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Residentially Challenged: How Much Does a Panhandler Really Make?

Residentially Challenged: How Much Does a Panhandler Really Make? | Homelessness | Scoop.it
Walker Calhoun's insight:

This article is narrated by somebody who relies on panhandling. This is the core issue in itself. Many homeless people aren't seeking homage in a job, or what some may label an "honest living." Most rely on the rich homeowners to supply them with their income. By the description given, on a typical day of panhandling, one can make more money than if they worked a minimum wage job. Maybe this explains their motivation: why work if I can possibly make twice as much money sitting outside of a Walgreens for 6 hours? I understand it's a rare case to be able to seriously support yourself solely on panhandling, but the notion that it's possible drives people forward.

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Can Puppies Help Homelessness?

Can Puppies Help Homelessness? | Homelessness | Scoop.it
Puppies have some pretty magical powers: the ability to look cute from all angles, the ability to pee wherever they want.
Walker Calhoun's insight:

I don't think this is the right approach. San Francisco is giving away problematic pooches to severely low-income citizens. In exchange for the puppy, the individual is required to give up panhandling. To me, this is San Francisco's way of trying to beautify our city. The goal here  may seem to give hope and happiness to the dogs and people, but is that the true intent? After reading the article I though the intentions were uglier. All the government wants is to get the homeless of the streets. They want tourists to leave our city with the image of our landscape, not our unbecoming homeless population. It's similar to how Nevada sent their homeless to California. It isn't a solution, it's a strategy to put off a continuous problem. It's selfish. 

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Homelessness in America - National Coalition for the Homeless

Homelessness in America - National Coalition for the Homeless | Homelessness | Scoop.it
Read below for some basic facts about homelessness. For more information, check out these resources: Further Issues that can lead to homelessness, or that face specific populations of people experiencing homelessness. NCH Reports and Publications on topics ranging from Criminalization to Homeless Counts. Archives of historical NCH Reports and resources collected by NCH relating to …
Walker Calhoun's insight:

This article develops ideas behind the catalyst for homelessness. Predominately in San Francisco, where housing, food, and education is skyrocketing, many people who have low income jobs don't live a sustainable lifestyle. Their wages aren't keeping up with inflation, forcing many to take up multiple jobs. As time goes on it's inevitable that they get fatigued and their quality of work declines, possibly causing them to get laid off. This is the story for many homeless people across America. There are instances, however, that are uncontrollable: 16% of homeless people have a mental illness, and are unable to supply themselves with care, and are even less qualified to get and keep a job. As people's quality of life declines, desperation sets in, and many fall into the cyclone of addiction. Though there are some things that city governments can't control, such as addiction and mental illness, we can help them with affordable healthcare, education, and available public assistance. 

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Sit/lie law primarily enforced in Haight

Sit/lie law primarily enforced in Haight | Homelessness | Scoop.it
Police data from the first year of enforcement of the controversial sit/lie law, passed by 54 percent of voters in 2010, shows the encounter was standard practice - in the Haight. A red double-decker sightseeing bus motored past, and tourists sitting in the open-air top gawked at the scene that has come to symbolize San Francisco perhaps as much as cable cars and sourdough bread. Haight merchants' outcryPoliticians hoped in 2010 to make the city's sometimes wretched streets more palatable for business owners, tourists and residents by banning sitting or lying on sidewalks citywide between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Officers must first warn offenders to move along before citing them and are also supposed to provide information for obtaining social services to get off the streets. Initiated because of outcry from some merchants in the Haight that groups of thugs with pit bulls were frightening passers-by and hurting business, the law was approved in November 2010 and began being enforced by police officers in spring 2011. The Chronicle, through a public records request, obtained sit/lie statistics for the first year of enforcement including all recorded instances of warnings for breaking the law, citations and bookings into county jail. Haight Street merchants and residents are more likely to call police to report somebody sitting or lying outside their shops and homes than, say, a Tenderloin merchant who probably has more pressing concerns. [...] she said the neighborhood isn't the same anymore and that she's tired of having clearly crazy street people scare potential shoppers away. A spring report for the Police Department prepared by four participants in the City Hall Fellows program - recent college graduates who work for a year in city government - found similar sentiments among Haight merchants. The fellows surveyed more than 50 business owners and found that 58 percent of them said the number of people sitting in front of their shops had stayed the same or increased since the ban was approved. On a recent morning, dozens of them - along with their backpacks, sleeping bags, shopping carts and pets - dotted the entrance to Golden Gate Park at Haight and Stanyan streets. Politicians who backed the sit/lie ban said it was those groups of youth they were focusing on, but traveling kids know to just stand up when they see police officers or hang out in the park instead. [...] the City Hall Fellows report found that violators of sit/lie "are not consistently offered tangible referrals to services" as backers promised and instead were handed a half-sheet of paper that told them to call 311, which usually handles calls on when a Muni bus will arrive or complaints about potholes. Lt. William Roualdes, who supervises the Police Department's 17 homeless outreach officers, said officers are adopting one standard form related to homeless services to be handed to violators. Sharing relevant informationA new computer system will allow each agency to share relevant information on the chronic offenders, and they'll be kept in county jail until they get a court date rather than being released to the streets and told to come back later. Many of their cases will be handled at the Community Justice Center, which processes cases more quickly than the traditional system and relies on the offender participating in community service or treatment programs instead of jail time. According to the Sheriff's Department, he was released from jail at 4:23 p.m. the same day. About the sit/lie ban The law prohibits people from sitting or lying on sidewalks anywhere in the city - or sitting or lying on objects on the sidewalks like backpacks - between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Exceptions are made for people having a medical emergency, sitting in wheelchairs, attending parades or demonstrations, sitting on fixed chairs or benches, waiting in line for services or children sitting in strollers.
Walker Calhoun's insight:

Heather Night focuses on a controversial issue surrounding the homeless culture in the Haight. With the newly passed sit/lie law, it is illegal for anybody to sit or lie on the sidewalk. Of course, this law is directly aimed towards homeless people. There would be no issue with authorities if I, or any other cleaned up, well dressed person loitered on the sidewalk of Haight Street. I don't know what our city expects. Most of these people don't have a place to go, and now their right to sit or sleep is being revoked. Police are constantly patrolling Golden Gate Park, and the Haight to bust homeless people for sitting, lying, or disobeying the public drinking laws. What are they allowed to do? I think it's important, for the future, to be aware of their circumstances, and form laws that are more fair for them and the shop owners who are typically calling the police. 

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Scaled-down homeless rights law advances

Scaled-down homeless rights law advances | Homelessness | Scoop.it
Homeless people in California would have the right to rest in public spaces, including sidewalks, without the threat of arrest, and local governments would have to provide access to bathrooms and showers, under a bill that passed its first major test Tuesday. New categoryUnder the measure, a person's housing status would be added to the list of categories included in the state's antidiscrimination law, which applies to government entities and entities that receive money from the government. The other categories include race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, genetic information or disability. ExemptionsLocal governments that provide year-round non-medical assistance for adults, that are not in areas of high unemployment and that don't have a public housing waiting list longer than 50 people would be exempted from the provision on sitting, sleeping, eating and soliciting in public places. Other declared rights would include the ability to set down personal belongings and the right to restitution if that property is "confiscated, removed or damaged" by law enforcement or security guards. Opponents of the bill who testified included representatives of the League of California Cities, the California Chamber of Commerce and other business and municipal groups, though the bill was amended late Monday to narrow some requirements.
Walker Calhoun's insight:

This article explains regulatory progress in California, and specifically the Bay Area. Wyatt Buchanan resurfaces the issue of homelessness by delving into the laws and regulations around their presence. It has been implored that police officers have the right to ticket the homeless for sleeping on the streets and loitering, like they have another option. Buchanan pushes back on this law by protecting them, and softening the blow that police officers are allowed to give. He supports the homeless community by providing them with more rights. These new measures should allow the homeless to live more comfortably, and hopefully encourage them to try and dig themselves out of the hole they found themselves in. 

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Sign Interpretations

An analysis of panhandling signs I've seen in San Francisco.

Walker Calhoun's insight:

Over my many years of experiencing homeless culture in San Francisco, I have noted a few of their panhandling strategies. Though San Francisco gives animals to low-income peoples to stop begging, many homeless use dogs and cats to endorse people to give them money. If you don't want to give me your change, then do it for my 6 month old puppy I have to take care of. It's a guilt trip. Another common strategy for the homeless is to use different themed signs. I typically see signs that are based off humor, guilt, and some use being a veteran as a method. I commonly see humorous signs on Haight street, where most of the homeless youth are located. They seem to be making a joke about the situation as a whole, when really it is taxing to both them and the city. A majority of signs around the city are meant to guilt you into flicking a few quarters in their cup; "anything will help," "I have three kids to feed tonight," are just a couple examples. It's disheartening to think that sometimes I'm, and I assume many others, are skeptical about the truth behind the signs. I'd rather provide the homeless with food instead of giving them money to purchase cigarettes and drugs. In my opinion, panhandling shouldn't be a strategy to solicit money, it should be a strategy to solicit help. 

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Europe May Have Hit on the Boldest Solution to Homelessness Yet

Europe May Have Hit on the Boldest Solution to Homelessness Yet | Homelessness | Scoop.it
If they actually have the guts to do this, America should take notes.
Walker Calhoun's insight:

I chose this article to make a comparison between the tenacious activities of European government to the lackadaisical approach of the United States. This article develops the idea that, in Europe, homelessness is perceived not as "neither a crime nor a lifestyle choice." Homelessness is rather the consequence of inflation and the cost of life. Europe used its landscape to mend the lives of millions of homeless characters, but what will America do? If we have mass amounts of unoccupied homes, I don't know about it. If we have a solution I don't know about it. The unfortunate matter is that neither does our government. We spend time and money thinking about starting a solution but nothing ever gets done. We need to change our mindset to that of the Europeans. Homelessness isn't a crime or a lifestyle, we are making it so. 

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San Francisco suing Nevada for allegedly shipping homeless to California

San Francisco suing Nevada for allegedly shipping homeless to California | Homelessness | Scoop.it
The city of San Francisco is suing the state of Nevada. The city says a psychiatric hospital dumped nearly 1,500 homeless and mentally ill patients onto buses with one-way tickets to surrounding states, including California.
Walker Calhoun's insight:

To me, this is embodies the problem not only San Francisco has, but our country has with homelessness. We are unwilling to deal with the problem, so to compensate, Nevada literally dropped the burden off at the doorstep of different city governments. It's "irresponsible" for government officials to ship 1,500 homeless psychiatric patients to another state. What does that say about our ethics? We, as a nation, cannot continue to ignore the issue of homelessness, and we cannot be scared to attack it. What was their goal? What were they expecting? What do they plan to do when homelessness isn't something that you can simply push away? We have to focus our morals and realize that we are dealing with people. They may not be 'presentable,' or 'well educated,' but every person has potential to prosper and contribute in our post-modern society. 

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Crunch Time

This is a personal experience I had about homelessness in San Francisco, and specifically in the upper Haight. 

Walker Calhoun's insight:

Every year Ben & Jerry's hosts a free cone day. For the past four years I have gone to receive my treat, which is typically overpriced. As I breached the doors of the Haight and Ashbury branch of Ben & Jerry's in San Francisco, I noticed two women handing out pieces of paper advertising the Haight street homeless clinic. As they talked to waiting customers, they solicited donations for the clinic. All they wanted was to raise awareness and gain traction on the ugly truth of San Francisco's homeless culture. No matter the denomination, they excitedly rang a bell every time a couple coins, or a few dollars were dropped in their yellow donation bucket. It was a process they were proud to partake in.

        This was an interesting change from years past. I have never thought that advertising would be allowed during a day that was meant to focus on Ben & Jerry's. It is a positive turn of events. Not only were a majority of the people happy to contribute to the cause, but the workers and manager of the Haight and Ashbury branch of Ben & Jerry's were proud to promote the Haight homeless clinic. The unfortunate matter behind this is that it's necessary. The laws and legislation in America, California, and San Francisco are strict to prohibit typical homeless behavior. It has gotten extreme enough for an outreach to develop. Those two young ladies wouldn't have been there if it wasn't vital for the Haight homeless clinic. They need the help of large organizations such as Ben & Jerry's, and the contributions of a seventeen year old high school student such as myself to make a difference. Together it the process will be less laborious and arduous for the choice few who are constantly involved. Let's make their job easier, and help the homeless of San Francisco. 

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On Gideon's Anniversary: Legal Rights for the Homeless

On Gideon's Anniversary: Legal Rights for the Homeless | Homelessness | Scoop.it
As much as anyone, homeless people need access to lawyers. Why? Because our society has written dozens of laws aimed at criminalizing their behavior.
Walker Calhoun's insight:
This article explains the difficulties of being homeless in San Francisco. The different laws created to ban their actions cause trouble among the homeless community because of the lack of communication between them and the city. It's hard to warn somebody of a charge when they are essentially off the grid. Ammanio presents a solution to this issue via shelters and services. The public is all too aware of the homeless issues and admire his actions. It seems to be a spreading belief that the homeless need artificial opportunities. One responder, however, thinks that this proposal is a strategy to give attorneys more work, and therefore continue the cycle in the upper-middle class. The entire article can be interpreted as essential or controversial, I think it's influential. Maybe it isn't he didn't pinpoint the best option, but it does create momentum in the right direction. The public needs to become more involved too. We need more people like Ammanio brainstorming solutions to a worlwide problem. 
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