Architecture for Humanity - SF
Saturday, July 10, 2004
and the NEWS on HOMELESSNESS goes on.....

July 7 - July 13 2004 € Vol. 38, No. 41

by chance martin

The war at home

FOURTEEN MILLION AMERICAN households spend more than half their income onhousing. Five million households are precariously housed, meaning they lack employment stability or income to pay for both their housing and other basic necessities such as food and clothing, do not have access to affordable housing near work, or have experienced housing discrimination.

As many as 3.5 million Americans, more than 1 million of whom are children,lack housing altogether.

The Section 8 program of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is the largest source of housing subsidies for Americans living in poverty. And last year, the Bush administration proposed a 2004 budget that would have forced more than 100,000 extremely low-income families out of their homes by cutting funding for their Section 8 vouchers. When Congress voted that plan down, the administration undertook a stealth plan to drain funding from Section 8 by revising housing regulations.

The Bush administration's true agenda is now coming to light as states and housing authorities begin to receive their 2004 funding, finding allocations shockingly short. If these restrictive rules are not repealed, thousands of households will lose their vouchers and face the very real possibility of homelessness. In San Francisco these federal policies place 871 households at immediate risk of losing their subsidies, with 2,071 more in jeopardy by 2009.

Cynically, the Bush administration has declared a goal of ending "chronic" homelessness ­ while actively opposing the creation of a national housing trust fund that could help close America's housing gap in a decade.

And now the feds propose cutting Section 8 funding by another $1.6 billion, putting 250,000 American households at risk of homelessness.

Widespread homelessness during the Great Depression was, in large measure, solved through housing and works programs created by popular mobilization, but for the past 25 years, national agenda has been set by three Republican administrations and one New Democrat. And the last quarter-century of American housing policy reveals one constant: an ongoing failure to reconcile federal cuts to low-income housing with a concurrent rise in

Sadly, it appears the Bush administration is now ready to blame the "liberals," the "doubters," the well-meaning providers, and the people on the front lines for "accommodating" homelessness. Such charges conveniently ignore the 64 percent cut to HUD's housing budget since 1978, as well as the annual loss of some 90,000 affordable housing units, instead fixing the blame for a seemingly intractable homelessness crisis on the very people struggling to address the problem.

The Bush administration should support its admirable call to "abolish" homelessness in America by putting its money where its mouth is: it should restore full funding for HUD's Section 8 program and support the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act.

Together we can move toward ending homelessness in America.

Chance Martin is the editor of Street Sheet.
(linked version)
chance martin
A Publication of the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
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Chron staff writer Kevin Fagan's take | New homeless plan could be neutralized Proposed cuts in HUD housing subsidies criticized

New Projections Show Potential Effects in Each Community
| Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Rethinking Public Housing

This is very similar to the kiosk project I have proposed, essentially an alternative to the hand out donation interaction, citizens are encouraged to contribute change to old parking meters which in turn translate to food vouchers for the homeless. A nice idea.

2 articles on Spokane Mayor who ordered homeless encampment to disband.
Chron1 | Chron2

DESIGN merging homelessness & architecture....

Catch an interview with Cameron Sinclair and the BBC

Helmut Jahn's Chicago homeless shelter | pic
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