The United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calls upon the United States to take corrective action to address laws that effectively criminalize homelessness, which in the U.S. disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities. The statement is part of the committee’s concluding recommendations following a review of U.S. government compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Among the laws cited as discriminatory were laws that prohibit activities such as loitering, camping, begging, and lying in public spaces.
“The global community agreed in 1948 that social security and health care for children, working age people who face unemployment or injury and older persons are a universal human right,” said ILO Deputy Director-General Sandra Polaski. “And yet in 2014 the promise of universal social protection remains unfilled for the large majority of the world’s population.”
“The data clearly show that anti-poverty policies have been effective, but they’ve had to work harder in the face of increasing economic challenges facing low-income families. We could try to push the safety net further, but the politics aren’t there, to say the least. Moreover, unless we do more to deal with the underlying structural problems in the economy that are increasing poverty — especially the lack of decently paying jobs, which I link closely to the absence of full employment — we’ll have to increasingly ratchet up government support year after year.”
46.5 million Americans, 15% of the population, live at or below the poverty line according to the recently released United States Census Population Survey.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 through their Homeless Veterans Outreach Initiative. The VA wants to partner with organizations and individuals in communities across the country to end and prevent homelessness among Veterans.
“The single best way to help Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless is to connect them with VA. Each VA medical center has a homeless coordinator on staff and specific programs that provide Veterans the support they need to establish or maintain safe, stable housing. VA has also established the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (877-4AID-VET, or 877-424-3838), a toll-free hotline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained responders—many of them Veterans themselves—are available to provide support to Veterans and their loved ones who lack safe, secure housing. These services are also available on an online chat at va.gov/homeless. ”
“Upward mobility through the mechanism of a good education, which is a widely held value in this country that cuts across the political spectrum, is in serious jeopardy.”
St. Paul public libraries are providing free lunches this summer. This is the first time the libraries have served free lunches. Librarians saw the need for the service after so many children were showing up hungry.
Protestors march to Pennsylvania’s state capital to oppose Governor Corbett’s planned budget cuts to public education. These cuts will largely affect poor and underserved children. On the state chopping block are art, music, and library programs.
Poverty in households with children is rising in nearly all OECD countries. Governments should ensure that family support policies protect the most vulnerable, according to the OECD’s first-ever report on family well-being.
Doing Better for Families says that families with children are more likely to be poor today than in previous decades, when the poorest in society were more likely to be pensioners.
OECD (2011), Doing Better for Families