Homelessness

Mayor Bill de Blasio created a program for the New York to get people out of shelters quickly. But after looking for months, one single mother finds landlords are not willing to accept the voucher.

For more on this report, visit WNYC's "The Long Way Home" series page.

The Obama administration says it wants to end veterans homelessness by the end of this year — but it's not going to happen. That's partly because, despite government support, many landlords remain reluctant to rent to homeless individuals.

At the end of October, almost 6,200 homeless military veterans had government vouchers to cover their rent, but they had yet to find landlords willing to accept them. Among those vets is Joseph Coles of Washington, D.C., where you're lucky to get a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,400 a month.

In 2009, President Obama and then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki announced a lofty goal of zero percent homelessness among veterans by 2015. They haven’t reached that goal, but they have made notable gains, decreasing homelessness by more than 30 percent in the past five years.

NPR veterans correspondent Quil Lawrence speaks with Here & Now’s Eric Westervelt about how the government has been able to curb homelessness among veterans, but also where there is still work left to be done.

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By a 7-2 vote, the Oklahoma City Council bans activities in medians less than 30 feet wide.

For more than two hours, several organizations who help the poor and homeless spoke in opposition to the measure. Only one group spoke in support.

Councilwoman Meg Salyer says she pushed the bill and amended it to deal with public safety.

"The ordinance before us today, amending Chapter 32 of the municipal code about motor vehicles and traffic, addresses the public safety issue of both pedestrians and drivers," says Salyer.

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On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council is expected to vote on an ordinance banning activities in city medians with an emphasis on ending panhandling.

KOSU's Michael Cross spoke with Homeless Alliance Executive Director Dan Straughan about what this means for Oklahoma City's indigent community.

 

More than 560,000 people lived on the streets or in homeless shelters in the U.S. earlier this year. That number marks a 2 percent drop from the year before, according to new figures released Thursday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Still, some question how accurately those numbers depict the problem. There are many ways one can count who is and isn't homeless.

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The Oklahoma City Council advances an ordinance to ban everyone from medians not just panhandlers.

The council heard from several citizens opposed to the measure like Derrek Jump, a veteran who advocates for homeless vets. Jump says he’s opposed to the idea of fining and jailing our poorest citizens.

"I think what it boils down to is extra revenue for our great city and the fact that we're willing to create revenue off the backs of our homeless population is absolutely reprehensible," says Jump.

The Sooner Stand Down by The Homeless Alliance taking place on Thursday from 6am to 4pm is entering its ninth year.

Executive Director Dan Straughan says the goal of the Stand Down is to help get veterans back on their feet.

The term “Stand Down” originated during World War I when soldiers were pulled back from the trenches for physical and mental respite.

Eight months after homelessness hit a record in New York City, you can still see the need of the city's most vulnerable in Tompkins Square Park.

"Good morning! Two pieces?" asks Mario Cornejo, as he places slices of frosted banana bread on paper towels for a long line of hungry people.

"It used to be just a small pot before," explains Cornejo, a volunteer with a New York group called Food for Life since 2008. "Now it's a big pot and bigger salad containers, more trays of cake."

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