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10/21/2014 - Building Momentum to Abolish Criminalization of Homelessness

By Eric Tars

Earlier this year, Jerome Murdough, a homeless Veteran, died tragically of dehydration and heat exhaustion in an overheated prison cell after being arrested for “trespassing” because he sought warmth and shelter in an enclosed stairwell of a Harlem public housing building during a week of sub-freezing temperatures. Every day, people who experience homelessness are subjected to local laws and ordinances that challenge their human rights and create real and lasting barriers. Jerome Murdough should have never been in that jail cell in the first place. If Jerome Murdough was served by a system that approached housing as a human right—and homelessness as something to solve rather than something to criminalize—he might still be alive today.

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08/11/2014 - Inspired by People: New Report Offers Alternatives to Criminalization

Without housing options, people often are forced to rely on culverts, public parks, streets, and abandoned buildings as places to sleep and carry out daily activities that most reserve for the privacy of their own home. As communities recognize and struggle with the fact that people without homes often live in public spaces, multiple strategies arise. Unfortunately, many of these strategies include policies that criminalize homelessness. In a new report, In the Public Eye, author Lucy Adams, of Australia’s Justice Connect and guest blogger at USICH elevates the conversation.

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04/15/2014 - Creating Meaningful Alternatives to Criminalization in Our Communities

In March, I had the privilege of going on a ride-along in the HOT van with Sergeant Schnell and his partner, Officer John Liening. I’ve known Sergeant Schnell and Officer Liening for about 10 years or more. The HOT and SIP teams are profiled in USICH’s publication Searching Out Solutions, and they have provided training to police departments in many other parts of the country. But this was my first chance to witness, in person, their daily efforts to create meaningful alternatives to criminalization for the vulnerable men and women who are living unsheltered on the streets of my hometown, San Diego.

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04/15/2014 - Criminalizing Homelessness is Costly, Ineffective, and Infringes on Human Rights

USICH Regional Coordinator Amy Sawyer explains why policies that criminalize homelessness are not only morally wrong but also ineffective solutions to ending homelessness in communities. 

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04/14/2014 - 3 Reasons to Address Homelessness as a Human Rights Issue

By Liz Osborn, USICH Management and Program Analyst

In this blog, Liz Osborn answers the question: What benefits and challenges do organizations face when addressing the issue of homelessness from a human rights perspective?

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04/09/2014 - The Power of Constituent Voice: The Rhode Island Homeless Bill of Rights

Jim Ryczek (pictured right), Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, recounts the journey he and his friend and fellow advocate John Joyce (pictured left) embarked upon in order to create a bill of rights on behalf of people experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island. 

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07/17/2013 - Reducing the Criminalization of Homelessness

 USICH and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty met with agency partners to discuss new strategies to reduce criminalization of homelessness.

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