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2 December 2009

Events Calendar

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Sesame Street: Billy Joel And Marlee Matlin Sing Just The Way You Are (I love Marlee!)

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Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Across the Pond

via Change.org's End Homelessness Blog by Shannon Moriarty on 11/22/09

In February, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced a bold plan to end rough sleeping in London by 2012. Today, just six months after unveiling his plan, two-thirds of the city's rough sleepers are off the streets and in housing. This begs the question: if London can end homelessness, why can't the U.S.?

Rough sleepers are to London as chronically homeless are to the U.S. According to Capital City News, these individuals "have typically been homeless for at least five years, have refused or have been failed by repeated interventions to help them off the streets, and are often affected by a complex set of problems, including drug addiction and mental health issues."

But unlike the U.S., the impetus for the targeted outreach to these individuals in London was not to save money or political face - at least according to the comments of Mayor Johnson. He said in a statement, "It is completely unacceptable for anyone to end up with only the street for a home in 21st century London." This was the zeal driving the quick removal of 138 long-term rough sleepers from the street in just six months. Given this early success, many believe the city will have no problem transitioning the remaining 67 homeless individuals into housing by 2012.

This plan to end homelessness in London is not unlike the plethora of 10-Year Plans to End Homelessness that exist in over 230 cities and states across the U.S. Similar to London's plan, they are bold, targeted, and have a timeline for success. So why has this approach working in London and not in the States? Is 10 years too long to feel urgent? Are we trying to end homelessness for penny pinching or human rights reasons?

Perhaps the new head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness could benefit from a chat over tea with Mayor Johnson. Clearly, he has some ideas that are worth spreading.

Image: Capital City News

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Urgent Call for more Jobs Gains Momentum - EPI News

EPI has joined forces with a coalition of national organizations in calling for more action to create jobs. On November 17, EPI hosted the panel discussion,Spotlight on the Jobs Crisis, where the heads of the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, and other groups warned that today’s high unemployment could stunt an entire generation’s lifetime earnings and devastate minority communities.

The coalition, which consists of EPI, the AFL-CIO, Center for Community Change, the NAACP, and the National Council of La Raza, issued an Urgent Call for Action to Stem the U.S. Jobs Crisis, recommending many of the same policy actions that EPI proposed last month in its five-part approach to large-scale job creation. These include additional aid to strapped state governments, public-sector job creation, as well as investments in infrastructure and tax credits to create private-sector jobs. The group also advocates extended emergency unemployment compensation and subsidies for COBRA health insurance into 2010.

Unemployment: The civil rights issue of our time
The Call to Action praised the Obama administration for moving swiftly earlier this year to pass the Recovery Act, which has already created at least 1.1 million jobs. But it stressed that additional help was needed. “The Great Recession is an unfolding social catastrophe,” said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of theCenter for Community Change. “If we act quickly, a jobs program could put millions of people to work in 2010.”

Much of the discussion at the Spotlight on the Jobs Crisis panel focused on the groups hardest hit by the jobs crisis. Although the nationwide unemployment rate of 10.2% is the highest level seen in 26 years, it is much higher for communities of color: 13.1% for Hispanic workers and 15.7% for black workers.

“Make no mistake. This is the civil rights issue of our time,” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said at the event. “There can be no equal opportunity without economic justice and a stable job that provides a living wage.” MORE

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

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