Correction Dec. 1, 2017
An earlier version of this story misquoted a 2012 report, stating there were only 14 state psychiatric beds available for 100,000 patients. It should have said 14 beds per 100,000 people.
An earlier version of this story misquoted a 2012 report, stating there were only 14 state psychiatric beds available for 100,000 patients. It should have said 14 beds per 100,000 people.
Our focus is constantly drawn to media events that we cannot control, while our health suffers under the modern diet. But with a little effort and knowledge, we can reclaim our traditional nutritional heritage and eat foods that will help us thrive, not decline and suffer in sickness and disease. http://truthstreammedia.com/reclaimin… http://truthstreammedia.podbean.com/m… http://www.podbean.com/site/user/logi… Recommended reading: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0967…
This month has shown that Hawaii may be the U.S.’s most forward-thinking state. Earlier in June, it became the first state to formally accept the provisions of the Paris Climate Accord, and now, the state congress has passed a bill that puts Hawaii on the path to universal basic income.
Innovation and forward-thinking may be Hawaii’s two biggest exports in 2017. Earlier this month, the state earned the distinction of being the first in the U.S. to formally accept the provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the nation from it, and now, Hawaii is taking the lead in embracing yet another innovative idea: universal basic income (UBI).
Today, Hawaii state representative Chris Lee wrote a Reddit post about House Concurrent Resolution 89, a bill he says he introduced in order to “start a conversation about our future.” According to Lee, “After much work and with the help of a few key colleagues, it passed both houses of the State Legislature unanimously.”
Lee also mentioned the development via Twitter:
The bill has two major provisions. First, it declares that all families in Hawaii are entitled to basic financial security. “As far as I’m told, it’s the first time any state has made such a pronouncement,” wrote Lee. The second provision establishes a number of government offices “to analyze our state’s economy and find ways to ensure all families have basic financial security, including an evaluation of different forms of a full or partial universal basic income.”
The congressman thanked “redditors” in his post, as he said the site became his first resource in considering UBI, and added a Reddit-standard TL;DR at the end: “The State of Hawaii is going to begin evaluating universal basic income.”
Under a UBI program, every citizen is granted a fixed income that’s not dependent on their status in life. Despite the current focus on the concept, it actually isn’t particularly new. In fact, former U.S. President Richard Nixon actually floated the idea back in 1969.
However, the benefits of such a program have become more appealing in light of recent technological advances, specifically, the adoption of automated systems that could result in widespread unemployment.
Proponents of UBI have highlighted how it would be an improvement on existing social welfare programs while mitigating the effects of the joblessness expected to follow automation. Critics think that UBI would encourage a more lax attitude about work and argue that funding such a system would be difficult, if not impossible.
Existing pilot programs, however, seem to indicate otherwise.
Hawaii may be the first U.S. state to pass any sort of UBI-positive legislation, but several countries around the globe are already testing the system. Finland began its two-year UBI pilot in 2016, and Germany has one as well. Canada plans to start trials in Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Ontario, while India is currently debating the merits of UBI. Several private UBI endeavors are also in the works, including one that uses blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Of course, the implementation of any major UBI program requires a great deal of political will. As Lee wrote, “Planning for the future isn’t politically sexy and won’t win anyone an election […]. But if we do it properly, we will all be much better off for it in the long run.”
OAKLAND, Calif.—Earlier this month, Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley incubator dropped a bombshell: it had selected this city to be the home of its new “Basic Income” pilot project, to start later this year.
The idea is pretty simple. Give some people a small amount of money per month, no strings attached, for a year, and see what happens. With any luck, people will use it to lift themselves out of poverty.
In this case, as Matt Krisiloff of Y Combinator Research (YCR) told Ars, that means spending about $1.5 million over the course of a year to study the distribution of “$1,500 or $2,000” per month to “30 to 50” people. There will also be a similar-sized control group that gets nothing. The project is set to start before the end of 2016.
The notion of guaranteed minimum income has been kicking around globally for centuries, especially among 20th century thinkers (Martin Luther King, Jr. famously advocated for it). But it’s only recently that extensive trials have begun in various places, including Canada, the Netherlands, Finland, and now in Oakland. (Another organization, called Give Directly, operates a similar program in Kenya.)
Tapped to run the project is Elizabeth Rhodes, an academic who recently arrived in Oakland. She says the project’s goal is “to empower people and give people the freedom to be able to meet their basic needs.”
But the details have yet to be fully worked out, and a lot of questions remain. How exactly will people be chosen? Will they come from a truly random sample of Oakland’s population? Will high-income people be automatically excluded? By what mechanism will people be notified? How will the money actually be transferred? Most of all, will it actually work?
If Y Combinator’s Basic Income project is successful, it would expand over the next five years to hundreds of citizens and perhaps include people beyond Oakland. And it would make the Bay Area’s venture capitalist class feel good about helping the poor.
“Overall the idea is to take money we make from YC [and], rather than all of the partners cashing out… putting it into research,” Krisiloff told Ars. “I think that there’s a culture at YC that just making money isn’t that interesting. [YC president Sam Altman] really likes to talk about how the overarching mission of YC is to create the most innovative thing. Money is a vector for change, but money in and of itself isn’t that interesting.”
According to the White House, as of 2012 (decades after President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty”), approximately 15 percent of Americans (or 49.7 million people, including 13.4 million children) live below the poverty line. Worse still, “only about half of low-income Americans make it out of the lowest income distribution quintile over a 20-year period.” (As the old saying goes: “It’s expensive to be poor.“)Here in Oakland, for all of its gentrification and new shiny downtown restaurants and cocktail bars, just under 20 percent of the population (specifically, 18.7 percent, or 71,599 people, as of 2010) live in poverty. And yet, it has also become the fourth-most expensive rental market in the country, thanks to spillover from nearby San Francisco.
Like many American cities, Oakland is divided along economic and racial lines, which also manifest themselves as large differences in access to quality education, public health, fresh produce, and more. As Mayor Libby Schaaf herself put it in her October 2015 State of the City address: “It’s hard for us to celebrate the overall health of Oakland knowing that two people can live just one mile apart and be nearly twice as likely to be unemployed—and live 15 years less.”
As soon as YC announced its Basic Income plan, it got lots of support from the municipal government. Mayor Libby Schaaf instantly said on Twitter that she was “excited” that Oakland had been chosen. Public records show that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), loves it, too.
Still, YC’s Oakland project is in its very early and experimental stages.
“Because the main goal of this pilot is to gather data, it’s a useful to run it in a socio-economically diverse city like Oakland,” Matt Zwolinksi, a philosophy professor at the University of San Diego, told Ars.
“That way we can see what differences there are in the responses of the wealthy and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, skilled and unskilled laborers, and so on. And we can tweak future studies or the final public policy in light of that information.”
May 13, 2016 by Alexa Ericksons.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Americans sure do. In fact, the average American citizen eats over 11 pounds of chocolate each year. But there’s a downside to this sweet treat beyond simply questionable ingredients.
Many of us purchase our chocolate without thinking about who made it, and that’s a problem, since a variety of large corporations have been accused of using child slavery to give you your chocolate fix.
Last September, a lawsuit was filed against a list of companies that includes Hershey, Mars, and Nestle, claiming that the companies were tricking their consumers into funding the child slave labor trade in West Africa.
It’s been a cause for concern in the chocolate industry for the past 15 years. Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate, and most of it is grown in West Africa, with the two biggest producers being the Ivory Coast and Ghana, which account for about 60 percent of the global cocoa supply.
Many companies within the chocolate industry rely almost exclusively on West Africa for their cocoa supply, but most of the cocoa is produced on small farms by farmers suffering from severe poverty. These extremes often result in child labor. Back in 2001, the chocolate industry pledged to end the practices in Ivory Coast and Ghana by 2005, but this deadline has repeatedly been pushed back. Now, the hope is to fully eliminate it by 2020.
To understand why this is so important, you need to look beyond the money and beyond the chocolate. You need to become aware of what’s happening to these children. Ranging from the ages of 11-16, and sometimes even younger, the conditions of these child slaves prove grim, with children trapped in isolated farms where they work for 80 to 100 hours every single week. They are often beaten with fists, belts, and whips as well, according to freed children who spoke on the matter in the film Slavery: A Global Investigation. “The beatings were a part of my life,” explained freed slave Aly Diabate. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”
Want to avoid supporting child slavery? Steer clear of these seven chocolate companies:
“At the moment, no major chocolate company can guarantee their cocoa supply is not tainted by child labor,” explains Elizabeth Jardim, director of consumer advocacy at Green America, a non-profit that promotes ethical consumerism. “However, most have launched sustainability programs that attempt to address child labor in a variety of ways, largely thanks to consumer pressure.”
And yet, despite the constant news on the severe subject, the number of children working in the cocoa industry has increased by 51 percent from 2009 to 2014. “They enjoy something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh,” one freed boy explained.
Check out this list of more socially conscious companies who have made it a priority to steer clear of profiting off the suffering of child labor:
Green and Black’s
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
Denman Island Chocolate
Newman’s Own Organics
Kailua Candy Company
Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company
Rapunzel Pure Organics
The Endangered Species Chocolate Company
The news out of Flint, Michigan brought the issue of contaminated drinking water into sharp focus, as it was revealed that officials at every level—local, state and federal—knew about lead-poisoned water for months but did nothing to address the problem.
Under state-run systems like utilities and roads, poorer communities are the last to receive attention from government plagued by inefficiencies and corrupt politicians. Perhaps no group knows this better than Native Americans, who have been victimized by government for centuries.
In the western U.S., water contamination has been a way of life for many tribes. The advocacy group Clean Up The Mines! describes the situation in Navajo country, which is far worse than in Flint, Michigan.
Since the 1950s, their water has been poisoned by uranium mining to fuel the nuclear industry and the making of atomic bombs for the U.S. military. Coal mining and coal-fired power plants have added to the mix. The latest assault on Navajo water was carried out by the massive toxic spills into the Animas and San Juan rivers when the EPA recklessly attempted to address the abandoned Gold King mine.
“In 2015 the Gold King Mine spill was a wake-up call to address dangers of abandoned mines, but there are currently more than 15,000 toxic uranium mines that remain abandoned throughout the US,” said Charmaine White Face from the South Dakota based organization Defenders of the Black Hills. “For more than 50 years, many of these hazardous sites have been contaminating the land, air, water, and national monuments such as Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Each one of these thousands of abandoned uranium mines is a potential Gold King mine disaster with the greater added threat of radioactive pollution. For the sake of our health, air, land, and water, we can’t let that happen.”
There is no comprehensive law requiring cleanup of abandoned uranium mines, meaning corporations and government can walk away from them after exploiting their resources. 75 percent of abandoned uranium mines are on federal and Tribal lands.
Leona Morgan of Diné No Nukes points out one example: “The United Nuclear Corporation mill tailings spill of 1979, north of Churchrock, New Mexico left an immense amount of radioactive contamination that down-streamers, today, are currently receiving in their drinking water. A mostly-Navajo community in Sanders, Arizona has been exposed to twice the legal limit allowable for uranium through their tap.”
Last week, Diné No Nukes participated in protests in Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of past and ongoing contamination of water supplies in the west, which disproportionately affects Indian country.
“The delegation is warning of the toxic legacy caused by more than 15,000 AUMs nationwide, extreme water contamination, surface strip coal mining and power plants burning coal-laced with radioactive particles, radioactive waste from oil well drilling in the Bakken Oil Range, mill tailings, waste storage, and renewed mining threats to sacred places such as Mt. Taylor in New Mexico and Red Butte in Arizona.”
“These uranium mines cause radioactive contamination, and as a result all the residents in their vicinity are becoming nuclear radiation victims,” said Petuuche Gilbert of the Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment and Indigenous World Association. “New Mexico and the federal government have provided little funding for widespread clean up and only occasionally are old mines remediated. The governments of New Mexico and the United States have a duty to clean up these radioactive mines and mills and, furthermore, to perform health studies to determine the effects of radioactive poisoning. The MASE and LACSE organizations oppose new uranium mining and demand legacy uranium mines to be cleaned up,” said Mr. Gilbert.
Politicians continue to take advantage of Native Americans, making deals with mining companies that would continue polluting their water supplies. Senator John McCain sneaked a resolution into the last defense bill which gave land to Resolution Copper. Their planned copper mining would poison waters that Apaches rely on and would desecrate the ceremonial grounds at Oak Flat.
While EPA and local officials have been forced to address the poisoned water in Flint, the contamination of Indian country water supplies continues. A bill called the Uranium Exploration and Mining Accountability Act, introduced by Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva, has languished in Congress for two years.
Note: This woman is a GREAT example of BEing the change you wish to see, she didn’t comply with “orders” because it went against her conscious. She cared more about doing what’s right, instead of worrying about a paycheck or what the boss would think. If more people acted on their conscious like this, the world would literally change overnite.
Her actions may have short term consequences with her employer, but in the long run the energy she payed forward with this one act of conscious will return to her with opportunity’s to make changes for the better in her own life.
We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for 🙂
A San Francisco Public Works employee could be facing disciplinary action for refusing to help police tear down a homeless person’s makeshift home. Though the woman’s identity was not released, the encounter was caught on video and uploaded to YouTube by the Coalition on Homelessness, an advocacy group critical of the treatment of homeless individuals. The group has urged cities to stop raiding and dismantling tent cities since last summer. California accounts for 21% of the nation’s homeless population; Of that, 63.7% lack shelter. Sasha Kai Parker and Jo Ankier discuss the implications the shelter removal could create for the homeless on the Lip News.
LA City officials have called for the confiscation of tiny homes from homeless people in South Los Angeles. Many of the street encampments have been donated by Elvis Summer, who has built and donated more than 37 homes and is going ahead of the sweeps to move the homes to safe locations. Councilman Curren Price, who represents the neighborhood, has claimed the houses pose health and safety risks. Some see the structures as a cheap, safe alternative to having homeless people sleeping on the streets, while others claim they are a cover for lawlessness and criminal activity. LA is facing a $2 billion homeless problem and has offered up no permanent solutions other than shelters, many of which are full or are rejected by homeless community members. Sasha Kai Parker and Mark Sovel discuss LA’s attack on the homeless on the Lip News.
admin | Dec 07, 2015
Have Bill Gates and his eugenicist foundation’s crimes against humanity finally caught up with him? If the Supreme Court of India has anything to say about it, he will face the ramifications of poisoning millions of Indian children with vaccines.
A recent report published by Health Impact News shows that a vaccine empire built on lies can only go on for so long. The reports states:
“While fraud and corruption are revealed on almost a daily basis now in the vaccine industry, the U.S. mainstream media continues to largely ignore such stories. Outside the U.S., however, the vaccine empires are beginning to crumble, and English versions of the news in mainstream media outlets are available via the Internet.”
“One such country is India, where the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and their vaccine empire are under fire, including a pending lawsuit currently being investigated by the India Supreme Court.”
If you aren’t aware of the key players in the vaccine mayhem being driven into African countries, they are:
All four of these organizations will now be expected to explain themselves due to a writ of petition originally submitted to the Supreme Court of India in 2012, by Kalpana Mehta, Nalini Bhanot, and Dr. Rukmini Rao, which has finally been heard by the courts.
The petitioners stated:
“BMGF, PATH and WHO were criminally negligent trialling the vaccines on a vulnerable, uneducated and under-informed population school administrators, students and their parents who were not provided informed consent or advised of potential adverse effects or required to be monitored post-vaccination.”
Furthermore, though absent from most mainstream U.S. media outlets, the Economic Times of India published their report in August 2014, stating that young tribal girls were tested with HPV vaccines. This involved not a handful of children, but 16,000 individuals in Andhra Pradesh, India, where they were given the Gardasil vaccine.
KP Narayana Kumar reported that within a month of receiving the vaccine, many of the children fell ill, and by 2010, five of them had died. Another two children were reported to have died in Vadodara, Gujarat, where another 14,000 tribal children were vaccinated with another brand of the HPV vaccine, Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmitheKline (GSK), who incidentally, has been accused of dumping polio virus into a Belgium river.
Consent forms to administer the HPV vaccine were ‘illegally’ signed by wardens form youth hostels, showing that the Gates’ prey on the indigent without parents. For those who had parents, most were illiterate, and the true potential dangers of the vaccines were not explained to them.
SAMA, an organization in India which promotes women’s health discovered this insidiousness, and reported it, but only now will Gates and his cronies have to answer for their misdeeds. Approximately 120 girls reported epileptic seizures, severe stomach cramps, headaches, and mood swings, of those who did not die. Other girls receiving the Gardasil vaccine have experienced infertility.
The Economic Times further reported:
“The SAMA report also said there had been cases of early onset of menstruation following the vaccination, heavy bleeding and severe menstrual cramps among many students. The standing committee pulled up the relevant state governments for the shoddy investigation into these deaths.
It said it was disturbed to find that ‘all the seven deaths were summarily dismissed as unrelated to vaccinations without in-depth investigations …’ the speculative causes were suicides, accidental drowning in well (why not suicide?), malaria, viral infections, subarachnoid hemorrhage (without autopsy) etc.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declared their little vaccine project a total success. I guess the Supreme Court of India will decide that now.
Suffering from the worst homeless rate in the US, Hawaii has declared a state of emergency to encourage the quick construction of new homes for those without accommodation.
“We are making sure that we have options for those who are homeless to move into an emergency shelter, and the biggest deficit in the system is shelter space for families,” said Democrat Governor David Ige at a press conference. “So the emergency proclamation would allow us to stand up shelters for families in an expeditious manner.”
For a population of 1.4 million Hawaii has 7,260 officially registered people who are homeless – the highest rate in the country. The number has risen by 23 percent over the past year alone, as part of a long-term trend.
A sum of $1.3 million has been designated for the construction of a new shelter, a site for which has not yet been chosen, and which will only be able to house 15 families at any given time. Recently constructed accommodation on the islands has often consisted of adapted shipping containers, with shared bathroom facilities.
A longer-term solution would be giving the homeless permanent accommodation in the private sector. A program called Housing First will give landlords incentives to offer housing to displaced persons even if they are suffering from addictions or mental disorders, and give them financial protection in case of potential damages.
Housing First follows in the footsteps of other such initiatives in Seattle and Salt Lake City, which showed that providing housing subsequently made it easier for homeless people to tackle their other problems.
Ige’s announcement comes just days after the state cleared up an unsightly makeshift encampment in Honolulu, known as Kakaako, which had existed for several years and had been home to almost 300 people.
The camp had been criticized for repelling tourists – one of the island’s main income streams – as well as posing a crime and health risk to the disgruntled neighbors.
However, the local UN agency criticized the state for the forcible removal, and while Ige boasted that more than half of the families have been placed in superior accommodation, the others have been forced to fend for themselves.
Many of Hawaii’s homeless are not indigenous, but travelers from the mainland, drawn by the region’s favorable climate, generous handouts and healthcare provisions, and high living standards.
Realizing not enough is being done to meet homeless peoples’ hygienic needs, these two friends put an ingenious idea to work and are now helping many people in Australia.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to help others is to assist them with the little things, which – believe it or not – make a great deal of difference.
Imagine being homeless and trying to get back on your feet – yet feeling extremely self-conscious of the state of your clothes when seeking out new opportunities. The two definitely don’t mix, which is why two good-Samaritan friends created a brilliant way to help the homeless re-gain confidence and also feel more optimistic about their situation. They did this by turning their van into a mobile laundromat to give those without an opportunity to wash their clothes safely.
The two creators of the Orange Sky Laundry project, Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, began with an old van and a generator. With the support of donations, they were able to secure two washing machines and driers, and now their van can process 20 kg of laundry an hour.
Launched in July, the project is now in its trial period, during which the van will operate 5 days per week in Brisbane, Australia. If all goes well, the organization will likely spread across Australia.
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/02/2015 10:53 -0400
The devastation of the US labor force continues.
In what was an “unambiguously” unpleasant June jobs payrolls report, with both April and May jobs revised lower, the fact that the number of Americans not in the labor force soared once again, this time by a whopping 640,000 or the most since April 2014 to a record 93.6 million, with the result being a participation rate of 62.6 or where itt was in September 1977, will merely catalyze even more upside to the so called “market” which continues to reflect nothing but central bank liquidity, and thus – the accelerating deterioration of the broader economy.
End result: with the civilian employment to population ratio dropping from last month to 59.3%, one can easily on the chart below why there will be no broad wage growth any time soon, which will merely allow the Fed to engage in its failed policies for a long, long time.
Photo Credit: facebook.com/CrownHeightsTenantUnion/photos
On Monday, New York City took a dramatic step that highlights just how out of control rental housing costs have become in the Big Apple and in many cities nationwide. For the first time, New York froze rents for one-year leases on a million rent-stabilized apartments.
“Today’s decision means relief,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. “We know tenants have been forced to make painful choices that pitted ever-rising rent against necessities like groceries, child care and medical bills.”
Landlords balked and citicized City Hall, calling the move an “unconscionable, politically driven decision.” But Rent Board chair Rachel Godsil was having none of it. Her staff had found that landlord incomes had grown for nine years in a row, including by 3.4 percent last year, while costs only grew by 0.5 percent. In contrast, a majority of most stabilized renters faced continuing income stagnation.
New York City’s struggle with affordable rental housing is part of a nationwide trend that has seen rental housing costs skyrocket in recent years as the housing market has mostly recovered from the 2008 recession, which was in part fueled by real estate speculation and Wall Street aggressively repackaging and reselling risky high-interest mortgages.
According to a new study by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, vast stretches of the county are facing a rental housing crisis marked by big rent spikes. “The number of cost-burdened renters [paying more than 30 percent of incomes]… set a new high in 2013 of 20.8 million, totaling just under half of all renter households,” Harvard researchers found. “Although the number of severely burdened renters edged down slightly, the number of moderately burdened renters climbed by a larger amount.”
Most low to moderate income households are feeling a very big pinch. The researchers said that 80 percent of households with annual incomes under $15,000, three-quarters of renters with incomes up between $15,000 and $29,999, and 45 percent of households earning up to $44,999, are all “severely burdened,” with non-whites and single mothers facing the greatest financial stress.
“Minorities and certain types of households are especially likely to have severe housing cost burdens,” the report said. “Indeed, 26 percent of black households, 23 percent of Hispanic households, and 20 percent of Asian and other minority households were severely burdened in 2013, compared with just 14 percent of white households. Nearly a third of single-parent families also had severe burdens, compared with a tenth of married couples with children. Finally, more than half of households headed by an unemployed individual in 2013 were severely housing cost burdened.”
Cities where these pressures are prevalent include Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu, Miami, Las Vegas and Orlando, they said. “Moreover, affordability pressures in the 10 most expensive markets reach further up the income scale. In fact, nearly half (48 percent) of households with incomes of $45,000–74,999 were housing cost burdened in these metros—more than twice the share (22 percent) nationally. As a result, the nearly 20 million households living in the 10 highest-cost metros must earn well above the national median income of $51,900 to live in housing they can afford.”
The causes for these spikes in rent come from a mix of private and public sector trends. On the private sector side, the housing market crash has led to a slowdown in building or improving rental housing stock in many regions, which has boosted rents when housing becomes available. Meanwhile, government affordable housing subsidies available for renters have effectively shrunk, because they have failed to keep up with increases.
“Unmet need has continued to grow despite real increases in federal appropriations for two of HUD’s largest programs—housing choice vouchers and project-based rental assistance—between FY2005 and FY2015,” it reported. “But instead of serving more households, most of the increased funding was offset by the higher costs of assistance due to rising market rents.”
One major consequence of a costlier rental market is that recent efforts to find housing for the homeless is backtracking in some regions, the researchers said.
“The lack of affordable housing in the United States continues to leave nearly 600,000 people homeless,” they wrote. “More than a third are people in families, including 130,000 children under the age of 18. By comparison, chronically homeless individuals (those who have been without a place to live for at least a year or have had repeated episodes of homelessness over the past few years) account for a much smaller share (15 percent) of the homeless population.”
The researchers said homelessness is on the rise, even though “recent increases in federal funding have aided progress in reducing both homelessness overall and among the most vulnerable groups.”
“The national reduction in homelessness is not apparent in all markets,” it said. “Rising rents and a dwindling supply of affordable rentals continue to put people at risk, especially in high-cost locations. Indeed, total homelessness jumped by 29 percent in New York and 40 percent in Massachusetts between 2007 and 2014. The increase in the District of Columbia was even larger, at 46 percent. Family homelessness is particularly acute in major cities, which were home to 45 percent of this population in 2014. New York City headed the list with 41,600 homeless people in families, or nearly 20 percent of the national total.”
The mystery of addiction — what it is, what causes it and how to end it — threads through most of our lives. Experts estimate that one in 10 Americans is dependent on alcohol and other drugs, and if we concede that behaviors like gambling, overeating and playing video games can be addictive in similar ways, it’s likely that everyone has a relative or friend who’s hooked on some form of fun to a destructive degree. But what exactly is wrong with them? For several decades now, it’s been a commonplace to say that addicts have a disease. However, the very same scientists who once seemed to back up that claim have begun tearing it down.
Once, addictions were viewed as failures of character and morals, and society responded to drunks and junkies with shaming, scolding and calls for more “will power.” This proved spectacularly ineffective, although, truth be told, most addicts do quit without any form of treatment. Nevertheless, many do not, and in the mid-20th century, the recovery movement, centered around the 12-Step method developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, became a godsend for those unable to quit drinking or drugging on their own. The approach spread to so-called “behavioral addictions,” like gambling or sex, activities that don’t eveninvolve the ingestion of any kind of mind-altering substance.Much of the potency of AA comes from its acknowledgement that willpower isn’t enough to beat this devil and that blame, rather than whipping the blamed person into shape, is counterproductive. The first Step requires admitting one’s helplessness in the face of addiction, taking recovery out of the arena of simple self-control and into a realm of transcendence. We’re powerless over the addictive substance, and trust in a Higher Power, and the program itself, to provide us with the strength and strategy to quit. But an important principle of the 12 Steps is that addiction is chronic and likely congenital; you can be sober indefinitely, but you will never be cured. You will always remain an addict, even if you never use again.
The flourishing of the 12-Step movement is one of the reasons why we now routinely describe addiction as a “disease.” To have a disease — instead of, say, a dangerous habit — is to be powerless to do anything except apply the prescribed cure. A person with a disease is unfortunate, rather than foolish or weak or degenerate. Something innate in your body, particularly in your brain, has made you exceptionally susceptible to getting hooked. You always have and always will contain a bomb, the important question is how to avoid setting a match to it. Another factor promoting the disease model is that it has ushered addiction under the aegis of the healthcare industry, whether in the form of an illness whose treatment can be charged to an insurance company or as the focus of profit-making rehab centers.
This conception of addiction as a biological phenomenon seemed to be endorsed over the past 20 years as new technologies have allowed neuroscientists to measure the human brain and its activities in ever more telling detail. Sure enough, the brains of addicts are physically different — sometimes strikingly so — from the brains of average people. But neuroscience giveth and now neuroscience taketh away. The recovery movement and rehab industry (two separate things, although the latter often employs the techniques of the former) have always had their critics, but lately some of the most vocal have been the neuroscientists whose findings once lent them credibility.
One of those neuroscientists is Marc Lewis, a psychologist and former addict himself, also the author of a new book “The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease.” Lewis’s argument is actually fairly simple: The disease theory, and the science sometimes used to support it, fail to take into account the plasticity of the human brain. Of course, “the brain changes with addiction,” he writes. “But the way it changes has to do with learning and development — not disease.” All significant and repeated experiences change the brain; adaptability and habit are the brain’s secret weapons. The changes wrought by addiction are not, however, permanent, and while they are dangerous, they’re not abnormal. Through a combination of a difficult emotional history, bad luck and the ordinary operations of the brain itself, an addict is someone whose brain has been transformed, but also someone who can be pushed further along the road toward healthy development. (Lewis doesn’t like the term “recovery” because it implies a return to the addict’s state before the addiction took hold.)
“The Biology of Desire” is grouped around several case studies, each one illustrating a unique path to dependency. A striving Australian entrepreneur becomes caught up in the “clarity, power and potential” he feels after smoking meth, along with his ability to work long hours while on the drug. A social worker who behaves selflessly in her job and marriage constructs a defiant, selfish, secret life around stealing and swallowing prescription opiates. A shy Irishman who started drinking as a way to relax in social situations slowly comes to see social situations as an occasion to drink and then drinking as a reason to hole up in his apartment for days on end.Each of these people, Lewis argues, had a particular “emotional wound” the substance helped them handle, but once they started using it, the habit itself eventually became self-perpetuating and in most cases ultimately served to deepen the wound. Each case study focuses on a different part of the brain involved in addiction and illustrates how the function of each part — desire, emotion, impulse, automatic behavior — becomes shackled to a single goal: consuming the addictive substance. The brain is built to learn and change, Lewis points out, but it’s also built to form pathways for repetitive behavior, everything from brushing your teeth to stomping on the brake pedal, so that you don’t have to think about everything you do consciously. The brain is self-organizing. Those are all good properties, but addiction shanghais them for a bad cause.
As Lewis sees it, addiction really is habit; we just don’t appreciate how deeply habit can be engraved on the brain itself. “Repeated (motivating) experience” — i.e., the sensation of having one’s worries wafted away by the bliss of heroin — “produce brain changes that define future experiences… So getting drunk a lot will sculpt the synapses that determine future drinking patterns.” More and more experiences and activities get looped into the addiction experience and trigger cravings and expectations like the bells that made Pavlov’s dogs salivate, from the walk home past a favorite bar to the rituals of shooting up. The world becomes a host of signs all pointing you in the same direction and activating powerful unconscious urges to follow them. At a certain point, the addictive behavior becomes compulsive, seemingly as irresistibly automatic as a reflex. You may not even want the drug anymore, but you’ve forgotten how to do anything else besides seek it out and take it.
Yet all of the addicts Lewis interviewed for “The Biology of Desire” are sober now, some through tried-and-true 12-Step programs, others through self-designed regimens, like the heroin addict who taught herself how to meditate in prison. Perhaps it’s no surprise that a psychologist would argue for some form of talk therapy addressing the underlying emotional motivations for turning to drugs. But Lewis is far from the only expert to voice this opinion, or to recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as a way to reshape the brain and redirect its systems into less self-destructive patterns.
Without a doubt, AA and similar programs have helped a lot of people. But they’ve also failed others. One size does not fit all, and there’s a growing body of evidence that empowering addicts, rather than insisting that they embrace their powerlessness and the impossibility of ever fully shedding their addiction, can be a road to health as well. If addiction is a form of learning gone tragically wrong, it is also possible that it can be unlearned, that the brain’s native changeability can be set back on track. “Addicts aren’t diseased,” Lewis writes, “and they don’t need medical intervention in order to change their lives. What they need is sensitive, intelligent social scaffolding to hold the pieces of their imagined future in place — while they reach toward it.”
Telling a homeless person to “hit the road” could soon be a good thing in Hawaii.
Group 70 International, a Honolulu-based architecture company, is working on retrofitting five retired city buses into a fleet of mobile shelters that could provide homeless people with everything from a place to sleep to an equipped space to wash up, Hawaii News Now reported.
The buses run smoothly, but are being stored only because they have racked up too many miles, KITV reported.
But in these parked vehicles, May Ry Kim, a principal at Group 70, sees ample potential to give local homeless people the basics they need, without necessarily requiring fancy handiwork.
She told Hawaii News Now that she envisions being able to buy all the necessary tools at a local hardware store and be able to train eager newbie volunteers who don’t have any trade skills.
credit: kena frank
Each bus will have a specific purpose -– one, for example, will serve as the restroom and shower facility, while another will be outfitted with beds.
The group has gotten some donations, but is still figuring out who will operate the mobile shelters and where they’ll be deployed.
Group 70 to KITV that it drew its inspiration from Lava Mae, a nonprofit in San Francisco that converted two city buses into shower facilities for homeless people, the Associated Press reported. The vehicles boast hot showers, clean toilets, free towels, soap and shampoo.
The proposed program marks another positive turn in the way Honolulu is handling its homelessness issue.
Last year Mayor Kirk Caldwell came under fire for declaring a “war” on homelessness.
Since then, a number of aid groups have demonstrated how offering services, instead of resorting to criminalization, is actually a more effective approach.
In March, the Institute for Human Services in Waikiki launched a shuttle program that picks up homeless people and takes them to the shelter to help incentivize wary clients to take advantage of the facility, KITV4 reported.
Next Step, a shelter in Honolulu run by Waikiki Health, has shown that deviating from the traditional stringent model can also work to get people off of the streets, the Civil Beat reported.
See NEWS REPORT and read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/12/hawaii-mobile-homeless-shelters_n_7571924.html
Gloucester, Mass. – Police Chief Leonard Campanello took a bold stance when earlier this month he announced that his department would no longer arrest addicts that came the police station to turn in drugs or drug paraphernalia if they were seeking help.
In a not so surprising move, the Essex District Attorney, in a letter to Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello, warned that he may “lack the legal authority” to make promises of not charging heroin addicts criminally.
Rather than putting more people into the already overburdened criminal justice system, Campanello said that his department would connect those seeking help with volunteers that would assist them in getting into a detox or treatment program.
This past Wednesday, in a letter to Campanello, Essex District Attorney Jonathon Blodgett informed the police chief that he is not able to legally accommodate his promise.
“While we applaud the general idea of your proposal, an explicit promise not to charge a person who unlawfully possesses drugs may not amount to a charging promise that you lack legal authority to make, and on which a drug offender may not be able to rely,” Blodgett wrote.
Blodgett applauds the efforts of Campanello, but makes note that it is his duty to inform the police chief regarding the limitations that police and prosecutors face.
On the surface, this may sound legitimate. But if we dig deeper, we come to realize that there are many laws still on the books that are simply no longer enforced.
Using Blodgett’s logic all laws on the books must be enforced by police, which if true would lead to some interesting situations.
According to Legal Zoom:
If you stop for a beer in North Dakota, don’t expect to get any pretzels with your beverage, as it’s against the law in that state to serve beer and pretzels at the same time. …
Even in fashion forward New York City, there are laws concerning how a woman dresses. In the Big Apple, wearing clingy or body-hugging clothing carries a $25 dollar fine.
Although these laws are outdated and seemingly arcane, they are still on the books as laws. While these and many others laws now seem ridiculous and highlight the absurdity of state, public values once dictated that they be enforced by police.
As culture changed over time, legislation wasn’t passed to repeal these laws, police simply stopped enforcing them as society no longer found them of value.
Although the DA states that the chief cannot make good on his promise, he is mistaken, as an administrative directive by the police chief to his department should suffice as departmental policy.
The just following orders routine, however, will no longer suffice as an excuse for actions that are immoral. Police Chief Campanello needs to be commended for putting the spirit of law ahead of the letter of the law.
Please spread the word that the powers that be are trying to stop this courageous plan to help addicts before it even begins.
Share this article if you think the time has come to end the unjust drug war!
According to the report, the national average Housing Wage in 2015 is $19.35 for a two-bedroom unit, and $15.50 for a one-bedroom unit, while the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour in 2015, which hasn’t been raised since 2009. In 13 states and D.C., Housing Wage is more than $20 per hour. The Housing Wage is an estimate of the full-time hourly wage that a household must earn to afford a decent apartment at HUD’s estimated Fair Market Rent (FMR) for no more than 30% of their income.
The data from the report show a gap between wages and rents across the country. In no state or D.C. can a full-time minimum-wage earning worker at the federal minimum wage afford a one- or two-bedroom apartment for his or her family. With the exception of just a few counties in Washington and Oregon (where the state minimum wage is $9.47 and $9.25, respectively), in no county in the U.S. a one-bedroom unit at the FMR is affordable to someone working 40 hours a week at the minimum wage, according to the report.
A map included in the report shows the hours a worker would have to work each week to afford a one-bedroom apartment. Among the states where a worker has to work the most hours to afford housing are Hawaii (125), Maryland (101), DC (100), New Jersey (100) and California (92).
In some localities where the state and local minimum wages are higher than the federal minimum wage, the Housing Wages are also much higher than the minimum wages, according to the report. In San Francisco, California, for instance, the state and local minimum wages are $9.00 and $12.25, respectively, while the Housing Wages for a one- and a two-bedroom apartment are $31.44 and $39.65, respectively.
These data may help explain the findings of a Brookings Institution report. According to the report, an average resident of a U.S. metro area lives 90 minutes or less away from only 30 percent of the jobs in that area.
Living far away from jobs, in turn, can impede residents’ ability to earn more, Vox’s Joseph Stromberg points out. A recent study which tracked 5 million children starting in the 1980’s found that among factors such as crime rates, schools, and levels of inequality, a neighborhood’s average commuting time strongly correlated with its residents’ ability to ascend to a higher income bracket than their parents.
Source: True Activist
In 2007, Kenton Lee was walking through Nairobi, Kenya (Africa) when he noticed that not only were children cutting the toes off their shoes to make them fit, the majority of them did not have any shoes at all. There to work with 140 orphaned children affected by AIDs/HIV, he felt desperately that some sort of solution was needed for both of these concerns.
When Kenton talked to the orphanage director, he was advised that they did not receive shoe donations from the U.S. Clearly, such a solution would not be sustainable either, as the shoes for the growing children’s feet would only fit six months before they became too small.
Frustrated by the issue presented, Lee began to think, “Why are we donating things that don’t make sense for these kids? Why are we still doing the same old thing if it doesn’t work as well as it needs to? Can’t we do this a better way?”
These questions prompted Lee to found an organization called Because International. The team’s intent is to work together with those who are living in extreme poverty, listen to what they say, and then help to turn their dreams into a reality.
Before long, Lee came up with the brilliant concept of a shoe that was adjustable and could last for approximately 10 years. The idea manifested into a product called ‘The Shoe That Grows’. Two adjustable shoe creations have now been invented, one size small, and one size large. The first will adjust to fit from pre-school to approximately grade four or five, and the second fits from grades four or five to approximately grade nine. This means that with just TWO pairs of shoes, these children can have dependable footwear throughout their entire school career.
The quest to ensure children have a pair of shoes is not only an issue for comfort, it is a health concern too. Worldwide, over two billion people suffer from soil-transmitted parasites and diseases, therefore these shoes will protect the children’s feet in more ways than one. The new design also offers better protection than a regular pair of shoes due to their innovative design and concept.
Because the shoes are designed to easily compress, they can easily ship overseas for very cheap. A pair of 50 shoes, for example, can fit in one suitcase on an airplane.
The organization has presently set up a funding campaign and are now ready to process their largest order for 5,000 pairs of shoes which will be delivered by missionary and church groups this summer.
To donate one pair of shoes costs only $10, and the organization has set up a very simple process so that it only takes a moment to place an order and support this cause. The donated shoes will then be assigned to a duffel bag, which will be sent around the world to children in need.
For more information, please visit (and support) both The Shoe That Grows and Because International to help supply the world with much-needed footwear.