THE NUMBER OF FATAL ATTACKS on the homeless rose 40 percent in 2007 over the prior year, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, which reported that 28 homeless individuals were killed in these attacks last year.
The overall number of attacks rose 13 percent to 160 last year, according to the groups in their new report, Hate, Violence, and Death on Main Street USA, 2007.
That’s the most seen in the nine-year history of the annual report.
Florida led all states with the greatest number of attacks at 31. It was followed by California with 22 and Nevada with 14.
In another disturbing finding, the report said the attackers tended to be younger men or boys. Of the known attackers in 2007, 64 percent were between 13 and 19 years old. An overwhelming 86 percent of the accused and convicted were 25 and younger. Some of the attackers cited boredom as a motive.
“If these brutal attacks were committed against any other religious or minority group to the same degree, there would be a national outcry and call for governmental action,” said Michael Stoops, acting executive director of NCH, in a statement. “We must respond to this dehumanization and protect homeless persons against hate crimes.”
The report is available at www.national homeless.org and www.nlchp.org.
DOJ Files Fair Housing Suit
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) said it is suing the city of Satsuma, Ala., for violating the Fair Housing Act because it refused to allow three women with disabilities to live together in a group home.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, the suit charges that the city refused to make reasonable accommodations in its rules, policies, practices, or services, which were necessary to afford the residents an opportunity to use and enjoy their home.
The three adult residents lived in a single-family home with supportive services provided by professional caregivers, according to the DOJ, which reported that the lawsuit stemmed from complaints filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
City Attorney Jay Minus could not be reached for comment.
Living on $9.25 a Day
HOMELESS ADVOCATES in Buffalo, N.Y., issued a big challenge: Try living on $9.25 a day.
It was a two-day exercise put forth by the Homeless Alliance of Western New York to call attention to poverty in the area. Buffalo was recently ranked the second-poorest large city after Detroit. About 30 percent of the residents in Buffalo live at or below the poverty line.
A small group of lawmakers and religious leaders was picked to take part in the poverty challenge. Although participants gave up certain items in their daily lives in an effort to make the budget, many still failed at the challenge.
Just using a car or a cell phone put many of the participants in the hole.
“One of the biggest things that I learned is that you have to be 100 percent perfect, 100 percent of the time to make that budget,” said Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte. “Life being what it is, that’s just not possible.” She found herself facing a series of tough choices in an effort to not overspend. She drove her car one day, leaving her with 84 cents in her budget. She made the decision to not feed a parking meter and ended up with a $30 parking ticket.
The $9.25 figure is the amount that the alliance came to after subtracting fair market rent, utilities, and clothing costs from the federal poverty line of $866 in monthly income for a single-person household.