“We are proud that we are a safe space for so many and we are constantly working to make sure it is truly a safe space for all,” said Jason Homer, executive director of the Worcester Public Library. “We have to set clear expectations with those who may be in crisis to ensure everyone’s experience is one rooted in safety and equity.”
“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?'”
“The Girl From the Red Rose Motel” is different from her debut, Zurenda said. It follows the story of Hazel Smalls, a homeless high school junior, and Sterling Lovell, an affluent high school senior, in 2012 South Carolina. The story outlines the lessons the two, and their teacher, learn as their relationship grows.
“More than anything, I want people to find meaning in the book, to find something to take away from it,” Zurenda said.
Zurenda’s author talk at the Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library in Florence — 509 S Dargan St. — will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2. She’ll talk about the novel, topics mentioned in her new novel and public school teaching. The event is free and open to the public.
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.”
“Cities are pouring money into the nonprofit to manage encampments and patrol the streets where unhoused residents congregate. Not everyone is happy about it.”
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.
‘This is the rich striking against the poor.’
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.
“A new step in tackling chronic homeless in Columbia is set to open its doors in under a week.”