News in Brief (10.27.2010)

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Ohio Teen Wants to Help Homeless Veterans  

Davante’ Goins, a sophomore in Columbus, Ohio is on a mission. The 15-year-old wants abandoned housing in the area to be refurbished for homeless veterans, local NBC 4 reports.  

“These houses could probably be fixed up,” Goins told NBC 4. “Refurbished into livable conditions for homeless veterans to stay in. No veteran that went to war and fought for our country should be homeless in the United States.”  

So far, Goins has traveled Columbus looking for housing that he thinks could be easily refurbished. Goins has met with city council officials to see whether his plan can come to fruition and is waiting on final decision.  

Massachusetts Continues Plan to End Homelessness by 2013  

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is employing a strategy to help end homelessness in the state, as part of the “Housing First,” the Boston Globe reports.  

The plan uses the approach of helping perennially homeless individuals find stable housing and get support services with the intention of getting them a job to keep them out of shelters.  

“Not only are people living healthier lives in housing, but it is saving the system money,” said Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, who chairs the Governor’s Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness.  

Various organizations taking part in the initiative have helped place 376 people in housing and have helped prevent almost 11,000 families from becoming homeless, according to the Patrick administration. The state announced last month it is giving an additional $1.56 million to the 10 networks involved.  

As of the end of September, there were 919 families in these facilities, which officials say is due to the recession.  

Wichita Group Sees Steep Decline in Donations  

Operators of a Wichita, Kan., homeless shelter say that with winter approaching, donations have taken a sharp turn south, the Associated Press reports.  

The shelter rotates among area churches between Nov. 1 and March 31. Janis Cox, co-chair of the nonprofit group that operates the shelter, says it has only about a third of the money needed to provide the service. Another $45,000 is needed.  

The shelter served 475 people last winter, 226 of whom had never been homeless in the past. The group does not have alternative plans if the money is not raised.  

Inaugural ‘World Homeless Day’ Spotlights Crisis  

Last Sunday marked the first annual World Homeless Day, and individual communities around the world gathered to help local homeless populations, the Huffington Post reports.  

According to the group’s website, the goal is to highlight homelessness as a global issue, including those displaced by natural disasters, such as those in Haiti or Pakistan.  

From the group’s site:  

“The purpose of World Homeless Day is to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness, while taking advantage of the stage an ‘international day’ provides.”  

Welsh Charities Demand More Thought Over Housing Benefit Cuts  

Six Welsh charities condemned the government’s housing benefit cuts, which the groups called “devastating” and said would directly contribute to the poverty and homeless rates across Wales, WalesOnline reports.  

In a joint statement, the charities Shelter Cymru, Mind Cymru, Citizens Advice Cymru, Gofal, Community Housing Cymru and Cymorth called on the government to abandon its plans.  

“We believe that the UK government’s budget changes to housing benefit and local housing allowance will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable people in our society and contribute to homelessness, housing need and poverty,” the statement said.  

The proposals have included cutting housing allowances to cover only the lowest 30 percent of rents in areas, rather than the average.  

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said to WalesOnline: “Our reforms mean that, if you need a roof over your head, we will provide it, but they also put people on benefits on an equal footing with working families, rather than in accommodation they could never afford to maintain upon entering into work.”  

Compiled by Dianna Heitz, from previously published reports. 

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