From picture books onwards, “home” as a predictable, stable and safe place is a central subject despite a significant percentage of people who experience homelessness. These experiences are not often written about and if they are, not positively reflected in literature. To create more equitable literacy learning environments, as well as providing a counterpoint to the negative images so often created, we need opportunities to explore economic diversity and to challenge harmful discourses about people experiencing homelessness.
With this in mind, the Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force of SRRT (HHPTF) is creating a booklist of recommended books for all ages, as well as a guide to help with selecting books that are respectful and supportive of people who are experiencing homelessness.
Sandy Berman is a retired librarian who started the “Committee for the Abolition of Library Fines.” He said he feels locking out a child from libraries due to an overdue book is contradictory to the mission of libraries.
“The San Francisco Public Library Commission has already recommended eliminating library fines, but on Thursday it voted to forgive existing fines as well.
The decision comes as the San Francisco Public Library is on the verge of a new fine-free chapter, after officially recognizing the punitive practice creates an ‘unfair barrier to access, which disproportionately impacts residents of lower socioeconomic status.'”
“Late fees will be no more after March 1. The library commission on Dec. 5 voted to do away with the fees in the hopes of increasing patronage. The threat of overdue costs discourages library use by younger and lower-income residents, ‘the people who need (the library) the most,’ said commissioner Joni Teter.”
“Ford’s interactive display allows library visitors, many of them homeless, to express themselves anonymously. Panels hanging from the ceiling ask visitors ‘What do you need? What can you give?’ Paper, pens, and a drop box allow visitors to answer. Ford periodically empties the box and pins the responses on the five panels in the display.
She’s been surprised by what people have said. The vast majority didn’t ask for money or housing or food — they asked for empathy.”
“The proposal by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to at least triple the minimum rent that the poorest Americans pay for federally subsidized housing would put nearly 1 million children at risk of homelessness, according to an analysis of HUD data by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).”