Archive | September, 2010

The Injustice of Poverty and the Worship of Money

“March” Drawing by Josh MacPhee See http://wraphome.org for art relating to social justice

“The love of money is the root of all evil.” Our society has turned this truth upside down so that seeking wealth is now perceived as godlike.

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Coffee and Conversation with a Homeless Man

Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

This man was in his early sixties and had been homeless for many years. Yet he kept his hair combed, and he spoke clearly and reasonably. Sure, he had some anger concerning his plight, but who wouldn’t? It seems that fate had dealt him a few too many blows, and this is where he had ended up.

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No Place at the Table: Feeding the Poor Is a Crime

Feeding the hungry is an act of faith in many religions. Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

After closing the public feeding facility, San Diego officials quickly moved against the Salvation Army and got their meal program closed. Then, one by one, they began began picking off the smaller homeless providers who offered food and day shelter. Some churches have resisted.

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Housing Is a Human Right

Art by David Adams

U.S. housing advocates can and should use international human rights standards to reframe the public debate, craft and support legislative proposals, supplement legal claims in court, advocate in international forums and support community organizing efforts.

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U.S. Government Conceals Housing Violations in Report to United Nations

“What is needed is a change in the mindset and motivation of our elected leaders to say that housing is not just a commodity, but a basic human need, and a basic human right. This report was a chance to make a strong statement in that regard, and it is sad to see our leaders shying away from this opportunity.” —Eric Tars, human rights program director at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

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America’s Epidemic of Violence Against the Homeless

Violent, often fatal, attacks on homeless Americans now outnumber all other categories of hate crimes combined. Over the past 11 years, there are more than double the amount of homeless hate crime deaths than there are for all other protected classes. Homeless Americans from all walks of life have been victimized by hate crimes. Many of the victims of lethal assaults are older homeless men.

***** Lenny Silverberg’s starkly beautiful paintings capture the suffering etched on the faces of homeless people the artist observed struggling to survive.

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Poetry September 2010

Hope’s nothing but right,/

like the justice of star shine/

on river breezing midnights….

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Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.