Legislation To Make Attacks Against the Homeless a Hate Crime

August 13th, 2009

I just read on wnyc.org that there is a bill being sponsored by Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman to make attacks on the homeless a hate crime. And I say it’s about time.

The push for this legislation is coming after a recent study done by the Coalition for the Homeless which states there’s been an increase in violence against the homeless, including a staggering killing of 244 homeless individuals over the last decade.

It has been said that this legislation may deter those who target the homeless. It has been found that the majority of these crimes are committed by young males with no previous criminal record. By instituting heavy consequences to these crimes, then the young male offenders might not commit them in the first place.

Maryland is the first state to have expanded its hate crime law, adding harsher penalties for attacking homeless people.

The homeless are targeted for attacks because they are vulnerable and therefore should be considered hate crimes. Hopefully this bill will pass soon and we’ll see the effects of it with a lower crime rate against the homeless.

The story of my success part 3…

July 29th, 2009

Part three! My next encounter with Praxis Housing was with a Mr. Charles Lewis Vocational Director of the Workforce Development Program.

 

Mr. Lewis asked me various questions about my work history, goals, strengths, likes and dislikes.  He also wanted to know about my future plans and goals, such as where I saw myself in the next six months.  And where did I want to be next year at this time.

 

Once again, Praxis true concern and dedication for people really came to the fore front.  Mr. Lewis and I formed a positive and enlightening relationship, that today I am very proud of and extremely thankful for. I remember him telling me that this was the fastest he had ever seen anyone fill out an application which made me feel very good.

 

Initially, I was supposed to work at the Praxis Cafe but due to me needing a hip replacement my Doctor would not give me clearance to stand on my feet for that long. So Mr. Lewis and I started to brain storm and collectively came up with a great idea. What we came up with was me becoming a Peer Educator and that decision became a perfect fit and has put me on track to truly find my purpose in life.

 

Now at this time, I also had the great pleasure of meeting the site director of the Riverside Hotel, Ms. Mary Dawson. Wow what a lady!!!

 

 

Stay Up For Part Four !

 

Ralph Green is a Praxis Peer Educator and regular blog contributor. 

The Story of My Success – Part 2

June 24th, 2009

Now we shall enter into part two of my success story at Praxis. My next encounter was with Mr. Allan Padilla (Caseworker). Similar to Ms. Daniels, Mr. Padilla was very patient and passionate about helping clients seek knowledge as well as gain success here in Praxis. Allan’s discussion groups provided a wealth of knowledge for all that attended on various topics such as life skills, seeking and maintaining recovery, managing money and treatment adherence.

 

The thing that I like most about Mr. Padilla is the fact that he participates in our groups and lets the clients run them. He always says that he learns just as much from us that we learn from him. It was in one of his dynamic sessions that I heard about the Workforce Development Program and it was also in his group where I first heard the name Mr. Charles Lewis. Little did I know about the tremendous impact that Mr. Lewis would have on my life.

 

Part III coming next, the rebirth.

This post is part 2 in a series written by Ralph Green, Praxis Peer Educator.  Make sure to check the blog for Part 3.

Upcoming Free Events at the Brooklyn Public Library

June 22nd, 2009

Our guest blogger Ian, has passed along some information regarding free events happening where he volunteers at the Brooklyn Public Library.

On Tuesday, 30 June 2009 from 06:00pm – 08:45pm, free HIV testing will be conducted in the Dweck Center Conference Rooms of the Central Brooklyn Public Library. 

The free testing is in honor of National HIV Testing Day.  The Brooklyn Central Library is located at 10 Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn (www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org).  Because it is so important to get tested, we really want to encourage everyone to get the word out about National HIV Testing Day.

Also coming up at the Brooklyn Central Library is the Brooklyn HIV Care Network General Meeting.  This is taking place on Thursday, 23 July from 11:00am – 02:00pm, with free lunch from 11:00am – 12:00pm.  To confirm your attendance, please contact Dana Burnett, Program Assistant at dana.burnett@nychhc.org.

And many thanks to Ian for passing along this great information!

Support Your Local Library

June 16th, 2009

For the underprivileged communities of New York City, including that which Praxis targets, the Public Library System is an invaluable resource.

 

Through the Library System, individuals can access a wide variety of educational and vocational services as well as the library’s vast (and free) collection of books and multimedia. 

 

Due to the current economic crisis, the library system is facing massive budget cuts by the State which will impact the community for the worse, especially in terms of library services.  Jobs and services are in jeopardy. 

 

Please visit your local library’s website (www.nypl.orgwww.brooklynpubliclibrary.org www.queenslibrary.org ) and follow the link which directs you on how to contact your local officials to protest these cuts. 

 

Guest blogger and Praxis resident Ian recently received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Brooklyn Public Library. 

 

 

Foreigners with HIV still must meet requirements before entering U.S.

June 9th, 2009

In July 2008, the former President Bush signed into law the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which contained an amendment that would authorize the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to lift the travel ban.  However, after nearly a year, the DHHS has not changed its regulations. 

According to the National AIDS Housing Coalition, the Department of Health and Human Services has submitted a proposed rule to remove the travel ban from its regulations but it’s still subject to a comment period before the regulation can be changed. 

These restrictions began in 1987 back when HIV was classified as a contagious disease.  Before last summer, the United States was one of a dozen countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, with an outright ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants.Many hoped that with the inauguration of President Obama, the restrictions would be lifted quickly.  Currently the proposed rule changes are with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after being reviewed by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Once the OMB has made its final review, it will be available from 30 to 90 days for public comment.   After the public comment period ends, the OMD will make its final changes to regulations.

 

However, because this process seems to be stalled, it’s up to us to continue to make the public aware of this issue.  It’s 2009 and we have a new president in office who gave us hope for change.   Therefore, we shouldn’t have to wait any longer for this archaic restriction to be lifted. 

This is my story about success- Part 1

June 2nd, 2009

 

I came to the Praxis Riverside Hotel on July 17, 2008. It was hot and so was I, but I have always been a person who is looks at the upside of things and life is most definitely one of them. My intake was truly one of hope and appreciation. That’s because Ms. Daniels (Caseworker) was showing a lot of concern, care and patience during this process. Ms. Daniels also asked me pertinent questions regarding my wellbeing such as how was my health? How was I doing regarding my finances? Was I keeping up with my appointments and seeing the Doctor regularly? Last but not least, was I complying with my medication regimen? The dedication and devotion that Ms. Daniels displayed during that intake process will never be forgotten and meant the world to me. It was at that point, that I knew that I was in the right place and this indeed was truly a new beginning. Stay tuned for Part 2, the sequel.

 

This post was written by Ralph Green, Praxis Peer Educator

Make sure to check the blog for Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Day Conference- Safe Injection Facilities

May 7th, 2009

The Harm Reduction Coalition is offering a free conference being held on Friday, 22 May from 9am—5pm at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  The focus of the conference is the many facets of studying the implementation of Safe Injection Facilities in New York.  Legal and consumer issues will also be addressed.  To reserve your spot at this important conference, email:

safeinjectionfacility@gmail.com

Criminalizing Homelessness in Los Angeles

April 21st, 2009

This week, NPR has taken on the issue of homelessness in a 3-part series airing on Morning Edition.  The focus of the stories is Skid Row in LA, but because homelessness is universal, it is definitely worth listening to.

 

Los Angeles adopted the ‘Safer City Initiative’ nearly 2 ½ years ago.  The goal of this program was initially intended to reduce crime and house the homeless.  However, with the addition of nearly 50 extra policemen in a 1-square mile area, many believe that this program has criminalized homelessness.  Especially since they majority of the homeless in this area have not been housed.

 

When the initiative was instated, police began handing out tickets on Skid Row for supposed offenses such as sitting on the sidewalk, jaywalking, littering and drinking in public.  A study conducted by UCLA found that police officers wrote roughly 1,000 tickets per month during the first year of this program.

 

By targeting people who live on the street, it often compounds the problems faced by homeless individuals.  If a guilty plea is entered, this comes with a fine.  If the defendant does not show up for court, then a bench warrant will be issued, which means the next time that person gets arrested for something as minor as sitting down on the street, they could be carted off to jail.

 

Los Angeles city officials note that crime is down in the Skid Row area. The city has funded 796 units of permanent supportive housing, most are not complete and many have not even been started. It has been noted that there are currently less homeless people residing in the area.  However, most likely they’ve simply moved to another part of the city where they won’t have to fear being arrested for resting.  

 

To learn more about this series, or to hear it online, visit www.npr.org.

Fire consumes homeless shelter in Poland

April 14th, 2009

On Monday, Poland’s largest fire since 1980 took the lives of 21 people at a homeless shelter located in northwest Poland.  The shelter housed families, and out of the estimated 77 people registered there, 20 others were injured in escaping the blaze.

 

Poland has declared a national 3 days of mourning.  Residents of the town Kamien Pomorski, 37 miles east of the border with Germany, have gathered where the building once stood with an outpouring of donations for the survivors.

 

The government offered $300,000 in immediate aid to survivors of the fire, and Prime Minister Donald Tusk said it would allocate money to build a new shelter at a different site. 

 

This is a tragedy and our thoughts are with them.