We’re in the middle of a series of reporting on homelessness in San Diego, and similar conversations are happening in cities across the country. Here are some links to stories that examine homelessness issues from elsewhere we’ve found interesting in the last week:
• More young adults in the United States are homeless, reports the New York Times. Workers between 18 and 24 years old comprise the age group with the highest unemployment rate of all adults.
From the Times:
Without a stable home address, they are an elusive group that mostly couch surfs or sleeps hidden away in cars or other private places, hoping to avoid the lasting stigma of public homelessness during what they hope will be a temporary predicament.
These young adults are the new face of a national homeless population, one that poverty experts and case workers say is growing. Yet the problem is mostly invisible.
• A group that studies crimes against homeless people tracked the number of homeless people who died as a result of violent attacks and found there were 32 in 2011, compared with 24 the year earlier. The group, the National Coalition for the Homeless, found that non-lethal attacks numbered 73, down from 89 the year before. (Huffington Post)
The group’s director, Neil Donovan, thinks laws targeting the homeless for sleeping on the street and panhandling contribute to the problem:
“I think there’s been an evolution — or a devolution — of compassion for the homeless to compassion fatigue, and I think it’s almost generally accepted now that the fatigue has translated into a criminalization of homelessness,” he said. “We’re looking at a campaign of dehumanization.”
• Across many American cities, the number of homeless people went up by 7 percent in the year ending in August, compared with the year earlier, according to a report from a group of 25 American mayors. (San Diego wasn’t included in the report.) (U.S. Conference of Mayors)
• I appeared on KPBS “Midday Roundtable” on Friday to talk about what we’ve found so far and where we might be headed next in our investigation. You can listen to that discussion here.
U-T columnist Matt Hall was on the show, too, and he reiterated his point from a recent column that politicians’ vows to “end homelessness” are “laudable, but laughable.” What do you think? Weigh in below.
• An Oceanside kid told his mom not to buy him anything for Christmas last year and to spend the money on the homeless instead. This year, his school took up the challenge and kids who went without a gift raised $1,000 combined for a soup kitchen nearby. His mom told the U-T he was “inspired to help the homeless after seeing a family member struggle after losing a job.”
The realization that somebody so close to him could be threatened with homelessness ignited a sense of responsibility in Drake, who told his mother last year that he wanted to help a homeless man he saw at a [Wal-Mart] in Oceanside.
The family bought supplies for the man after Drake asked whether they could help him.
Seen any other provocative articles, studies or statistics on homelessness recently? Have an opinion about one of these? Leave a comment below.
I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at email@example.com or 619.325.0531.
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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.