I AM SHOUTING TO ADVOCATES FOR HOMELESSNESS TO STOP REPEATING WHAT EVERYONE KNOWS ARE INACCURATE STATS ON HOMELESSNESS AND SERVICES
Remember, all of the stats on how funds for these social services outsourced are now being juked----from the number of homeless---to the number of people actually being seen by major non-profits making up THE MAYOR OF BALTIMORE'S ENDING HOMELESS TASK FORCE.
It is all a number's game that will come back and bite every citizen if we do not end this injustice.
The common thread throughout all these agencies with which I spoke was this-----WE GIVE THE HOMELESS APPOINTMENTS BUT THEY DO NOT SHOW UP. It is a well-known fact that the homeless have no sense of day, time, place. They live from hour to hour each day trying to stay alive and the two things they focus on each day----where to get food and where will they try to sleep. The expectation that a homeless person is going to KEEP AN APPOINTMENT with times scheduled from a week to three weeks from when they appear at these agency help desks it NOT TO BE BELIEVED. So, we in Baltimore have a system that shows agencies scheduling all kinds of help for the poor and the super-majority of these schedules result in no contact with these clients----IT IS A PAPER GAME.
There are so many funds coming to Baltimore that could easily create a REAL platform for the city's poorest from which a stable economy can be built in all communities and this benefits ALL CITIZENS IN THE CITY---ALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN THE CITY-----THE FUTURE OF BALTIMORE. WE THE PEOPLE must reform these systems.
Remember, all of Baltimore's revenue is being sent to subsidize global financial corporations and other corporations known to be ground zero for the massive frauds of last decade----that is what all of Baltimore's development has been for these few decades. It is Wall Street Baltimore Development and very, very, very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins sucking all Baltimore's money to themselves.....using crony politicians who don't care.
Advocates concerned Baltimore still has no winter plan for homeless
Meredith CohnContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Winter is coming, but is the city ready to shelter the homeless?Advocates for the homeless are alarmed that days before the official start of winter, city officials haven't settled on a plan to keep the city's homeless sheltered from the cold.
On Thursday, the advocates and social service providers said they succeeded in pressuring officials from the mayor's office to back off a plan to only make overflow shelter space available when the temperature dropped to near zero. The existing policy opens additional shelter space when the temperature falls below 13 degrees or other harsh weather conditions exist.
The backpedaling by the city still leaves details of a winter plan unresolved, said Antonia K. Fasanelli, executive director of Homeless Persons Representation Project Inc., a legal services and advocacy group.
"It's a frightening thing for our clients who have no place to stay but outside," said Fasanelli, who also serves on a homeless strategy panel created by the city in 2013 called The Journey Home. She said she heard about the proposed change at a board meeting there earlier this week.
"They are putting their lives in hands of the city who at this point does not have a plan," she said.
A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake would not confirm that officials intended to lower the trigger for cold-weather shelter but said planning continues on an overall plan.
HUD says homelessness increases 7 percent in Maryland "Baltimore City is finalizing our plan for providing additional shelter capacity for the homeless during the winter season," spokesman Howard Libit said in a statement. "The administration has sought feedback from the Journey Home board and homeless service providers, and is incorporating that feedback into the plan."
The latest census data counted more than 2,700 people homeless in 2014 in Baltimore, but advocates say the actual number fluctuates and during the course of the year is likely much higher. There are about 1,500 spots in shelters offered by providers in Baltimore and they can accommodate just over 200 more on cold nights.
Baltimore County opens new men's shelter in Catonsville On extremely cold nights, the city also opens overflow shelters, and last year made space for up to 200 cots in the War Memorial building downtown during a heavy snowstorm.
Generally, extra space is opened during a citywide "Code Blue" when the temperature (including wind chill) hits 13 degrees, or when there are weather conditions such as strong winds or snow. The code also can affect schools, senior centers and city workers.
The city planned to create a "Severe Code Blue" designation at zero degrees and specifically tie it to added shelter beds, according to those who heard the plan.
That could have threatened many medically fragile homeless people who a more likely than the general population to have chronic health conditions, said Kevin Lindamood, president and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless Inc., a homeless service provider and advocate.
Lindamood said city officials were listening to concerns and considering a plan that would recognize the needs of the homeless. He hoped to have more details settled by Dec. 21, the first day of winter and the 2015 Homeless Person's Memorial Day. A vigil is planned at 5 p.m. at St Vincent de Paul Church on Front Street to commemorate people who died homeless.
"The community needs a plan for all citizens but really needs a much better plan for people who have no place to live," he said. "Progress on that front is being made."
Talking with this group has me hearing many of the housing issues I discuss in rebuilding communities in Baltimore.
NORTH EAST HOUSING INITIATIVE
While we agree with you, our modest aims are not to solve the problem of homelessness, NEHI's goals are to focus on reversing the decline of our own community which has been caused by the foreclosure crisis, and fair and unfair development policies. Will will do this by renovating vacant properties, making permanently affordable to people with between 30-60% of the community median income--which includes people making minimum wage--and providing jobs and training for unemployed community residents. We know other groups are working on the housing issue and NEHI is part of the Housing Roundtable and also has the support of--and works with--United Workers. the Housing Roundtable includes organization dedicated to ending homelessness and NEHI supports their goals and efforts.
Vacant Housing Art Takeover!
11 AM at 800 Block of N. Patterson Park Avenue
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- clockSaturday, March 29, 2014
at 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Tench Tilghman Elementary School
600 N Patterson Park Ave, Baltimore, Maryland 21205
How do vacants affect the community? Come join United Workers and our Eastside partners as we share our challenges with housing and come together to raise a vision for housing that respects our human rights!
Vacant housing drives up rental costs, lowers equity for homeowners, and has created a moral crisis for our city as we witness thousands of homeless struggle in the streets of Baltimore while 40,000 vacants stand empty. This is failed development! Housing is human right and therefore we all deserve housing with dignity and respect. We demand fair development where benefits are shared equitably and residents are an active part in the decisions about their communities. Join us on Saturday as we share our concerns on housing and learn about some promising alternatives.
- 10:30am: Walk begins at Tench Tilghman Elementary ( 600 N. Patterson Park)
-11am: Speak Out begins at St. Wenceslaus Church Hall (2100 E. Madison St.)
We do not want to allow a small group of non-profits to define this movement-----there should be many groups in each neighborhood working individually and collectively on all these issues.
'Workers are charged around £11 per month to share a dormitory with seven other people and pay around 50 pence for a rice dish in the cafeteria'.
The term FOXCONN originally applied to Apple Computer factories but it now has the same generic use as BANDAID for what all global corporate campuses look like. These are what US International Economic Zone development intend to install----and as we see here workers live, eat, and are schooled on these campuses. THIS IS TOWARDS WHAT HUD CO-OPT BUILDING WILL MOVE TOWARDS.
Baltimore is ground zero for this because Johns Hopkins is leading this International Economic Zone policy with Clinton neo-liberals around the world. So, Baltimore is being moved towards this use of co-op and land trusts. This does not mean REAL community activists wanted balance in development should not use these funds----but if they are hard to get it is because Baltimore City Hall and Maryland Assembly pols are directing them all towards this global corporate campus structure.......THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION WE WANT---MAKE SURE THESE FUNDS GO TOWARDS REAL MIXED INCOME COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.
THIS IS THE GOAL OF CO-OP HOUSING NOW BEING PUSHED BY OBAMA'S HUD-----AND THESE ARE BEING SOLD LOCALLY AS ADDRESSING AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
Inside Apple's Chinese 'sweatshop' factory where workers are paid just £1.12 per hour to produce iPhones and iPads for the West
- Factories covered in suicide nets to stop workers leaping to their deaths
- 18 people have killed themselves at the facility
- iPhone, iPad and MacBook assembled in factory in Shenzhen
- Microsoft, Dell and Hewlett Packard products also built on site
Updated: 10:47 EST, 25 January 2013
Apple have opened the doors to their Chinese 'sweatshop' factories where employees are paid as little as £1.12 an hour.
Many of the staff perform monotonous tasks like wiping down screens or shaving aluminium from the edge of the Apple logo for ten tedious hours at a time.
And now the conditions inside the factory in Shenzhen - where 18 employees have killed themselves - can be seen, after ABC TV network were given exclusive access.
Monotonous tasks: Workers, paid as little as £1.12 an hour, work on the production line at Foxconn factory
Workforce: Wages have risen at the factory in recent weeks and staff were happy a probe found - although bored by the work
The broadcaster revealed that the entry-level salary of just £180 per month is so low that it would take more than two months salary to pay for the cheapest iPad.
Even if the lowest earners do the maximum available overtime of 80 hours per month, they still do not earn enough to pay tax.
Previous reports have claimed that some of the workers were doing 24 hours at a time, while others were forced to stand for their entire shifts.
Apple - the world's most valuable technology company - have faced claims that their contractors are forcing staff to do overtime involuntarily and employing underage workers at the factory.
It was in response to these attacks that Apple threw open their doors at the Foxconn City plant in Shenzhen, China.
Foxconn City is a unit of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Company which employs up to 1.1million people in a series of huge factory complexes in China.
Liang Juan, 26, told ABC News that management is 'strict'.
Wearing a white boiler-suit in the spotless factory, it is her job to flip over camera lenses with a tiny pair of tweezers.
Asked what she thinks about when performing the dull task, she said: 'I don't think much about other things because the management is strict and we're busy working and have no time to think about other things.'
Despite the boring jobs unemployed young Chinese workers queue up for work - and employees say that working conditions are much better than at other factories.
An estimated 3,000 people were queuing at the gates to find work on one day when ABC News were there.
Workers are charged around £11 per month to share a dormitory with seven other people and pay around 50 pence for a rice dish in the cafeteria.
Apple have also allowed independent examiners from the Washington-based Fair Labour Association in to carry out inspections.
Baltimore does have groups working hard to address all the housing issues I discussed this week----so it is not like no one is doing good things---but, of course these groups are not getting all the funding to advance their ideas as the larger connected groups are.
I said in an earlier week's posts on housing that we all know high-rise public housing and concentrated poverty housing DOES NOT WORK. We must fight to a redesign of public housing that is integrated into every community in a city----THESE CORPORATE POLS INTEND TO END PUBLIC HOUSING. If each community has a basic public platform for each of these areas----housing, health care, schools, community centers----then people who fall onto hard times can recover locally in their own communities with the help of people that may have known them over time. THIS IS HOW OUR SOCIAL SAFETY NETS WORKED FOR DECADES BEFORE THE SYSTEM WAS DEREGULATED, PRIVATIZED, AND DEFUNDED.
Emergency housing for homeless rather than a complete dependence on shelters creates a pathway for people to maintain their dignity in a trying process. Shelters can have their place---but that place is not to completely replace public institutions tasked with equal and quality of life services.
Advocates say Baltimore's plan to end homelessness is in disarray
Journey Home strategy is updated but criticized as homelessness continues to be an 'epidemic'
March 17, 2013|By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun
Halfway through Baltimore's long-term plan to end homelessness, advocates complain that the strategy is in disarray and worry that the number of men, women and children without permanent homes has grown — despite millions of dollars being pumped into local services.
The 10-year Journey Home strategy, the advocates say, has fallen short of its objective, floundering without a direct line of leadership or accountability and frustrating the social services community that is pushing for solutions to a primary cause of homelessness: the lack of affordable housing.
The plan was a "game changer" when it was created in 2008, said Antonia K. Fasanelli, director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore. And while certain components have been successful, such as the availability of 500 housing vouchers and the opening of a 24-hour emergency shelter, Fasanelli said the city needs to do more.
"Homelessness has increased dramatically every single one of those five years," Fasanelli said. "That should tell us that we need a very clear plan for our common goal of ending homelessness."
Olivia D. Farrow, director of the Mayor's Office of Human Services, said the city's investment, as well as the commitment from the social services community, has made a significant impact on homelessness in Baltimore — but so has the recession. Job loss, foreclosures and the economic downturn have contributed to local homelessness, she said.
The most extensive count of the homeless found more than 4,000 individuals living on the street or sleeping in shelters on a single night in 2011, up from 2,600 in 2007. Surveyors counted about 3,400 in 2009. The most recent count was conducted in January, but the final tally won't be released until April.
The city had more than 500 chronically homeless men and women at last count, down from more than 850 in 2009. Each chronically homeless person costs taxpayers roughly $40,000 a year, through their use of police, emergency rooms and other services.
The survey, conducted in odd-numbered years, is imperfect. Enumerators visit increasingly larger swathes of the city each year, but they don't wander into vacant properties or search street by street. They also do not include the number of homeless people — especially children and teens — sleeping in the homes of friends and family.
Councilwoman Helen Holton said she's disappointed with the city's lack of progress.
"The need is great, but I don't get the sense of urgency as a city," Holton said during a hearing before the Housing and Community Development Committee last week. "I've been hearing about the 10-year plan for the last 10 years."
A consultant from Canada was hired for $28,000 to update the Journey Home plan, but the 71-page report presented last month was panned by homeless advocates. The draft is being scrutinized by the plan's oversight panel, the Leadership Advisory Group, and eventually will be presented to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as advice in the coming weeks.
The report says, "Homelessness continues to be an epidemic in the City of Baltimore."
Sister Helen Amos, chairwoman of the Journey Home's Leadership Advisory Group, said the oversight panel commissioned the draft report to refocus the community's efforts.
The plan is built around four core issues — housing, health care, prevention and emergency services — and an underlying principle of "housing first." The idea is that permanent housing is the first step in stabilizing a person's life.
"We've been chipping away at the chronically homeless population through the 'housing first' concept, but all of that hasn't gone as robustly as was originally envisioned," said Amos, who added that "sadly," homelessness in Baltimore isn't better today than it was five years ago.
Still, Amos said advisory group members have faith in the city's ability to conquer homelessness.
While others agree that the "housing first" strategy at the core of the plan is a success, they say the city's failure to hire an executive director to shepherd the Journey Home has been detrimental.
The city conducted interviews in the last year for an executive director, but two finalists backed out. One questioned how the plan was to be implemented and who was in charge of its success or failure, and the other withdrew for personal reasons, said Kate Briddell, director of homeless programs for the mayor. The search continues.
I sat and talked with an administrator from one of the agencies my homeless friend was tied to as a client. I sat and listed one interaction after another that this man had with a caseworker that led no where----that was not handled appropriately----and all of the issues that could have been solved in just a few visits to this agency----years ago. This administrator was uncomfortable and tried to end this discussion throughout what was 15 minutes and I am relatively sure I will not have another opportunity to meet with this agency's administration. He ended our talk by offering me an opportunity for an appointment 2 weeks from now to start the process of ID and Birth Certificate for this man----the very first thing a client would have done 3 years ago. He stated he didn't need to write down all my concerns----he would remember to mention them.
Just as with our Social Security and Medicare Trusts-----our Transportation Trusts-----our Port Authorities-----our public utilities------these several years of Obama and Clinton neo-liberals saw the most far-right Bush neo-conservative/Clinton neo-liberal policies to hand all that is public to the few very rich----and below you see what has affected Baltimore's ability to have any positive action towards low-income and homeless housing. The Mayor of Baltimore's task force to end homelessness has nothing to do with lifting people up======it is all centered on moving them out or allowing them to die.
These policies come from Congress----then Maryland Assembly passed laws often introduced by Baltimore's pols to redirect housing funds to affluent development----then comes down to Baltimore City Hall that then passed these same laws on a local level. This has been down these few decades and it is why Bernie Sanders comes to Baltimore to call it a third world city.
An opportunity for Baltimore's public housing residentsOur view: Advocates' concerns about a plan to privatize some of Baltimore's public housing are understandable, but the risk of doing nothing is even greater
March 10, 2014
A Baltimore Housing Authority proposal to sell more than a third of its 11,000 public housing units to private developers in order to finance $300 million in capital improvements to the properties has got some advocates and tenants worried. Some are calling the plan a "giveaway" to developers eager to convert the units into market-rate rentals, and maintenance workers at the agency have expressed fear for their jobs if the buildings are sold to private owners.
But what all those involved in the debate need to recognize is that unless the city tries a new approach, Baltimore's stock of public housing is going to drop anyway because of a lack of money to perform even basic maintenance. There are risks to the plan Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano announced last week, but there is a certainty that Baltimore's poor will suffer from sub-standard conditions in crumbling buildings if the city does nothing.
The 22 buildings the agency plans to sell all require extensive repairs to major systems such as leaking roofs, faulty heating and air conditioning equipment and nonfunctioning elevators. Yet the cost of such renovations far exceeds the agency's paltry $4 million annual maintenance budget, which has been repeatedly cut over the last few decades as Congress tightened the purse strings on domestic spending programs. If the city were to continue trying to make the repairs needed to maintain its public housing units at its current pace, it would take more than 200 years to complete the work.
If the work isn't done, moreover, many of these buildings, where thousands of low-income, elderly or disabled city residents live, will become uninhabitable within just a few years. That would further shrink the stock of affordable housing in the city and could eventually force hundreds of families from their homes and onto the streets. The city is already facing an affordable housing crisis as a result of rising rents and cuts to federal subsidies such as Section 8 housing vouchers. If nothing is done to increase the supply of low-income housing, or at a minimum preserve the units the city presently has, many residents may soon find themselves facing the prospect of not having a roof over their heads.
The Housing Authority's proposal would take advantage of private funds available through a new federal initiative called the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which provides developers with low income housing tax credits that can be sold to investors for cash to buy and repair affordable housing units. Under the program, developers must promise to maintain the properties as low-income housing for at least 40 years and to make the units available to other low-income residents if the original tenants leave during that period. The developer's costs for buying and repairing the units are covered by the sale of the tax credits to the investors, who can then use them to write off a portion of their IRS bills over a 10-year period.
From the Housing Authority's point of view, the beauty of the program is that it allows the city to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in private funds to rehab low-income units — and to do it quickly, before the buildings deteriorate further, rather than spread the work over centuries. Granted, the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which seeks to renovate some 60,000 public housing units across the country over the next two and a half years, is just that — an experiment to find out whether government tax incentives can attract significant private capital to invest in the nation's public housing stock. Clearly the city needs to keep a close eye on how the project unfolds take care that the developers it works with abide by their commitments. But if things go even half as well as expected, Baltimore will surely be the better for it, whereas the consequences of doing nothing are certain to lead to a situation that no one could want.
As we rebuild our system of affordable housing and safety net housing we need to be aware of what Obama and Clinton neo-liberals have as a goal------they are funding cooperatives and land trusts that will set aside large parcels of land with all intent of grabbing that real estate for the same global development at a later time. These global pols are using this HUD policy to begin building what will be FOXCONN global corporate campus factory live in housing-----under the guise of co-ops. So, these funds can be used by communities to do GOOD community housing goals with GOOD long-term affordable housing goals----but watch how Baltimore City Hall and Maryland Assembly actually moves these funds------just as with all Federal funds being funneled for what are progressive posing programs------this HUD affordable housing policy has a goal of building the housing structure tied with live-in factory workers and global sweat shop factories.
This doesn't mean all co-opting is bad-----that all land trusts are bad---it means the intent by Federal HUD today is bad.
THESE FUNDS CAN BE USED FOR GOOD POLICY----IT WILL ONLY HAPPEN WITH GOOD POLITICIANS.
I encourage my friends using these vehicles to know the goal of the current HUD.
HUD > Programs of HUD > Cooperative Housing
Cooperative Housing (Section 213)Federal mortgage insurance to finance cooperative housing projects.
Nature of Program: HUD insures mortgages made by private lending institutions on cooperative housing projects of five or more dwelling units to be occupied by members of nonprofit cooperative ownership housing corporations. These loans may finance new construction, rehabilitation, acquisition, improvement, or repair of a project already owned, and resale of individual memberships; construction of projects composed of individual family dwellings to be bought by individual members with separate insured mortgages; and construction or rehabilitation of projects that the owners intend to sell to nonprofit cooperatives.
Applicant Eligibility: Nonprofit corporations or trusts organized to construct homes for members of the corporation or beneficiaries of the trust; and qualified sponsors who intend to sell the project to a nonprofit corporation or trust.
Legal Authority: Section 213 of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1715e). Regulations are at 24 CFR part 200, subpart A, and part 213.
Administering Office: Assistant Secretary for Housing - Federal Housing Commissioner,
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC 20410-8000.
Information Sources: Administering office; HUD Multifamily Hubs and Program Centers.
On the Web: www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/mfh/progdesc/coop213.cfm
Current Status: Active. New construction and substantial rehabilitation cooperative projects are also insured under Section 221(d)(3), which requires appropriated credit subsidy and a higher mortgage insurance premium.
I am not going to say for sure what one group has as a goal over another----but this group shares the same incorporated logo as we are seeing across the nation in cities. Urban League is also being used to install these HUD policies. As with all Clinton neo-liberal policies-----these global pols create corporate non-profits that sound progressive just to capture the grassroots people that really want change-----and then the leadership pushes these FOXCONN factory housing co-op models.
THIS HAS HAPPENED IN MARYLAND FOR DECADES----O'MALLEY WAS KING OF THE PROGRESSIVE POSING NON-PROFITS. JOHNS HOPKINS CREATES THESE NON-PROFITS JUST TO CAPTURE AN ISSUE TOWARDS ITS OWN GOALS---GLOBAL FOXCONN CORPORATE FACTORIES AND CAMPUSES.
Welcome To BNI Maryland
Dear Friends, In 2013, we at BNI continued our work for Justice in Housing by addressing dozens of fair housing inquiries from those concerned about discrimination, responding to thousands of calls from tenants and landlords around the State seeking to better understand their rights and responsibilities, distributing hundreds of state and local guides providing information on tenant-landlord law in Maryland and local municipalities, educating the public, housing providers, government officials and other stakeholders at over 100 events around the State so that Marylanders may avoid evictions and foreclosures, stay in their homes, or find a safe, habitable home of their choosing.
Our work is performed day-to-day by a dedicated knowledgeable and passionate staff who cannot be thanked enough for the work they do providing essential information to Maryland citizens and the honest housing providers and services whose commitment to providing shelter and homes builds communities and strengthens neighborhoods. 2014 will be an exciting year for us as we celebrate BNI’s 55th anniversary and the 100th birthday anniversary of James Rouse, who along with Sydney Hollander, Jr. and Ellsworth Rosen pioneered BNI’s incorporation on March 20, 1959.
BNI is also grateful to our grantors, sponsors and contributors, without whose financial support we would not be able to exist as Maryland’s only statewide nonprofit organization focused on fair housing and tenant-landlord issues. Our ability to continue this unique and essential work for housing justice in 2014, as well as in 2059 and beyond, ultimately depends on you! We know you have many options in giving to charity and we appreciate your considering BNI this year.
While your tax deductible gifts in any amount are appreciated, perhaps you will consider a gift in recognition of our 2014 milestones in the amount of $55 or $100 or even $550. To make your gift, visit our products/donations page. I hope you appreciate the artwork that accompanies this message and will consider purchasing notecards and/or postcards displaying this beautiful work by Bernard Kleina. Please view/download the linked order form for more information.