

They were taken while a homeless protest was going downtown

It was peaceful and to the point, I support their agenda

So far I have two videos One is on YouTube and is the first part

The second is on Google and is the City Hall part

This ordinance I think will target homelessness in a criminal way

So zip on over and check it out there is links to the Indy Media post on this too.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Homeless In Portland? Is it getting better in 2007?

So here in Portland in Oregon
There is some chatter in the local paper
That there are improvements in getting
People of the streets, some what debatable
In the detail.... Yet I think maybe we are seeing
Some slight change ..... I am a million miles up ....
Maybe I am being optimistic.......
Here is the story that I am basing some of my opinion by:

City Commissioner Erik Sten, who spearheaded the plan in December 2004,
said last month’s unduplicated count of people sleeping outside in Multnomah
County and the cities of Portland and Gresham came to 1,438. In 2005, the number
was 2,355. That’s a drop of 917 people, or 39 percent.
Both counts were taken during the last week of January. Fifty-seven outreach agencies took part in the count two years ago, tallying everyone who slept on the street, in a vehicle or an abandoned building.

About 200 agencies took the most recent count, so if
anything, city officials expected to see a much higher number of people
identified as homeless this time around. The city saw an even greater drop in
the number of people identified as chronically homeless, which means having a
disability and being homeless for more than a year or four or more times during
the last three years. In 2005, that number came in at 1,284. This year, it was
386. That’s a decrease of 918, or 70 percent.

Sten said he’s pleasantly surprised by the results, and credits the work of outreach agencies and the city’s new “housing first” strategy – which shifts the focus from shelters to permanent housing, where people can stabilize their lives before they are
connected with jobs and other services. “It’s really energizing,” Sten said.

“The community’s been working hard; we know we’ve been making progress, but
sometimes you make progress but the bigger trends keep getting worse.”
Some people on the front lines question the numbers.

Israel Bayer, director of the Street Roots newspaper, which covers homeless issues, said he hasn’t noticed any dramatic drop-off of people downtown. “I think that while they’re doing a great job at putting people in housing through the 10-year plan … I’d find it hard to believe there’s a 40 percent drop in homelessness in Portland,” he said.

While Street Roots took part in the count, he said, “I would question
how well they did outreach on the ground level. … I would argue there’s as many
people entering homelessness as there are being housed.” Marc Jolin,
executive director of the nonprofit Join, one of the lead agencies that took
part in the street count, said he his organization alone has helped place over
750 people into housing over the past two years, and he has no doubt that the
city’s plan is working.

But he cautions against using the latest numbers as a true account of what’s happened on the streets. There were differences in the way the surveys were worded each year, and a more stringent definition for chronically homeless was used this time around.

Sten admits there are a lot of external factors, but the drop of about 900 people does correlate with the number of chronically homeless the city moved into housing during 2005 and 2006: 1,039 people. Some of those people moved into the 480 new units of city-supported housing. Others moved into other affordable housing or private units throughout the city.

With the city’s lack of affordable housing, Sten said it’s getting tougher to find spots to place people. But he hopes to work more with private landlords to move people into vacant units by providing rental assistance.

In the city’s current budget process, Sten said he will ask for $3 million in ongoing funds for homeless programs, in place of the $3 million in one-time funds that have been supporting many of the pilot programs. He’ll also look for continued support from churches, jails, hospitals and corporations such as the Portland Trail Blazers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

St Petersburg Police Tear to Shreds a Homeless Camp

The police tear, slash, and trash tents from a homeless camp.
Yet the mayor endorses it and the fire department joins in by blocking off the area with their trucks.
Let me tell you folks this is one TWISTED town.

Watch this YouTube video and Notice the police woman "Bevin" try to clear the area when a news camera asks her questions......she is embarrassed.
She should be ashamed.

A true description of a pathetic destructive city government and its rouge police force.

I really wanna write the mayor and let him know this is disgusting.
I would hope that this town gets rebuked for its callous actions!
I would hope that a few creeps "loose their jobs over this" atrocity.
I am appalled at the total disregard for human dignity, and destruction of peoples homes.
This is not how authorities treat people.

In fact I am infuriated

Shame on them!

Here is the Link to the short FOX news video clip:

........ Good Greif!

Here are my notes and many more links::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Rick Baker
St Petersburg
1-22-07 video of tents being cut FOX new website “Homeless Shelter or Media” blog - “Stick of Fire” email address for St Petersburg City Office SP TIMES article on this issue

Police slash open tents to roust the homeless
ABHI RAGHUNATHAN and ALISA ULFERTSPublished January 20, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG - City officials raided two homeless camps Friday afternoon, seizing more than 20 tents and further rattling a community still shaken from the slayings of two of its own.
Those who refused to get out of their tents or remove their belongings watched as two dozen police and fire officials sliced the tops of the tents away from their bases, tossed them into a truck and drove off. Some said they didn't have enough time to get out before the officials began to cut with scissors, box cutters and other blades.
"I was in the tent when they started cutting," said Ken Argo, 54, who said he was asleep when police arrived. "It was very reckless of them."
The whole operation took less than 10 minutes.
The raid was the city's latest attempt to deal with the highly visible tent camps that have sprung up in recent weeks and a homeless population that is becoming increasingly organized and close-knit. Last week the city shut down a tent city on Fourth Avenue N after it said it helped about 100 of its residents get social services, including rent vouchers and bus tickets to cities where relatives or friends could help.
Those who didn't get or refused services soon set up their tents at one of two locations, Fifth Avenue N at 15th Street or Fifth Avenue N at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.
But fire officials soon observed a host of fire code violations at the two satellite tent cities, said Lt. Rick Feinberg, a spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Department. People were smoking and cooking in their tents, he said. The tents were too close together, too close to public thoroughfares, and they didn't have fire extinguishers, he said.
Feinberg said the homeless also failed to get the required permits for their tents, which were set up on the public right of way.
"They were all in violation of codes," Feinberg said. "No one submitted plans for preparations for these two tent cities."
It's not clear if all the fire codes the city cited indeed apply. The code requiring a permit specifies tents greater than 120 square feet, which is larger than the tents used by most of the homeless. And a state fire statute initially cited by the city doesn't deal with tents, said a spokeswoman for the state fire marshal.
Still, city officials said their job is to protect and that there were significant safety concerns at the two locations, including danger from heavy traffic. City officials also said the homeless were given the chance to remove their belongings from the tents and were offered mats at a nearby shelter.
Rather than arrest or get in physical altercations with those who refused, the officers cut the tents, said Deputy Mayor Dave Metz.
"The tents were retained for evidence," Metz said.
The city's action outraged the homeless community, which said that instead of taking away tents, the police officers should have been searching for the people who killed two homeless men early Wednesday.
"And now they're putting all these people in jeopardy again," said Rev. Bruce Wright of Refuge Ministries. The reason the homeless cluster in tents is for safety, Wright said.
Metz acknowledged the criticism but said the city did what it had to do. "I think you always have those implications, but our primary concern was safety."
Wright said that advocates for the homeless, who met Friday with the city to discuss things like getting fire extinguishers, plan to sue the city over the destruction of the tents and will seek an injunction to prevent another raid.
"We're getting more tents," Wright said.
"We're bringing down the big guns now. We're gonna sue 'em."
Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at or 727 893-8472. Alisa Ulferts can be reached at or (727) 892-2379.

(( from ))tp://
Lots of comments here too ...... CHECK THIS DIGG LINK OUT!
The website takes a few minutes to load

Being a local resident here and following the story as the tent city had just recently been moved, i could not believe this when i watched the news - society continues its declination - unbelievable that this even occured - the night before 2 homeless men were murdered in the same area the NIGHT BEFORE the tent city slashing, so as i see it the police are now encouraging murder of the homeless but tearing apart the only place that they have to keep them safe for the night.