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Society: When did we become Inhuman? Spikes on a Bench...Really??

Pay-per-minute benches, 'pig ears' to prevent skateboarding, devices that emit an unpleasant sound only teenagers can hear … cities have many tactics to discourage 'unwanted' behaviour

There was something heartening about the indignation expressed by Londoners this week against the “anti-homeless” spikes placed outside a luxury block of flats in Southwark. They were widely condemned as dehumanising, and compared with the strips of spikes used to deter pigeons from roosting. Yet anti-homeless spikes are nothing new. Not only are they found across the globe, from Nottingham to Tokyo, but they are just one weapon in an arsenal of “defensive architecture” strategies, employed to deter behaviour deemed unacceptable and encourage “proper” conduct. If you know where to look, you’ll discover that cities are full of subtle architectural features designed to nudge you in the right direction.

A bunch of snobby Brits are ruffling feathers for installing “anti-bird” spikes on trees — to protect their luxury cars from droppings.

The perilous contraptions, which were installed on tree branches in the exclusive Clifton area of Bristol, have been described by a local Green Party councilor as “literally uninhabitable to birds,”

The spikes were intended to discourage homeless people from sleeping in the area, and their presence sparked a public outcryLondon’s mayor called the spikes “ugly, self defeating & stupid,” and the mayor of Montreal called similar spikes in his own city “unacceptable!!!!” Protesters poured concrete over a set of spikes outside of a Tesco supermarket. Then, after a petition was signed by nearly 130,000 people, the spikes were removed from the London apartment building, the Tesco, and downtown Montreal.

In the past few years, a new trend has sprung up: cities have begun to ban the feeding of homeless people in parks. Most notably,Philadelphia instituted this ban in 2012, with Mayor Michael Nutter ludicrously saying that it was actually a plan to care for the poor more broadly. The ban was eventually declared unconstitutional, but as many as 50 other cities still ban public feedings.

Homelessness is Real and it is something that many do not under stand. Learning about who or how one becomes a person on the street is vital to understanding how to help, and change their lives. NOBODY WANTS TO BE HOMELESS!

1.) 564,708 people in the U.S. are homeless. According to a recent report, over half a million people were living on the streets, in cars, in homeless shelters, or in subsidized transitional housing during a one-night national survey last January. Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, 358,422 were individuals, and a quarter of the entire group were children.

2.) 83,170 individuals, or 15% of the homeless population, are considered “chronically homeless.” Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual who has a disability and has experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or and individual who has a disability and has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years (must be a cumulative of 12 months). Families with at least one adult member who meets that description are also considered chronically homeless.As the National Alliance to End Homelessness explains, “While people experiencing chronic homelessness make up a small number of the overall homeless population, they are among the most vulnerable. They tend to have high rates of behavioral health problems, including severe mental illness and substance use disorders; conditions that may be exacerbated by physical illness, injury, or trauma.”

3.)1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness. This may be due to poverty, overcrowding in government housing, and lack of support networks. Research indicates that those who served in the late Vietnam and post-Vietnam era are at greatest risk of homelessness. War-related disabilities or disorders often contribute to veteran homelessness, including physical disabilities, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety, and addiction.

How much money per year is spent to combat homelessness?

Budget Fact Sheet for 2016

The Budget calls for the investments needed to end chronic homelessness in 2017. As part of an overall investment of $2.5 billion in HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Programs, the Budget calls for the resources to create 25,500 new units of permanent supportive housing—the proven, cost-effective solution to chronic homelessness. Shortfalls in the most recent budget passed by Congress have forced us to move the national goal to end chronic homelessness from 2015 to 2017. The President’s 2016 Budget would bring the nation’s inventory of permanent supportive housing to a scale needed to achieve an end to chronic homelessness in 2017. Meanwhile, there are communities—such as those participating in Community Solution’s Zero: 2016 campaign—who can and should continue to work toward achieving this goal ahead of this new timeline. This Administration is committed to working with every community to end chronic homelessness as quickly as possible.

Did you know cities bus homeless people throughout the country in order to rid them in thier own cities?

The Guardian: Bussed Out: How America Moves Its Homeless — “Each year, US cities give thousands of homeless people one-way bus tickets out of town. An 18-month nationwide investigation by the Guardian reveals, for the first time, what really happens at journey’s end.”

How can you help?

1. Educate yourself. There are myriad reasons why a person becomes homeless — lack of affordable housing, loss of a job, divorce, illness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, et cetera. One of the first steps you can take toward helping the homeless is trying to understand how they got there in the first place.

2. Show some respect. Don't treat a homeless person as if she were invisible. Say, "good morning," when you pass or strike up a conversation on a park bench. Many people experiencing homelessness say that the loss of dignity that accompanies their situation is harder to bear than the actual loss of physical things.

3. Donate. Clothing is a big one here, as are shoes and food. Non-perishable items are always in short supply at food pantries and homeless shelters. Other items that might be needed include blankets, coats, books and small kitchen items, such as cups and utensils. If you are donating to a homeless shelter or another organization that helps the homeless, consider donating office supplies, electronics, appliances, phone cards or other items that might help those who help the homeless. If you see someone who is homeless in winter, offer blankets, food or tarps (if you can't convince them to go to a shelter).

4.) Get techy. Use your smartphone or other gadget to help the homeless. In San Francisco, download the app HandUp to read the stories of homeless people in your area and donate directly to those in need. In New York, the WeShelter app can help you learn how to get involved. And in Atlanta, every post you upload on the Luv4wrd app equals a coat, blanket or pair of gloves to someone living on the streets. Live somewhere else? Use a Google search to find a homeless app to help the people in your community.

Something I do when I see someone who is homeless, I give them money when I see them. Usually $20 if I have it. I know some people claim that they may purchase alcohol or cigaretts or drugs and do not use it properly. Well I say: Who are we to determine how it's used? WE have: clothing, transportation, food, water, medication and a roof.

If someone chooses to drink maybe its because they are in pain, or depressed like most people and/or combating Mental ILLNESS that has gone untreated.

We cannot keep being judgemental: By judging others we condemn our morals and the very beliefs we say we hold and value.

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