“We’ve systemically defunded vital social services for years in Oklahoma now, almost like a blood sport for political gain,” said state Rep. Forrest Bennett, a Democrat. “It’s at the expense of plenty of folks who need our compassion and get cruelty instead, especially kids.” Read more
“A rebuilt branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is opening with a new feature: on the seven floors right above the library, there will be 49 affordable housing units. Michelle de la Uz, executive director of Fifth Avenue Committee, a nonprofit that builds affordable housing and which partnered with the Brooklyn Public Library on the project, said she’s excited to see how those tenants engage with the library, and that the branch’s programming and resources could help people feel less isolated.
Linda Johnson, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, and de la Uz hope to see it replicated, throughout New York and beyond. “There’s an urgent need for affordable housing, and there are a lot of underutilized libraries that need modernization anyway,” de la Uz says. ‘Why not kill two birds with one stone?'”
Chris Indorf, the assistant superintendent for schools in Biddeford and Saco, said that before the pandemic, student homelessness was typically temporary — just a month or so — as a relatively ample housing supply made it somewhat easier for families to find a new apartment.
“Now the homelessness seems to be endemic. It’s lasting an entire year, or it’s spanning years,” Indorf said. “Most of those cases aren’t destitution — aren’t tents out behind the Starbucks. They tend to be intergenerational, families living with other families. Part of that is due to the economy. And a good part of that is owing to just extremely limited housing stock in Biddeford and Saco, and what is available is exorbitantly expensive.”
A study by Peter Dreier, a professor of urban and environmental policy at Occidental College, found fewer than 3 percent of single-family properties sold in L.A. in the 2021-22 tax year cost above $5 million.
He told the Washington Post: ‘Ninety-eight percent of the homeowners in L.A. won’t feel this at all, and the ones who will feel it can afford to pay it.
“For those who are trapped in poverty and have many other circumstances that make daily existence difficult, it is even more challenging if you’re not connected to the internet,” said Sunne Wright McPeak, CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund. “This is as much a problem if not more so today if you’re trying to navigate any system or get assistance, find shelter, find food and help without having the internet.”
How should we understand the increasing demonization and criminalization of homelessness across America? Is shelter alone enough for meeting the call of this moment, or merely an essential starting place? What can leaders in this field teach us about invoking empathy and critical analysis in responding to this complex set of issues?
MPL recently put together a new resource, “For Neighbors in Need,” a listing of local organizations that help those in need. This resource lists locations where people can go for assistance with food, clothing, laundry, hygiene, shelter, mental health and physical health. You can find this list at mhklibrary.org/for-neighbors-in-need, or as a handout at the Reference Desk on the second floor.