We could, as a country, look at the root causes of homelessness and try to fix them. One of the main causes is that a lot of people can't afford a place to live. They don't have enough money to pay rent, even for the cheapest dives available. Prices are rising, inventory is extremely tight, and the upshot is, as a new report by the Urban Institute finds, that there's only 29 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income households. So we could create more jobs, redistribute the wealth, improve education, socialize health carebasically redesign our political and economic systems to make sure everybody can afford a roof over their heads.Scott Carrier reports for Mother Jones on Utah's simple, cost-effective approach to ending homelessness: "finding and building apartments where homeless people can live, permanently, with no strings attached. It's a program, or more accurately a philosophy, called Housing First." [more inside]
Instead of this, we do one of two things: We stick our heads in the sand or try to find bandages for the symptoms. This story is about how Utah has found a third way.
Aunt Bertha is a web-based platform that connects Americans in need to locally available government programs, non-profit organizations, and community-based resources that offer free or low-cost assistance with health and dental care, job placement, emergency and long-term shelter, clothing and household goods, child and elder care, legal aid, assistance with navigating the social safety net, and much more. All programs are searchable and sortable by ZIP code, city, or eligibility. Find food, health, housing, job training programs and more, anywhere. [more inside]
GQ: The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit. "For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend - or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest." [more inside]
The number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters has risen by more than 69 percent since 2002, when Mayor Bloomberg took office. Each night as many as 60,000 people -- including more than 22,000 children, the highest number since the Great Depression, -- experience homelessness in NYC, and during the course of each year, more than 111,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 40,000 children, will sleep in the city's municipal shelter system. Meet Dasani, one of the city's 'invisible children.' [more inside]
Shigeru Ban is a Japanese architect whose work includes 'temporary' structures (YT) made from cardboard tubes. His work blurs the distinction between temporary and permanent, and includes designs that focus on cost effective and liveable shelter after natural and human disasters. Now, two-and-a-half years after the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake destroyed the city's cathedral, the Cardboard Cathedral has been opened. [See also: 1 2 ]
'Bro-Care' instead of Bum-Fights? A homeless person is offered retail therapy, a haircut, a hotel room, a ride in a car with a white leather interior and a substantial meal (oh, and a blindfolding) in exchange for being videotaped to encourage YouTube subscriptions for a channel. Apparently it hits many users of reddit "right in the feels" (a euphemism for feeling emotional/empathetic about something that you're exposed to)
A kitty!!!!.... or I'm going to chew this couch's arm right off.
The year is 1959. A local radio station, in conjunction with Bomb Shelters, Inc. is seeking a newlywed couple to partake of a sheltered honeymoon. [more inside]
The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
When her boyfriend tried to kill the woman with a hammer, her fearless Great Dane jumped in the way, laying over her body and taking most of the blows until the man threw both of them out of a second story window. The dog suffered multiple broken bones in the attack, sparing his owner’s life in the process. [more inside]
"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue." -- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless, explaining that the surge in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1, 2, 3, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ / Photo Gallery / Video. [more inside]
On April 12th, prior to the Alabama outbreak and about 6 weeks before a tornado tore through the middle of mostly basement-less Joplin, MO, Colleen Bogener wrote a short editorial on the need for public storm shelters in Joplin. There was a short bit of discussion in response.
"A general rule of thumb: Go underground to avoid artillery and conventional bombing runs, but go up as high as possible in a chemical weapons attack." A major South Korean newspaper reports on what to do in the case of North Korean attack and the state of evacuation shelters in Seoul. [more inside]
Staying in a homeless shelter is no fun, especially for little kids. But a bright and sunny playroom can make it a little more comfortable, especially with Calvin & Hobbes murals on the walls. [more inside]
Much-mourned shelter magazine Domino has a new online home for its archives. Stories will be added on an ongoing basis.
"The first ten minutes of Up, with superior white goods": John Lewis' new ad, intended to show the whole life of a customer, is far more emotional than anything that's trying to sell you stuff ought to be. (MLYT) [more inside]
One Bark at a Time: An amateur's notes on giving voice to abandoned dogs -- sometimes in a good way, but other stories will break your heart.
At the Toronto Humane Society, veterinarians say animals die suffering unnecessarily in their cages while pleas to euthanize them are dismissed. Dozens of staff, volunteers and veterinarians have quit in protest. ... A note written by a staff member or volunteer on the medical chart of a cat, animal ID A127495, admitted last fall, reads: "Died Oct 19 3:15 am. Gasped and jerked and cried last breaths, because there was no one in shelter to euthanize or treat. This is not humane." ... [THS president] Mr. Trow says he strives to keep euthanasia rates low for ethical reasons. “How can anyone suggest that, because he might be here longer than anyone would want, that it's better to put [a dog] down?” Mr. Trow asked. “I think that's a strange suggestion, don't you? You live here as long as you can.” Images (yes, they're disturbing.) Video of a puppy adopted out with a broken leg. The THS web site. [more inside]
Origami inspired bamboo and paper modular buildings for use as temporary shelters, by Ming Tang.
In the 1940's the British Government set about creating eight deep level shelters underneath central London. Now, one of them is up for sale (Photos)
Homeless people are just too lazy to work, aren't they? Besides, they panhandle to get by, so what's the big deal? What does it mean to be homeless [previously] anyway? How do people find themselves in these sorts of situations, and why can't they get out of them? How do they feel about it? And are there any alternatives that we can supply them with?
That dream home isn't shaping up the way you'd hoped? Build one from scratch! You could start with a lovely thatched hut. Here's some more. Here's an African one. No vegetation up there where you live, above the Arctic Circle? You can build an igloo. For somewhat warmer areas, a yurt. No Asian import for you? There's the tipi. Need more space? A longhouse is just the thing. For more substance, a sod house. Even better - adobe. Have a look at these "Cave" houses. More ambitious? Build a castle. Whatever you put up, you'll probably need an outhouse. Unless you live on a boat.
1962 Fallout Shelter handbook. (more about nuclear survival and shelters, if that kind of thing worries you).
Attention NYC mefites and animal lovers. I've supported an animal shelter in Brooklyn that apparently was not legit. There is now a desperate need for foster homes for the animals that were rescued from them - they especially need homes for kittens, but there are dogs involved too. There is contact info on this page, but don't look at the pictures if you don't want your heart broken.
The Book of Roofs is a site to take your time with. Originally an art installation, the web site is a look at the concept of roofs - anthropological, biological, spiritual, metaphysical, social and political - in a collection of "roof tiles" consisting of short articles, personal narratives, mythological references, quotes, historic events, video and photographs, all related to the concept of shelter. If you feel so moved you can even contribute your own tile. Flash and sound
Fallout Shelter News announces the July opening of DC's International Spy Museum. "Holy brainwashing, Batman ... if they tell us what’s in it, will they have to kill us?" Before exiting into the 5,000-square-foot gift shop and choosing between two restaurants for a bite to eat, visitors will be able to discuss the current state of espionage with specialists who once worked in the field.
You say that implementing gender-based discrimination laws for preoperative transsexuals is a joke? Try telling that to pre-operative transsexual Josephine Perez, raped in a homeless shelter and unable to obtain expedient care for injuries suffered after the incident. Transgender activists are trying to pass a bill to extend discrimination to amend New York's human rights law, but Guiliani calls it "unnecessary." It's the 21st century. When will the U.S. evolve beyond its myopic approach to gender?