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Archive for the ‘Pat LaMarche’

Community Support

January 31, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Family, Pat LaMarche

‘Housing First’ Doesn’t Work Alone

by Pat LaMarche

Homeless advocates from 36 states are gathering this week at the Beyond Housing Conference sponsored by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH). Institute President and CEO, Ralph DaCosta Nunez, opened the conference by explaining the agency’s intent when they named the event. Nunez said, “There is a lot of misunderstanding about this issue,” that goes beyond homelessness.

Nunez should know. He served as Mayor Koch’s Deputy Director when New York City first started tackling the issue of homeless families. He explained that the city’s initial approach was a rush to find housing. Families burned out by their homes, or those who lost housing after paying a big medical bill were relatively easy to help. And the numbers were workable. Thirty years ago there were 800 families a year. Nunez said they worked with their re-housing model, but when that number jumped to 5000, they realized the problem wasn’t going to “go away.” It wasn’t even going to “level off.” Additionally, and because of a change in direction the federal government took in the 1980s, the situation of homelessness went from a problem to a catastrophe. Today, there are 12,155 homeless families in New York City. Nunez told the group, “Tonight, 55,000 men, women and children will sleep in shelters all across the city.” (more…)

A Christmas Story

December 20, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Family, Pat LaMarche

What Would Mary Do?

by Pat LaMarche

The Black Friday numbers came in a week or so ago. Shopping’s down, spending’s down and the per capita expenditures are down. Retail spin-doctors cite a whole host of reasons the numbers might be headed south. Nestled in among the, “Gee Virginia, don’t depend on Santa Claus,” rallying cries is the supposition that it might just be because — according to the National Retail Federation — “consumers report they expect to have tight budgets this year, despite a recovering economy.”

Tight budgets? I’ll say.

An April 2013, My Budget 360 report entitled, “US Household income continues to fall in midst of recovery,” states that over the past five years or “since the recession started, household income is down 7.3 percent.” And the cost of living over the same period went up about the same. Heck, according to Bloomberg News, the cost of living went up 2.3 percentin 2012 alone. So as resources get ever dearer and purchases outstrip consumers’ grasp, it’s likely more and more people in the United States will find it difficult to play Santa at all this year. (more…)

Herculean Efforts

November 26, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Family, Pat LaMarche

Honoring Commitments to the Homeless, and Ourselves

by Pat LaMarche

I’m not homeless, but every now and then I take to the streets in some far-flung part of the United States and live in a fashion similar to the one lived by many people experiencing homelessness.

Like many folks without a home, sometimes I travel alone, but I’m often with others.  Two weeks ago I shoved off on my latest trip with my dear friend, Diane Nilan.   Nilan’s an advocate for homeless kids and the executive director of Hear Us, a charity she started 9 years ago hoping to shed light on our nation’s greatest shame.

I love Diane Nilan.  She’s selfless and that’s an amazing thing to watch.  She’s held body and soul together — living on the road in an RV all these years — for the same reasons the flight attendant tells you to put the oxygen mask over your own face before you attempt to help somebody else. (more…)

Bon Appétit

October 09, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Pat LaMarche, Politics

Food Service Workers Without Healthcare

by Pat LaMarche

This week — in the midst of the government shut down over the Affordable Care Act — the New York Times ran a number of graphs and tables that explained where the poor and those lacking health insurance live and work.

Now if you don’t like math or if you intend to eat out tonight, you might not want to read any further.

See, it turns out that cooks and waiters/waitresses make up 33% of the uninsured. That doesn’t mean that 33% of them are uninsured, it means that they make up 33% of the 48 million uninsured in the nation. Cashiers are another 19%. That means that more than half the uninsured in our nation are those people that probably just handled your food.

So now let’s draw on that high school math you learned. Remember studying exponential growth and graphing a resulting number based on what we multiplied and added to a beginning number? We used the X and Y axes to represent these points. If your head’s starting to hurt, stop thinking of numbers and picture a beautiful sky with a sliver of a moon. That moon shape is kind of what this graph will look like. It’s starts out slowly moving to the right and then sweeps upward rather quickly. (more…)

An Art Form

September 30, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Pat LaMarche

Homeless Advocates Gather to Promote Cooperation

by Pat LaMarche

The Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness was held last week in Austin. More than 400 homeless advocates — from shelter directors to student liaisons — came together to update their certifications, learn from each other, and recharge their spent fuel cells.

AFTS11 7606 Bennie Mjumbe SorrellsKen Martin, executive director of the Texas Homeless Network, was encouraged by their near record turnout in the face of budget cuts and an increasing demand on overtaxed service providers. The economic downturn over the last half-decade — since the stock market crashed in October of 2008 — has caused an uptick in homelessness all across the nation. Because agencies have to do more with less, Martin and his organization provided free booth space to not for profit agencies hoping to interface with the advocates who attended the conference.

Art from the Streets is one of those not-for-profit groups.

Founded by a couple of artists in the 1990s, Art from the Streets is preparing to host its 21st art show and sale this November. Homeless artists from Austin have been creating and selling their work with encouragement and materials provided by Art from the Streets. Only recently an official 501(c)3 charity, all paper, canvas, and pigment mediums came from donors who hadn’t even gotten a tax break for their contributions. (more…)

My Fellow Americans

September 12, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Pat LaMarche, Politics

Buy President Obama a History Book

by Pat LaMarche

“My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements — it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them.”

Of the thousands of words the president said in Tuesday night’s televised speech to the nation on Syria, these 75 words are the most important. No man with such a fundamental misunderstanding of modern American history should be deciding the fate of a new group of civilians.

In this one paragraph the president rolled the clock back to 1943, claiming in that particular lifetime of U.S. actions on global security, our killings have been more righteous and had better outcomes than the anticipated actions of others. And with this distorted view of the consequences, President Obama hopes once again to use bombs to set things right.

Even if we shave two years off his timetable and move him past the long debated use of nuclear weapons — on not one but two civilian targets in Japan — the United States cannot claim to have made the world a better place. (more…)

Justice Fast

August 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Pat LaMarche, Politics

Clergy Members Take Action on Behalf of Gitmo Detainees

by Pat LaMarche

The five pillars of Islam are pilgrimage, alms giving, profession of faith, prayer and fasting. And the last Christian Beatitude promises, “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Perhaps that’s why it’s so fitting that I’ve partnered with a minister to join the Clergy Gitmo Justice Fast. Because I’m not a member of the clergy — not by a long shot — I can’t sign up on my own.

The Gitmo Clergy Fast calls on ordained clergy — of any religion — to do a water-only fast one day for one prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. There are 166 prisoners, so there needs to be 166 clergy. Even though I’m a dyed-in-the-wool confirmed agnostic, I’m still horrified by the U.S. indefinite detention of ‘terrorist suspects’ and I wanted to participate. (more…)