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.
“A Tempe Marine veteran is putting literature on two wheels to deliver library services to people who are homeless via the Tempe Book Bike Program.
The program is housed under the Tempe Public Library, which is the closest public library to ASU’s Tempe campus. The program acts as a mobile book service that allows individuals living in underserved communities to check out books without a library card.”
“The Pikes Peak Library District said adding a social worker to its staff helps fill a gap that traditional library personnel weren’t prepared to meet, furthering its mission to connect people with resources, whatever those may be.”
“Residents who previously experienced obstacles in obtaining access to Berkeley Public Library resources and items will no longer face this issue with the implementation of a new Easy Access Card, which allows those without a permanent address to use and check out library resources.”
“Some branches of the LA Public Library are also expanding their ‘Source‘ program, which holds monthly events at neighborhood branches to link the homeless with various social services, including emergency housing programs, drug and mental health treatment, and emergency relief. At Durant Library this past week, a record number of people lined up for hours to attend the Source event.
Head Librarian John Frank says his branch got an infusion of public money to expand this event, after the I-Team’s reports.
‘The reports raised awareness of the plight of the different populations in the library, and they’ve inspired some people to help us out and give us a little more money,’ said Frank. ‘It’s made a big difference.'”
“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).”
“An employee at the main branch of the Worcester Public Library, speaking for herself and not the library, said the main branch serves as the city’s defacto day shelter for homeless people, but employees there often find themselves unequipped to help the homeless patrons. The employee, Elizabeth McKinstry, said the task force should look at staffing social workers at the library to help the homeless people who shelter there.
‘We really need someone onsite to help us do what we want to do as librarians, which is help people,’ said McKinstry.
She also added she was disappointed no one from the library was included on the task force.”