He said many of those lived in the very public housing that was destroyed in the storm and will not be rebuilt for another year or two.
"We have people who had rents of $600. Those same units are now going for $1,500. For them, this place is no longer affordable," he said referring to large real estate price increases in the area. "We are wrestling with this issue and doing everything we can to address this."
Which, in some cases, includes financing a move out of town. In one case, Herbert's office used private grants to give one family _ parents, four children and another on the way _ about $6,000 to move to Georgia, where the father had found work.
At the back of the FEMA village park, Gerald Sawyer worries about his future. A father of three, Sawyer is disabled and unable to work. His wife just started working at Dunkin' Donuts in town _ it's hardly enough to pay the bills, much less save up the money to move. "I can't afford to rent anything here anymore. I have gone through pages and pages of ads, and the prices are crazy," he says. "Worst-case scenario, we will be living in the car."
In Davie, Todd and Jennifer Farrington have spent the last three weeks scouring through the mess Wilma made of their mobile home. They had lived there 18 years _ 16 of them with their dog, Rex, born in the back of the trailer. Little remains. The walls are gone. So are chunks of the floor and the furniture.
For now, the Farringtons are staying apart _ Jennifer with friends at the park, Todd with buddies 10 miles away.
"This is really depressing. We are going to need help to get by," says Jennifer Farrington, 57. "I can't even think about this."
They paid off the $15,000 trailer years ago, but had no insurance. Just after the storm, FEMA gave them a disaster aid check for $805. They are grateful, but it isn't enough.
"We spent the first $400 on the basic stuff like food and gas and insurance for the truck," says Todd Farrington. "What kind of place am I going to get for the $400 left over?
"I had never thought about being homeless, and then something like this happens," says Farrington, 45, a painter. "But if we don't get on our feet, that is exactly what will happen."
(Knight Ridder correspondent Natalie P. McNeal and researcher Monika Leal contributed to this report.)
By Audra D.S. Burch The Miami Herald (Florida)
November 20, 2005
MIAMI _ The catastrophic collection of hurricanes that bullied the South over the last two seasons and rang up nearly $28 billion in damage threatens to create a new class of homeless _ a diaspora of already-struggling people who were displaced by the storm, then displaced in the effort to rebuild.
These are people made homeless by the madness of seven hurricanes in 15 months, people who had houses and apartments and condos before the first storm made landfall last August.
Faced with a punishing real estate market, the bulldozing of already limited affordable housing and a complicated disaster aid network that is overwhelmed by the massive scope of the storms, they may never return to a home. And nearly a month into rebuilding after Hurricane Wilma, South Florida becomes the newest region faced with the uncertainty of losing some of its poorest residents to homelessness.
"By the winter, we expect to see a new population of homeless. These are low-wage workers, the people who are suffering the most that somehow slip though the cracks," said Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "We are worried the numbers will grow."
In Punta Gorda, which took a direct hit from Hurricane Charley last August, officials are preparing to deal with about 1,000 who are likely to be homeless when they must leave Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers in February. In extreme cases, they are even helping people move _ up north.
Some of the most vulnerable storm victims are still settled in the trailers, parked and packed in dense lots across the region and facing looming move-out deadlines. Some are in apartments subsidized by the federal government. Others have moved in with family or friends. And still others _ mostly Hurricane Katrina victims from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast _ are facing eviction in their adopted cities because rents have gone unpaid. Either the FEMA checks never made it or the people were lost, unsure of how to ask for help.
And national homeless experts point to another group: the worst cases and least documented, those living quietly under the radar who have slipped through the disaster relief web. They may be on the streets already or perilously close.
"The thing that is so worrisome is we can't track the numbers right now. It's all anecdotal, but we know this is going to be a problem," Crowley said.
Added Martha Burt, of the Urban Institute: "These storms have put a lot of people in a bad way. Once they are out of temporary government housing, you are going to see them coming out on the other end of the line. They will not be able to rebuild or recover."
Just last month, Juanita Bielik signed a lease on a large Fort Lauderdale apartment _ enough space for her husband, three children and mother, who just moved from Connecticut.
Now, Bielik lives at a middle school in Hollywood, Fla., with about 550 other Wilma victims. She is struggling to put her life back together after Wilma peeled the roof off the complex.
"It's hard. When you think about it, where am I going to come up with another two months' rent, first month and last month's security? We got a loan to get in that apartment and I can't work right now, because I can't leave my mother alone at the shelter."
Like others, she has made the call to FEMA. She hopes to move back to the apartment, if it can be salvaged. She refuses to think of the alternative. "I am very spiritual. I believe that somehow I will be taken care of. But I can see how people can become homeless," she said.
The clock is ticking _ disaster housing assistance typically lasts up to 18 months, which means those receiving aid from last year's crop of storms are scheduled to rotate out in the next 90 days or so.
More than 6,400 FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes are still occupied by those left homeless by hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan across the state. That's down from a peak number of 16,993. For Katrina and Rita, FEMA has leased out 4,531 trailers and mobile homes.
Charley, which destroyed 31,000 homes last August, pushed some 1,500 people into a remote, treeless FEMA trailer village in Charlotte County last year; the 1,000 or so who remain must move out by February. Where remains a big question.
FEMA officials say they are working aggressively with local and state officials to meet the deadline.
"We are not going to put anybody on the streets," says Jim Homstad, who works in FEMA's long-term recovery office in Orlando. "Our manufactured homes are never considered a long-term solution. We are working with the local governments to identify housing needs."
The village, carved out of a former cow pasture, sits in the shadows of a jail on one side and Interstate 75 on the other.
"We have a huge problem here. We anticipate that when the trailer park shuts down, we will have 300 or so units _ up to 1,000 people _ who are essentially homeless," says Bob Herbert, who directs hurricane recovery for Charlotte County. "We are talking about a hard-core group of people who are low-income, in some cases lack job skills, and simply cannot recover."
http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/hall/newfullstory.asp?ID=98180 Posted Thursday, November 10 at 4:20 PM
from staff reports
ATLANTA - Governor Perdue has named a Maysville minister and a Braselton businesswoman to separate state boards.
State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless Commission
Jeffery L. Appling, 42, Commerce, Georgia, Member - Appling is senior pastor at Grove Level Baptist Church in Maysville, where he has been for fifteen years. Under his guidance the congregation has grown from 30 to over 2,000. Appling received his bachelor’s degree in Bible theology from Bob Jones University. He and his wife, Lecia, have three children.
Commercial Transportation Advisory Committee
Martha Martin, 65, Braselton, Georgia, Industry Representative - Martin is president and owner of Martha Martin Trucking and PHIL-MART Transportation, which she has been operating for more than thirty years. She is president of the Braselton Rotary Club, member of the board of directors of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and past president of the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority. Martin attended Marsh Business School. Her and her husband, Max, have two children and one grandchild.
Coalition Forces Land Component Command sent a shipment of heavy construction equipment from Kuwait Oct. 27. The shipment included cranes, fuel tankers, road graders, dump trucks and other heavy equipment from theater sustainment stocks available for use in Pakistan.
CFLCC also shipped four containers of medical supplies. The new equipment is in addition to the 200 pallets flown to Pakistan from Kuwait City International Airport. The palletized tents, cots, blankets and packaged meals sent to date are valued at approximately $4 million.
Troops diverted from OEF
Combined Joint Task Force-76 operating in Afghanistan sent eight helicopters, five CH-47 Chinooks and three UH-60 Black Hawks, to Islamabad to assist with relief and rescue efforts there. The task force has sent medical personnel as well as a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital capable of treating 30 patients at a time.
Aircraft crews are delivering relief supplies, dropping some by parachute to remote areas that are inaccessible as a result of the quake’s destruction. The relief efforts are being coordinated with Pakistani authorities so the military can best support the country’s needs, said Lt. Col. Edwin Hernandez, Combined Joint Task Force, Logistics.
About 200 Army Reserve Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment deployed with 12 CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. The unit will conduct rescue operations, work to rebuild infrastructure elements, and transport personnel and cargo.
The unit was recently mobilized from Olathe, Kan., and had reported to Fort Sill, Okla., to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their orders were changed so they could support relief operations, but the Soldiers will proceed to Afghanistan upon completion of duty in Pakistan.
Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, 6th Cavalry Regiment already serving in Afghanistan were sent with five CH-47 Chinook and three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and supplies Oct. 10 to assist relief operations. They are assisting in evacuation of the injured and delivering relief supplies.
Five U. S. service members from Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan Air Division and four OSCA interpreters accompanied relief teams sent by the Afghan National Army to assist with medical treatment and delivering supplies. Afghanistan also sent 34 doctors, including three women, for medical treatment.
Relief operations in full swing
U. S. Army Europe sent about 200 Soldiers from the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, the 160th Forward Surgical Team, and the 123rd Main Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division to Muzaffarrabad, Pakistan to assist in medical relief efforts and set up a water purification site. The 66th Military Intelligence Group is providing translators.
Fifty Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 227th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade deployed with five Chinook helicopters Oct. 14 to 18. This is the unit’s third deployment in three months, after supporting both hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Engineers assessing damage
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Afghanistan Engineer District has been assessing damage in the Muzaffarabad region from aircraft to evaluate roads and bridges leading to some of the areas most in need of relief. Landslides and tremors have covered many roads with rocks, dirt and uprooted trees, complicating efforts to reach these areas.
Engineers are also assessing the extent of damage to housing, and the structural stability of public buildings like schools and hospitals. Twenty six hospitals and more nearly 600 health clinics in Pakistan were destroyed or have sustained too much damage to reopen, according to the World Health Organization.
Engineers from the Combined Joint Task Force-76 in Afghanistan are also conducting aerial reconnaissance of damage to major roadways and other infrastructure to assess rebuilding needs.
U.S. Army Sgt. Kornelia Rachwal gives a young Pakistani girl a drink of water as they are airlifted from Muzaffarabad to Islamabad, Pakistan, aboard a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Oct. 19.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mike Buytas
By Annette Fournier
October 28, 2005
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 28, 2005) Additional U.S. Army medical, aviation and engineer units from Europe, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Kansas and Texas are now helping with relief efforts in Pakistan following the earthquake earlier this month.
The Army is focusing efforts in Pakistan-administered Kashmir where rain, hail, high winds and more than 700 quake aftershocks have complicated relief efforts. More than 54,000 were killed, 75,000 injured and up to 3 million have been left homeless as a result of the earthquake.
Posted 10/22/2005 11:06 AM Updated 10/22/2005 12:01 PM
Consumers need protection from price gouging in times of gasoline shortages and supply delays and low-income families need help paying home-heating fuel bills, projected to rise by as much as 50% this winter, Pryor said in the weekly Democratic radio address.
High energy costs also are hurting small and large businesses alike, he said.
Pryor said Congress and the Bush administration must return to an era of "responsible budgeting" and be less inclined to advocate tax cuts for special interests as a remedy for economic ills.
"We simply must do a better job of putting the needs of all Americans over the wants of a privileged few," the senator said.
He also stressed the importance of energy independence and said the country should waste no time in developing alternative fuels
Pryor reminded listeners that much work in health care, housing and economic opportunities remained to rebuild communities damaged by Gulf Coast hurricanes, and pledged Democratic resolve to fix problems that caused the failed government response to Hurricane Katrina.
BATON ROUGE, La. --Military officials told President Bush on Sunday that the U.S. needs a national plan to coordinate search and rescue efforts following natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
Bush said he is interested in whether the Defense Department should take charge in massive national disasters.
"Clearly, in the case of a terrorist attack, that would be the case, but is there a natural disaster -- of a certain size -- that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort?" Bush asked. "That's going to be a very important consideration for Congress to think about."
Bush got an update about the federal hurricane response from military leaders at Randolph Air Force Base. He heard from Lt. Gen. Robert Clark, joint military task force commander for Hurricane Rita, and Maj. Gen. John White, a task force member, who described search and rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina as a "train wreck."
With Katrina, "we knew the coordination piece was a problem," White said. He said better coordination is needed to prevent five helicopters, for example, from showing up to rescue the same individual. "With Rita, we had the benefit of time. We may not have that time in an earthquake scenario or similar incident," White said.
"With a national plan, we'll have a quick jump-start and an opportunity to save more people," White said.
Speaking of the helicopter example, White said, "That's the sort of simplistic thing we'd like to avoid." He added, "We're not maximizing the use of forces to the best efficiency. Certainly that was a train wreck that we saw in New Orleans."
Bush thanked White for his recommendations.
"This is precisely the kind of information I'll take back to Washington to help all of us understand how to do a better job," the president said.
Later, Bush spent a little more than an hour getting a private briefing in a FEMA joint field operations office that was set up in an empty department store building.
He urged people not to be too eager to return to their homes.
"It's important that there be an orderly process," Bush said. "It's important that there be an assessment of infrastructure."
Bush's briefings came as residents along the Texas and Louisiana coasts began clearing up debris and power crews worked to restore power to more than 1 million customers in four states.
Rita, which hit the Gulf Coast early Saturday, toppled trees, sparked fires and swamped Louisiana shoreline towns with a 15-foot storm surge that required daring boat and helicopter rescues of hundreds of people.
Still, the devastation was less severe than that caused by Hurricane Katrina when it made landfall on Aug. 29.
Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday that the response to Rita represented an "enormous" improvement over that of Katrina. "But it still suggests there are major gaps in our emergency preparedness and that's why we need to find out what went wrong and rectify those problems," the Maine Republican told CNN.
Collins, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has said that post-9/11 changes to improve the government response to catastrophic disasters failed their first major test in Katrina's wake.
The initial focus of hearings by the committee is on how to help the hundreds of thousands of families left homeless by Katrina, Collins said.
"Then we're going to turn to an investigation of what went wrong. We're going to look at leadership, we're going to look at resources, we're going to look at planning, we're going to look at response," Collins told CNN.
After his FEMA briefing, Bush attended a worship service at a chapel on the base.
Bush's appearance was clearly a surprise to the base congregation. The chaplain, Col. David Schroeder, said, "We usually make new people stand up and introduce themselves." Everyone laughed at that, and then he announced the president. Bush stood along with the entire, clapping congregation.
Before returning to Washington, Bush was visiting Baton Rogue, La. The White House has not released details of his scheduled.
On Saturday, he made a stop in Austin, Texas, and at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado.
"Part of the reason I've come down here, and part of the reason I went to Northcom, was to better understand how the federal government can plan and surge equipment, to mitigate natural disasters," Bush said Sunday.
"It's precisely the kind of information that I'll take back to Washington to help all of us understand how we can do a better job in coordinating federal, state and local response."
Under the existing relationship, a state's governor is chiefly responsible for disaster preparedness and response. Governors can request assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If federal armed forces are brought in to help, they do so in support of FEMA, through Northern Command, set up as part of a military reorganization after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Norma Moss chose her words carefully, not wanting to seem ungrateful.
She sat on a folding chair in the Fulmore Middle School gymnasium, a makeshift home for her and hundreds of others who escaped Hurricane Rita. A blanket was draped over shoulders as she tried to keep warm in the chilly gym.
"People have been as nice as they possibly can," she said. "It could be worse than what it is."
Inside the gym, people were stretched out on air mattresses and mats, sleeping, talking, waiting. Kids did watercolor paintings in the cafeteria while adults finished eating lunch.
Like Moss, many people were just trying to make sense of it all.
They were among the few thousands left in the Austin area. At the peak, 48 shelters were open. The figure was less than half that by Sunday evening, according to city emergency officials.
Though grateful for the help, many people in the gymnasium were frustrated after spending the weekend being bounced from shelter to shelter and not knowing when or how they would get back home.
In a hallway off the gymnasium, Pasadena resident Roni Carranza played catch with his children.
After his truck stalled in Houston, he said, he was taken to shelters in Kyle, San Marcos and Georgetown before Austin.
Moss left Houston late last week with her daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren, headed to Nacogdoches. Their car ran out of gas in Cleveland, on U.S. 59 north of Houston. They were taken by bus to a shelter in Kyle before arriving at Fulmore over the weekend.
By Sunday, Moss was ready — "really, really ready" — to go home.
"We're getting bits and pieces of info," she said. "We don't know how true it is. I'm just going along with the program. I'm trying to keep my composure."
Her daughter, Tameka Buggs shook her head in frustration.
"At least tell us something," she said. "If you don't know, tell us you don't know."
Many people at the Fulmore shelter arrived by bus after running out of gas in Cleveland. The lucky ones were picked up in Austin by relatives and friends. Others rented cars or bought Greyhound bus tickets.
Those unable to leave were told initially that they might have to stay until Tuesday, but by Sunday evening, they were on a bus headed for Cleveland to retrieve their vehicles.
The trip that brought Linda Carr and her family from Galveston and La Marque to Austin was marked by stalled cars, road rage and no restaurants, gas stations, hotels or rest rooms. They left their van in a Wal-Mart parking lot and raced to board a bus out of Cleveland.
"We grabbed what we could out of the vehicle and got on the bus," Carr said.
They spent the previous night at a shelter in Kyle. It was orderly, with volunteers who were eager to assist, she said.
She wrote a list on the back of a shelter check-in form of everyone she wanted to thank. There were almost 20 names and organizations listed, mostly from Hays County: Buda Lions Club, American Red Cross, the Kyle and Hays school districts, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, churches, the Kyle police and fire departments.
"Just give them a very big thank-you from all of us," Carr said. "The victims of Rita."
American Red Cross volunteers Jeanette Authement of Manchester, Mich., and George Reid of Manor unloaded donations at the Delco Center in Austin on Sunday.
Evacuees from hurricanes Katrina and Rita were moved to the Delco Center in Northeast Austin on Sunday after nearby Manor closed its shelter. Austin-area shelters, which housed 17,300 at their peak, were down to 3,900 by
WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HH today announced awards totaling $49 million through the
Compassion Capital Fund (CCF). The awards are designed to help grass roots,
faith-based and community organizations enhance their ability to provide a
wide range of social services to those in need including the homeless, at-risk
youth, rural communities, the elderly and families transitioning from welfare
"President Bush recognizes the effectiveness of faith and community-based
organizations in mobilizing communities to serve those in greatest need," HHS
Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "These funds help strengthen organizations that
perform acts of mercy in their neighborhoods."
Today's announcement consists of three sets of grants. The first involves
the CCF Demonstration Program and totals $17,695,299 for 20 organizations.
These groups will serve as intermediaries to help build the capacity of
smaller faith-based and community organizations. These awards include $1.1
million to the OneStar Foundation of Austin, Texas; $1.4 million to the Black
Ministerial Alliance in Roxbury, Mass.; $708,334 to the Latino Pastoral Action
Center in Bronx, N.Y., and $750,000 to World Vision in Federal Way, Wash.
The second set totals $15,192,810 for 310 faith-based and community
organizations under the CCF Targeted Capacity-building Program. The target
program areas include at-risk youth, the homeless, rural communities and
In addition, awards totaling $15,740,265 were given to continue currently
funded CCF programs. The list of continuation awards is available at
"Faith-based and community groups know how to help people in their
neighborhoods," said HHS' Director of the Office of Community Services,
Josephine B. Robinson. "The grants we are awarding from the Compassion Capital
Fund continue President Bush's goal to improve the capacity of organizations
to deliver social services around the nation."
The Compassion Capital Fund, a key component of President Bush's faith-
based and community initiative, is designed to help community organizations
partner with the federal government to strengthen social services. Since the
program began in 2002, $148 million has been given to more than 3,000
organizations including sub-awards from intermediary grantees.
The list of today's CCF demonstration and targeted capacity building
awards is available at
STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
11/4/2004 9:10 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff
People wait in line for services from ARCH. The Austin City Council is considering proposals to ban panhandling in downtown Austin.
The council is also mulling over tightening "public order laws" such as sleeping on sidewalks and roadside soliciting.
The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, or ARCH, recently opened downtown. Critics say the ARCH is the reason for the surge of that type of activity.
On Thursday, members of House the Homeless put on a silent protest during the council meeting. They say fines associated with the proposed rule changes would be impossible for the homeless to pay.
"What their approach is, is to address a symptom and not address the core issue. And the core issue facing homeless people are affordable housing, health care and livable incomes, which specifically in terms of our people, equates to a living wage, paying a fair wage for a fair day's work," Richard Troxell of House the Homeless said.
Some say it's not the legitimate homeless causing the problems.
"The panhandlers generally come to downtown as predators to prey on tourists and residents and people who are there, but also the homeless who are legitimately there for services. The panhandlers generally are hot homeless and the homeless are generally not panhandlers. And that's something that's very difficult for people to understand," city activist and downtown resident Sid Galindo said.
Downtown business owners said they support they changes but did not want to offend the homeless population.
The city council will work for several more months on the issue.
Housing for Homeless advocates were not allowed to speak at the meeting because it was a city staff presentation to get recommendations and direction from the council on how to proceed.
Men, then children make up the largest group in the population, according to the count.
BY CAROL SCOTT
Published August 20, 2005
WILLIAMSBURG -- From January to May, 85 homeless people asked Williamsburg-area organizations for help finding a place to stay, according to a census released Friday by the Salvation Army's Williamsburg chapter.
That doesn't include women and children who may have stayed at the battered women's shelter Avalon, said Salvation Army Capt. Greg Shannon. He is working with United Way of Greater Williamsburg and Avalon to compare records of people requesting help, which may raise the total number of homeless people, he said.
Of the 85 people already counted, more than a third - 34 - were single males. Children age 18 and younger accounted for the next-highest number, 32. There were 19 adults with children and 17 single women who requested help, according to the census.
Other findings include:
Some people asked for help more than once; the 85 people made 108 requests.
The cause of homelessness for 50 of the 85 people was listed as "unknown" or "other;" However, 36 people said they were homeless due to financial problems, and only two people said they were homeless because they had lost their jobs.
Thirty-five people had last lived in James City County; 22 people had last lived in Williamsburg; four gave York County as the most recent area of residence; 26 were unknown.
Around half of the people were unemployed; 19 had jobs; The rest were children or their employment status was not known.
Twenty-four were age 19-30, which was the largest age group besides children.
53 were black; 37 were white; two were Hispanic; 16 were listed as having an unknown ethnicity.
Twenty-eight spent the previous night in a motel or hotel; 21 had stayed with family the previous night; eight had slept in the woods or on the street.
The census included numbers from the Salvation Army, United Way and other local agencies and organizations. Shannon said information is still being collected on homeless people in the area, and he saw a jump in the numbers of homeless people in June and July.
After finishing the count, the next step is to work with Williamsburg and James City County governments to make available more opportunities for permanent low-income housing, Shannon said.
When people come to the Salvation Army for help, the organization pays for them to stay at a hotel until they can find permanent housing. But some people who work in the area and don't have savings end up staying at the hotels for weeks - at a cost of $160-$240 a week, Shannon said.
"They spend all of their income on their hotel," he said. "And then they come back to us for services ... food, school clothes, supplies, medical issues. We've got to get them out of that scenario."
And with rent and housing prices climbing in the area, "We don't know what else to do to help them out. There's nothing else left that's available in our area that they can afford," Shannon said.
The median price of a home sold in the Williamsburg area in June was $319,721, according to the Virginia Association of Realtors.
Jodi Mincemoyer of the Williamsburg-area branch of the grass-roots Virginia Organizing Project says her group is starting a campaign for affordable housing in the area next month and will ask James City and Williamsburg to pay for a study of the area's need for affordable housing.
"This retreat does not mean the end of our battle, but it is the beginning," said a spokesman for the Hamas military wing, who identified himself only by his nom-de-geurre, Abu Obaideh.
"Our battle with the (Israeli) enemy is long and will continue," Abu Obaideh said, addressing a group of some 40 armed and masked Hamas members who had gathered in a square outside the Palestinian Parliament building.
Abbas: Gaza pullout is the result of Palestinian 'sacrifices'
On Friday, Abbas said Friday that Israel's pullout from Gaza resulted from Palestinian "sacrifices" and "patience," and he promised his people jobs, freedom of movement and new homes after the withdrawal was complete.
Speaking to a cheering crowd at the closed Gaza International Airport, Abbas said Palestinians were experiencing "historic days of joy" as they watched Israeli settlers being taken out of Gaza. His speech was frequently interrupted by cheers from about 700 supporters waving Palestinian flags and flying kites in their red, green, white and black colors.
Some carried pictures of relatives killed in the fighting with Israel.
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem denied Abbas' remarks and claimed that Palestinian terror had nothing to do with Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Abbas and the militant Hamas movement have been engaged in fierce competition over who will be credited with the Gaza pullout. Hamas said its attacks have driven Israel out, while Abbas hopes to gain political capital from eventual improvement in the daily life of Gazans as a result of the withdrawal.
Abbas was surrounded by security guards and the enthusiastic crowd surged toward the stage repeatedly.
On Friday, Abbas promised that the airport, whose runways were destroyed by Israel at the outbreak of fighting in 2000, would soon resume operation -- even though he has not yet reached agreement with Israel on security procedures and the airport cannot reopen without Israel's blessing.
Abbas also said the Palestinian Authority would rebuild all the homes demolished by Israel during the past five years of conflict. The airport is near the Rafah refugee camp, where thousands have been made homeless by such demolitions.
The Palestinian leader also promised that 5 percent of government jobs would go to the disabled, many of whom were wounded in fighting with Israel.
He also vowed to give the younger generation a say, addressing a widespread complaint that veterans in his ruling Fatah movement are refusing to step aside.
"The young people are the future of his country, and this is the time for young people to play a role in life and in the Palestinian Authority," he said.
*1976 FAIR USE ACT*
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas attending Friday prayers outside his office in Gaza City. (AP)
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called Saturday for Israel to halt all construction in West Bank settlements. He also urged Israel to remove all military forces from areas seized since the outbreak of violence in 2000.
Earlier Saturday, Abbas signed a decree that would give his government control over all lands and assets left behind by Israeli troops and settlers.
The decree said no one can make personal use the real estate until ownership has been sorted out. Earlier in the day, Abbas announced that Palestinian parliamentary elections will be held on January 25th.
Also on Saturday, dozens of masked Hamas gunmen took over Gaza City's central square in a challenge to Abbas and announced they would not stop attacks on Israel, despite Israel's ongoing withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
The elections were to have been held in July, but were postponed indefinitely because of Israel's Gaza pullout. In setting a firm date, Abbas was making a conciliatory gesture to his political rival, Hamas, which is expected to make a strong showing in the vote.
"The parliamentary election will take place in all of the homeland districts on Wednesday, January 25, 2006," Abbas told a "model parliament" of high school students in Gaza City on Saturday.
The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, had said last week that elections would be held January 21, based on a decision by the PLO Executive Committee. At the time, Erekat said the announcement was to be made a few days later in a presidential decree.
However, officials went back to the calendar and changed the date, in part because of a major Muslim holiday and the pilgrimage to Mecca during that period, Erekat said.
On Saturday, several dozen Hamas gunmen took over Gaza's central square and closed all entrances to it. Police cruisers approached, but did not interfere as the gunmen announced they would not lay down their arms.
"This retreat does not mean the end of our battle, but it is the beginning," said a spokesman for the Hamas military wing, who identi
A dozen programs nationwide received federal grants this week to help the chronically homeless. Four of them are in Northern California.
Contra Costa County
Program: Project Coming Home
Grant: nearly $1 million
Program: Direct Access to Housing
Program: Off the Streets
Program: Meaningful Answers to Chronic Homelessness
E-mail Jim Zamora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 local organizations receive U.S. grants to help homeless
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Ron Sutherland was sleeping under a bridge in San Pablo last year when he met an outreach worker who offered him a new start.
"I'd been homeless for about eight years and drinking pretty steady the whole time -- and all the sudden I got a chance to change," the 52-year-old said. "They helped me get sober. They helped me get treatment, and then they got me an apartment."
Sutherland is among the 51 people in Project Coming Home of Contra Costa County, a program designed to get homeless alcoholics off the streets by offering a permanent home and services to foster independence. The goal is to take the "hardest to house, hardest to serve" among the homeless and put them in a situation where they will succeed, said Contra Costa Housing Services Homeless Coordinator Cynthia Belon.
The program got a big boost Thursday when the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded it a grant of nearly $1 million to serve 40 more people. Project Coming Home, which serves clients from across the county, is one of 12 programs nationwide to receive the grant.
"One by one, we will offer a new life for those whose only life has been a life on the streets," Belon said.
Participants must have been homeless for at least a year and suffering from alcoholism at least that long. There are an estimated 4,600 homeless people in Contra Costa County, and about 80 percent are believed to be alcoholics.
The reason for the HUD program is the belief such grants save money in the long run because of the costs that long-term homeless alcoholics incur as they land in jail and hospital emergency rooms.
"This investment will help prevent chronically homeless individuals from experiencing the continuous cycle of incarceration, emergency room visits and short-term shelter habitation," said Richard Rainey, HUD's regional director for Northern California.
Other grants awarded in Northern California include San Francisco's Direct Access to Housing program, which will receive $988,458; Off the Streets in San Jose, which will receive $998,831; and $706,773 given to Meaningful Answers to Chronic Homelessness in Santa Cruz.
Belon and the others noted that Project Coming Home represents an evolution in homeless care. In the 1980s and 1990s, most agencies focused on providing food and emergency shelter, not long-term counseling and housing.
"We were managing homelessness, but we weren't ending it," Belon said.
Belon said the change, similar to those in San Francisco and elsewhere, came from "listening to our clients."
"The idea is for all of us experts to put aside what we think is best and just listen to the clients we serve," Belon said. "They always tell us their No. 1 concern is permanent housing. Once we provide that, we can work on their other problems."
Sutherland had been trying for years to sober up, but it didn't come until he entered this program. The defining moment came when he graduated from a rehabilitation program and got the keys to an apartment in Martinez.
"I walked around the apartment and held the keys, and I just couldn't believe this was for me," he said. "I learned the meaning of joy again. I'm still on a honeymoon with my apartment even though it's been a year."
Stefanie Frith The Desert Sun August 20, 2005
They are married, hold jobs, are often tourists seeking treasures or attorneys driving Mercedes who just happen to want a good deal.
But Palm Springs officials weren't so sure.
Despite research that shows people who shop at Goodwill stores aren't necessarily on the street, allowing a thrift store next to fine-foods market Jensen's and across the street from a park that attracts the homeless wasn't the fit they were looking for, they said.
After several months of discussions between Goodwill and city planners, last week the Palm Springs Planning Commission denied a permit that would have allowed for an 11,000-square-foot Goodwill retail store at 150 S. Sunrise Way.
"There are homeless around there, and there was some discussion that there could be a new shopping center across the street, and they (the city) didn't want to lower any standards in that particular area," said Norm Canchola, interim director of planning services.
He said commission members also didn't see enough space behind the store where such donated items as couches and refrigerators could be dropped off.
Technically, a thrift store or charitable business is not allowed in that zone to begin with, said Canchola. When Goodwill first proposed the idea, it was approved by the Planning Commission and sent to the City Council.
Council members then found the location's zoning codes do not allow for a store like Goodwill, and the proposal was sent back to the Planning Commission, where it was denied Aug. 10.
But because anyone can apply to put a business or residential dwelling anywhere in the city, Goodwill took its chances that the city would approve the location anyway, Canchola said.
Goodwill Industries of Southern California president and chief executive officer Doug Barr said Friday that the city does not understand the nonprofit's clientele and operated under the pretense that Goodwill stores attract the homeless.
More than 50 percent of customers have attended or graduated from college, 51 percent are employed full time and 74 percent are Caucasian, he said.
"We chose Palm Springs because it is an area that matched our demographics," said Barr, adding Palm Springs used to have a Goodwill store on Palm Canyon Drive. That location is in a zone that allows thrift stores.
People still think Goodwill stores are cramped, dirty and smell of old, musty clothing, said Barr.
"Stores are higher-end now," he said. "They look and feel more like a Ross or Marshall's."
For example, at the Goodwill store in Cathedral City, shoppers find organized racks full of suits, dresses, hats and household items, and customers often are in business attire.
"I was heartbroken when I found out about Palm Springs (not getting a Goodwill)," said store manager Melinda Reub. "Customers had kept asking me when it was going to open."
Reub said she has never had a problem with homeless people in her store, and many customers are tourists looking for unique items.
"People think we have a soup kitchen in the back," said Reub. "But even if we get a homeless person in here asking for a job or shoes, we turn them away."
In June, the city received a letter from Jensen's stating its opposition to having Goodwill as a neighbor. David Yerks, owner of David Andrew Salon, said he was glad Goodwill wouldn't be making an appearance.
"It's not that I am against Goodwill," said Yerks. "Across the street would have been fine."
*1976 FAIR USE ACT*
SUTTUR SEER LAUNCHES MYSORE COLONY CONSTRUCTION IN TN VILLAGE
Mysore, Aug. 20 (DN)- The philanthropic initiative taken up by the Mysore Citizens Forum (MCF) to construct houses for the people who were rendered homeless after the deadly tsunami waves lashed Mudaliarkuppam village in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu in December last, got underway yesterday when Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji performed Bhoomi puja for 97 houses to be built in the proposed Mysore Model Colony in the village.
In a simple function held at the village yesterday between 9 am and 10.30 am, Suttur Seer placed bricks on a sand pit and poured water on them as is the tradition there, thus giving a go-ahead for the ambitious rehabilitation project. The proposed 97 houses to be built within six months would cost Rs. 1.70 lakh each.
P.V. Giri, proprietor of Siddharta Group of Hotels, Rajendra, proprietor of Viceroy Hotel, R. Vasudevamurthy, President, Mahajana Education Society, five Rotarians from Moolki in Dakshina Kannada and five members from Bharath-Ikon were present on the occasion. About 300 villagers were also present.
Later, Suttur Seer participated in the Annual Day celebrations of the village school and distributed prizes to the children. Speaking on the occasion, he promised that the children of tsunami victims would be provided free education till PU-level in JSS Institutions.
'Once the Government earmarks the sites and provides water, power, roads and other infrastructure, the construction of houses would begin and the Forum has appointed a co-ordinator for the purpose,' Giri said.
Giri told Star of Mysore over phone yesterday that one Nataraj, a jeweller from Pondicherry, has promised to provide free water and electricity during construction and would also donate a fan to each house.
Kadiravan, who has been appointed as the Special Deputy Collector to oversee tsunami rehabilitation works, was also present on the occasion.
Giri claimed that the boats donated by the MCF had brought a considerable change in the lives of the fishermen in the village.
"The change is evident all over. The villagers are happy. They wear good clothes," he added.
The number of homeless students reflect the area's low-cost housing shortage, the local economy and the presence of several shelters in the city, officials said.
The population includes individuals from infants to age 22, and not all of them are attending a city school, Ms. Larkin said.
"We're trying to provide them with the same opportunities as a child who does have a home," said Karen Regan, supervisor of school nurses. "Until the economic picture changes, we're going to have homeless issues, and we need to deal with them."
One challenge educating homeless children poses is their transient situation.
"They're going from school to school, town to town, and it's difficult to develop relationships and work with parents and the students," Mrs. Regan said.
The School Department provides transportation and makes sure homeless students get to participate in all programs, including after-school activities and tutoring, she said.
Transportation includes sending students out of town to avoid disrupting their education, as in the case of Ms. Hauter's children.
The children agree it was easier to finish the year in Rockland.
"You have more time to get used to the kids," Lori said.
When you show up in the middle of the year, Scott said, "you're the newbie."
The long ride to Rockland was not easy, though.
"We had to get up real early -- at five," Scott said.
Since she left her husband, Ms. Hauter said she has been bouncing from one place to another.
"I've been fighting for about seven years with homelessness."
The family does not fit the stereotype of homelessness.
Currently unemployed, Ms. Hauter said she is looking forward to working again. She used to run her own housekeeping business.
Her children have their own interests. Lori enjoys painting and drawing horses and other animals, and she likes to read, especially books about horses. Scott enjoys cartooning, playing the keyboard and sports.
Ms. Hauter and her children may soon have an apartment in the city to call home, thanks to Catholic Social Services.
"We're just looking to get somewhere and stay there," Ms. Hauter said. "I want a permanent and stable home. We have been waiting a long time."
She said she wants her children to be happy, to which Lori added: "That's only if we have a cat."
Students have the option to attend their "school of origin" under the law, and the two school districts involved split the cost. The school of origin could be in the town a family had their last permanent address, rather than the location of the previous shelter.
"The kids are going through enough without having their education disrupted, plus the friendships that are so key," said Dr. Lawrence Finnerty, assistant superintendent for special services in the city's schools.
The city receives grant money, but it does not cover all of the $150,000 in annual transportation costs, Dr. Finnerty said.
School counselors monitor homeless students to make sure they are not running into social or academic problems, he said.
The city's schools also distribute school supplies and clothing donated by charities. When school bus drivers see children going without jackets and hats in the winter, they contact Mrs. Regan so she can supply the clothing, she said.
Sometimes a student can become homeless overnight, for example, if a family is evicted or burned out of its house.
"Our main goal is to make sure those kid
SouthCoast schools reach out to homeless children
By BRIAN BOYD, Standard-Times staff writer
Lori draws in a sketchpad while her mother, Anne Hauter, looks on.
hen Anne Hauter moved to a New Bedford family shelter in May, she did not want to pull her children out of Rockland's schools so close to the end of the school year.
Ms. Hauter, who left an abusive husband and has been without a stable address, said she did not want her children, Lori, 13, and Scott, 12, to start at a New Bedford school with only weeks left in the academic year.
"It was a major thing to me," said Ms. Hauter, 38, who is living with her children at Harbour House on North Front Street. "I wanted them to at least finish school where they were at."
However, thanks to services available to homeless children, Lori and Scott spent two hours and 20 minutes riding to and from Rockland each day in a van, the cost split between Rockland and New Bedford.
Starting in the fall, they will be attending the city's Normandin Middle School.
Approximately 600 homeless children and teenagers were served by the city's public schools during the past school year, said Heather Larkin, director of guidance, health and pupil personal services.
The statistic is still rough, but shows an increase over the 542 homeless students served during the 2003-04 year. Changes in eligibility partially explain the increase, school officials said.
A Long Island community has become a flash point in the national debate over illegal immigration, with Hispanics beaten, harassed and evicted in recent weeks.
For more than a decade, immigrants from Mexico or Central America have been drawn to Farmingville, in Suffolk County, by the prospect of jobs. Many stand on street corners in the area, waiting for contractors, landscapers and others to offer them a day's work at about $10 an hour. Then, at night, they go back to their illegally overcrowded single-family homes.
The immigrants, many of whom are believed to have crossed the border illegally, have been a source of tension among longtime residents since at least the late 1990s, but things have gotten worse this summer - so bad that the head of the Mexican Consulate in New York City said Farmingville was "clearly a red zone after the Arizona border" in the abuse of immigrants.
In late June, two men were charged with a hate crime for allegedly berating a Mexican woman and her husband as the couple backed their van out of a parking lot. Within weeks, two more suspects were arrested and accused of yelling racial epithets and throwing a beer bottle at a Hispanic day laborer.
The same day, four people demonstrating at a 7-Eleven in support of day laborers were arrested when they surrounded an anti-immigration protester's car and refused to let him out.
Police also are investigating an attack in nearby Patchogue on a 61-year-old Ecuadoran man. He was beaten by three men who supposedly asked if he had a green card.
The tension was ratcheted up in mid-June, when officials in the town of Brookhaven, which includes Farmingville, and Suffolk County police began evicting men from overcrowded houses, citing health and safety violations.
So far, at least six houses have been shut by authorities - leaving more than 100 men homeless, advocates said.
One immigrant advocate called it "ethnic cleansing."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy responded, "Many local officials have punted, saying this is a federal issue and we can't do anything about it. Well, there are some things you can do: Crack down on those contractors, crack down on illegal housing and create a better relationship with immigration officials."
Arturo Sarukhan, head of the Mexican Consulate in Manhattan, agreed that Mexico needs to solve its economic problems so that its citizens do not leave for a better life in America. But he said officials on Long Island must realize that the day laborers are here to stay.
"At the end of the day, they may or may not like it, but it is the reality," he said.
Originally published on August 7, 2005
*1976 FAIR USE ACT*
Fri Aug 5,10:40 AM ET
KARACHI (Reuters) - After years of lying in cold storage, the mummified body of a young woman once thought to be an ancient Persian princess will be buried later this month by a Pakistani welfare group.
Found in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta in 2000, the body was at the center of an archaeological and diplomatic dispute for two years before scientists at Pakistan's Atomic Research Council pronounced it just 20 years old.
swiftly withdrew claims on the mummy that some people believed had been stolen by grave robbers from burial grounds of the Sasani dynasty, which ruled ancient Persia between the Fourth and Eighth Centuries.
Touted as a major archaeological find until it was debunked, Pakistan's provincial governments of Baluchistan and Sindh had also squabbled over whose museum had first rights.
But when nobody wanted it, the Karachi-based Edhi Foundation, Pakistan's largest private social welfare organization took in the homeless corpse.
"It has been lying in our cold storage mortuary for the last three years," Rizwan Edhi, the trust's administrator, said Friday, adding that preserving the body had cost $8,000. "We will bury it later this month as no one is willing to claim it now."
*1976 FAIR USE ACT*