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Health Care & Environment

07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.21 Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it

07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]

07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]

07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]

07.21 Nancy Pelosi's Dem Socialist Challenger Shahid Buttar: "We're Gonna Win" | Full Interview [5:43 video]

07.21 Jon Stewart goes viral excoriating Rand Paul after blocking vote [9:02 video]

07.21 Nicolle Wallace Refuses to Broadcast Trump Live [5:43 video]

07.21 Sassy Bernie Sanders Sh*ts on Jeff Bezos on His Home Turf... Numerous Times [17:22 video]

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

International & Futurism

07.21 Millions face hardship as Zimbabwe comes close to ‘meltdown’

07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

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  Growing Homelessness in America

COMMENTARY:

Growing Homelessness in America

by Stephen Lendman
Friday, 21 May 2010
The Bush and Obama administrations' one-sided priorities—for Wall Street and imperial wars—leave little for America's poor and disadvantaged when they're most in need.

In the world's richest country, the trend is shocking, disturbing and appalling. In its 2009 report on "Hunger and Homelessness in US Cities," the US Conference of Mayors stated:

"Hunger and homelessness (are) at record levels in US cities," citing an overall 26% demand increase over the past year and 19% more homelessness. Yet worsening conditions leave millions on their own and out of luck because Washington has other priorities excluding them.

"At a time of historic economic crisis, the issues of hunger and homelessness in America are more prevalent than ever." Cities are hard-pressed to handle them, and planned budget cuts and revenue shortfalls will strap them well into the future.

Definitions

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a homeless person:

  • "lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence."

Others having them are in:

  • "a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill);
  • an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
  • a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings."

The last category includes people sleeping in vehicles, garages, bus stations, store fronts, campgrounds, on streets, or other suboptimal places not fit for human habitation.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH)

NAEH "works collaboratively with public, private, and nonprofit partners to develop, analyze, and advocate for policy solutions" for a growing national problem, poorly addressed, and rarely, if ever, mentioned by the dominant media.

Besides the chronically homeless, comprising about 18% of the total, homelessness results from factors including poverty, job loss, home foreclosure, loss of public assistance, divorce, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, serious illness, mental illness, unaffordable housing, the lack of emergency help, and a federal government that doesn't give a damn.

Youth homelessness is another major issue, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies (OAS) estimating in 2004 that about 1.6 million youths ran away from home and slept on the street in the past 12 months. Other estimates range up to 2.8 million annually, many on streets or in places unfit for human habitation.

About two-thirds were older teens from 15 - 17, key causal factors being domestic physical or sexual abuse or substance dependency. Many were thrown out by their parents. According to YouthCare studies, 33% were in foster care, 51% had been physically abused, and 60% of girls and 23% of boys had been sexually violated. Another YouthCare study cited two-thirds of youths with diagnosable mental illness, including disruptive behavior disorder, attention deficit disorder, depression, or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In 2000, the National Health Care for the Homeless Council reported that youths on their own are at higher risk for anxiety, suicide attempts, and multiple disorders, including depression, PTSD, and numerous other physical and emotional problems.

While mainly an urban problem, homelessness is about 9% rural for the above cited reasons compounded by fewer public services and a lack of public transportation.

Veterans comprise one-fourth of the homeless, the result of readjusting challenges, few job skills, lack of available jobs, little government help once discharged, and for growing numbers, disabling injuries and PTSD.

In February 2009, NAEH's president, Nan Roman, projected "an additional 1.5 million people will experience homelessness over the next two years if we don't do anything." Others agree, foreseeing continued large increases as economic conditions deteriorate with little help for the poor, disadvantaged, and growing numbers losing their jobs, homes and savings.

In its four-part "Geography of Homeless" series, NAEH defined the problem, its prevalence, sub-populations affected, and urban homelessness. It can affect anyone, anytime, and be unexpected, the result of millions one paycheck away from vulnerability, and many others from a life-changing event.

Precise numbers are hard to assess, the best estimates ranging from:

  • HUD's lowballing in its latest July 2009 "2008 Annual Homeless Report to Congress" that "On a single night in January 2008 (before the worst of the current crisis), there were 664,414 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons nationwide," 42% of them "on the street or in other places not meant for human habitation;"
  • the National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty (NLCHP) and Urban Institute estimated (in 2007) 3.5 million people experience homelessness in a given year (at least 4.5 million if those finding temporary shelter with family or friends are included), based on an earlier National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers study stating on a given night in February, 842,000 are homeless; the total numbers are much higher as only sheltered people were included; many others on streets are uncounted, and the calculations were made before the current economic crisis; and
  • NLCHP used other measures as well, including a 1991 study showing homeless rates tripled from 1981 - 1989, and a 1997 research review from 1987 - 1997 in 11 communities and four states, finding shelter capacity more than doubled in nine communities in three states, and more than tripled in two communities and two states - at a time of strong economic growth.

While precise estimates are inexact, available data suggest a much higher homelessness rate than earlier believed, a growing national problem, and one greatly exacerbated by the current economic crisis. Yet it's unaddressed nationally, leaving hard-pressed states and local communities on their own when they're least able to handle it - never mind growing numbers of affected people discarded like garbage.

The National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) says:

"Families (and individuals) experiencing homelessness are under considerable stress," moving frequently, forced to get aid if available or sleep in cars, campgrounds or wherever they can under "difficult, uncomfortable circumstances....Homelessness increases the likelihood of family separations or breakups," adds to their intolerable circumstances, and creates a barrier to family reunifications.

A typical family is "comprised of a mother in her late twenties with two children:

  • 84% of families experiencing homelessness are female-headed;
  • 42% of children in homeless families are under age six;
  • more than half of all homeless mothers do not have a high school diploma;
  • 29% of adults in homeless families are working; (and the homeless)
  • have much higher rates of family separation than other low-income families."

Mothers are especially vulnerable, many the victims of domestic violence compounded by homelessness on their own. Over 92% experienced "severe physical and/or sexual abuse during their lifetime," two-thirds of the time by "an intimate partner." They also struggle with mental health issues, half having experienced depression while homeless. They have three time the PTSD rate and double the drug and alcohol abuse incidence. They're often in poor health, have four times the rate of ulcers as other women, and among industrialized nations, America has the largest women and children homeless population.

Background on Federal Housing Policy

During the Great Depression, it began with the 1934 National Housing Act, creating the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to underwrite and insure mortgages and provide security to lenders in case of default. It also established the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, abolished because of insolvency in 1989 by the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, returning deposit insurance responsibility to the FDIC, now itself approaching bankruptcy.

The 1937 Wagner-Steagall Housing Act provided subsidies to local agencies (LHAs) to construct low-cost housing for poor families.

The 1934 and 1937 acts began a dual federal housing policy - public rental housing and subsidies for the poor (mostly inner city) and subsidized credit for middle-income family homeownership (much of it suburban).

Public housing was established to provide acceptable, low-cost, safe rental housing for low-income families, older persons, and the disabled. Later they were stigmatized by crime, drugs, extreme poverty, violence, segregation, and government neglect.

Initially, minorities comprised about one-fourth to over one-third of public housing residents, rising to a level of over 60% by 1978. From 1950 - 1980, high-density public housing units were built, mainly for African-Americans. At the same time, middle income home ownership rose, facilitated by federal financing. It increased the rate from 30% in 1930 to over double that in 1960.

From 1934 - 1968, 98% of federal loans went to whites, the result of segregation, discriminatory laws and practices in both northern and southern states.

In 1974, the Housing and Community Development Act effectively ended public housing construction and began the Housing Choice Voucher Program (called Section 8) for project and tenant-based rental subsidies, the former for specific housing developments, the latter for individuals to choose private housing from landlords willing to accept vouchers.

Section 8 shifted funding from public to private hands. In 1986, the Tax Reform Act established the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC), provided to developers to build affordable housing.

In 1989, Congress appointed a National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing to evaluate its condition nationally. It found most units well maintained and managed but a growing number in "the most distressed and notorious urban developments in the nation, where crime, poverty, unemployment, and dependency were solidly entrenched."

Based on the Committee's recommendations, HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere) was established in 1992 to revitalize public housing, end low-income family concentrations, and create sustainable communities by replacing large numbers of public housing units. As a result, lower density, mixed-income developments were built, including public and private units, and responsibility shifted from Washington to communities and the private sector.

Federal housing policy achieved a high home ownership rate but also decreased the public housing supply, now at 1.2 million units, far below needed amounts, to promote private ownership at the expense of the nation's poor who could only afford fraudulent subprime mortgages causing many to default and be foreclosed since late 2007.

Earlier in 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act passed to reduce discriminatory credit practices, called redlining, by requiring banks to sell mortgages where they operated. As a result, low-income families got them while home values rose, mostly with low or nothing down. That ended, however, when the housing crisis began along with the home ownership dream for millions.

Today, government help for affordable housing is needed more than any time since the 1930s. Then it was forthcoming. Now it isn't or not enough to matter for millions losing their homes, victims of predatory lenders and Wall Street bandits creating a crisis that persists and worsens at a time nearly two-thirds of low-income households face severe housing cost burdens, and about 12.7 million children (over one in six) live in households spending more than half their income on housing, leaving little for other essentials.

In addition, since the 1980s, low-income housing assistance was significantly cut, and by the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of public housing units were dilapidated, resulting in 170,000 abandoned. Yet from 1999 - 2006, federal public housing funding dropped 25% while, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

"Each year, the federal government spends more than three times as much on tax breaks for homeowners - with a large share....going to upper-income households - as it spends on low-income housing assistance."

In other words, wealth is being redistributed up the food chain to those least needing it, leaving others on their own and out of luck because federal low-income funding cuts led to a decrease in quality subsidized housing when it's most needed.

Chicago's Cabrini Green is instructive, about a mile from this writer's residence. When completed in 1962, it had 3,114 units for 15,000 people. Now it's mostly demolished. What remains will be gone before yearend 2010. Other projects are also disappearing, and only 305 new units have been built in mixed-income developments, leaving many of Chicago's poor on their own with no aid forthcoming.

The 2009 Making Home Affordable program has been largely ineffective for lack of teeth, so banks do as they wish because provisions are voluntary. In addition, few modified loans are permanent, most ending after five months so foreclosures remain high, homelessness increases, and two other federal programs are doing little - the Emergency Food and Shelter program (EFSP) and Emergency Shelter Grant.

The Bush and Obama administrations' one-sided priorities—for Wall Street and imperial wars—leave little for America's poor and disadvantaged when they're most in need, including the growing hungry and homeless populations, largely invisible because little about them is reported and nothing on television where it counts most.

Short of recognizing the problem, pushing back for real change, knowing government is the enemy not an ally, realizing reforms always come from the bottom up, never the top down, and it's up to ordinary people to create them, social justice won't happen, including ending hunger, relieving poverty, and helping the homeless, making America work for the many, not the privileged few alone like today under governments that don't care.

A follow-up article will address the problem of homeless children - over 1.5 million each year without safety, privacy, adequate health care, decent education, sustaining relationships, a sense of community, and hope for a better future.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on May 21, 2010.
 



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