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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  December 10, 2013 2:30am-3:01am EST

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we'll continue to have coverage on al jazeera. thanks for watching. >> so we have to have a whole new conversation
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about american families. >> with a whole new face. >> yeah. >> to the old stereotype. we asked our community, what do you think about the statistic, that 28% of folk whose are homeless, have one employed person in that family, and on facebook check it out. that is a mind blowing, i'm blessed to have this roof over my head, i knowky lose it at any time, it is very humbling. same thing on facebook, the employees should not have to struggle or go without the basic necessities. maybe not other populations a bunch of factors are being discussed. and again, allot of americans are saying you know what, we could be homeless too. >> and that raise as great point, but it is so much bigger than just affordable housing, so we will definitely get into that. the kids attend school they take part in after school programs. and then suddenly my last
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job left to mexico, and went from over $14 an hour, to $8 an hour. so we lost a house. i am without a job, and my husband got a job, and we did pretty well. then i got layed off, then he got layed off. >> everybody is one screwed up pay acheck away from being where we are. >> the number is on the rise. the national coalition estimates 41% of those without a permanent place to live are parents with children. these families are in plain sight, returning to shelters for help, living in hotels. >> the hardest thing about being homeless is explaining it to my daughter. trying to make her believe that it is okay even when you don't. >> but a smile on for your kids and make the best that you can it is hard on them, and they
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take a lot of flak for it. >> okay. >> come bounding the problem, the children are more likely to have chronic imness, develop member tool and behavior problems. to address the issue, president obama has vowed to end child and family homelessness, by 2020. limited optioning and communities passing laws that some say penalize homelessness, is it even possible? joining us by skype is richard chow. a policy director for the interagency council. let part of the government, working to end chronic homelessness. those winter stormed grounds hi flight, so as we so often do here, we are using social media to end up what planes, and trains, and cars sometimes can't do. it does allow us to bring some of the best visions
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into our conversation. donna anderson, also joins us, she is the director of the institute of children, poverty, and homelessness. a nonprofit, dedicated to changing the way we think about the homeless. and also on google plus, wendy alexandar, a working mother of three, who along with her kids has been homeless. welcome everyone to the stream. so donna, when you think about homelessness it is those very visible examples that come to mind. the reality is we have more homeless families than ever before, what is going on? >> well, exactly as you mentioned earlier. the face of homelessness in america is changing. what we once thought of the single adult, that face is transformed into the face of a school kid.
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that is the new face of homelessness, and unfortunately it is also rah face that those numbers are getting better. there are more and more of them. >> richard to what do you attribute this rise in homeless families? >> well, i think we recognize that what drives homelessness is the lack of affordable housing. as i think the people who commented earlier said. and i think that as we have seen, incomes start to come down, and the price of housing going up. we are just seeing a growth of the families that experience homelessness. >> you are working with a full time job, you had three kids at home, walk us through your story of what happened? >> well, hay add full time job, yes, sir, and then my area of work took a decline. i was working in construction, and dry wall, and my hours got cut back, and then you take whatever job you can get, and the job that i
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had taken after that 1,000 it was a great job in pay, it wasn't a healthy job for me, and i ended up getting hurt. i lost that job, and in the process i had to take another part time job. just to try and survive. and it wasn't enough to survive. it wasn't enough to pay my rent. it wasn't enough to pay for shoes and clothes and food. so i did have to give up my own to live with family. you do not look like the typical face, you were working, you tried your best, and the community has chimed in about these misconceptions. honestly the biggest misconception is thinking that homelessness will not happen to you. homelessness does not discriminate. the biggest myth that the homeless are fundamentally different from everyone else, that data shows most americans
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are now a pay check or two away from being in that state, and finally, people look down on the homeless. as if they couldn't be in the same situation, i have been homeless, it is no way to live. and mark, you have been dealing with the homeless communities. talk to us about how detrimental these misconceptions are when it comes to helping homeless communities? >> well, first, let me -- the begin hog if show was great. but it was very statistic heavy. and we need to understand like housing hud, housing and urban development, they leave out a big section of homelessness. for instance, he was having problem delivering to houses because there are so many names at the one unit.
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especially with family homeless. parents aren't raising their hand and saying we are homeless. that's a lot of reasons for that, pride, worried their kids will be taken away, but my point is, that whatever number that you are putting out there, it's way worse. it is way worse. the other issue is -- and i have been considered lucky, i have been to over 200 cities in several different countries. we don't make it easy for a homeless family to get out. so going back to the hud thing, if a family pays for their own hotel room, and they come to a service provider we have to say sorry, you aren't home legislation, go sleep in your car, go sleep outside before we can help you. the me that's pretty stupid. the other thing is -- it's called the continuum of care, which has set up
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for families to find help. but we don't talk to each other, nor is there availability. i am a family, i find help someplace. i hair about it, i go there, i sit there for five or six hours like it is a dental office, and even if they can't help me, they get paid by your data. it is so hard for rah homeless family to find help. >> and mark, we will get more -- >> may i jump in on this. >> sure. >> and i just wanted to sort of back that up, because i think he is making a good point about how systems are not really put in place to be responsive not only to the needs of the parent, but also the children. so if -- kids and families are not easily able to access their day care, then it is very difficult for a parent who has lost their job to then be able to go out
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and look for a new job. wendy, at the beginning of the show, we heard from some parents and you could see the pain on their face when they are talking about how hard this was in their kids. when we were just talking about this. talk about what this does to your kid's psyche? it is hard to deal with something that has to do with dignity when you are an adult, how hard was it for your kids? >> i think really early on in the whole situation they were really great about it. they were very understanding. my kids have been great. they are teenagers so they are older. but they start to get angry, and they start to
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feel like they have no space of their own. and they start to feel like they don't have an existence of their own. really. they don't have bedrooms, they have a couch that they sleep on, or my daughter shared a bedroom with me for a while, and they really have no sense of identity of their own. they just go wherever they have to go. and they have to follow another person's set of rules. i have my rules, and then my family has their rules. and i was confuse confusedd frustrated. so many times i would come home and my kids would be outside crying and they would say i don't know what to do. >> there has to be an limit of being worried about being found out with their peers too. >> absolutely. it wasn't something that they shared with people. they would say oh we are staying with grandma, other something along those lines. but it wasn't something
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they went and told people, we don't have a place to live, or i was working and i didn't tell my coworkers i didn't have a place to live. they didn't know, it's not so much okay i have to admit, it is it does feel like shame. i was ashamed that i wasn't able to take care of my family the way i felt i should be able to. so i think that create as problem with asking for help as well, there's this shame that have done something wrong. >> well, wendy our community has really chimed in on the impact it has on kids. what choices do these people children and families have but crime if we don't support them, this is society's fault. matt says 1.6 million children in the u.s. is proof that homelessness has shifted from just simply by driven by "mental illness." so you, each and every one of you are paying to deal with america's homeless problem. the question is your money being used effectively. the dollars and cents of ill all when we come back.
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>> this isn't a new channel, this is a watershed moment in media for america. >> this entire region is utterly devastated. >> people our here are struggling. >> the fire jumped the highway we took earlier. >> your average viewer want's to actually understand how the health care law is going to help them or hurt them. >> they know they can get extremist bickering somewhere else. >> people say that we're revolutionary. our revolution is just going back to doing the best in journalism. >> this is the place to go watch high quality journalism, period. still experienced some racial tension. so my parents who both started out in segregated schools made sure i knew my history as a young african american girl. they made me learn about martin luther king's march on
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washington and watch nelson mandela's acceptance speech when he first took the podium as president. >> so help me god. >> fast forward 17 years later. i'm an eager college senior. and it's no surprise i chose south africa as the place to go for my fellowship. when i got there, i started teaching kids in one of the country's poorest townships, kids all born the year that mandela was freed. they were, as we say in south >> start with one issue education... gun control... the gap between rich and poor... job creation... climate change... tax policy... the economy... iran... healthcare... ad guests on all sides of the debate. >> this is a right we should all have... >> it's just the way it is... >> there's something seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony...
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>> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5 eastern only on al jazeera america when i first knew we were going to be homeless, i checked with different state agencies. i got turned down because they were so overwhelmed and pull, you would have to call every nighty let us know you need housing. but there's already a waiting list, and then they say you can only stay there two months and then after that you are out again. >> welcome back, we are talking about a kind of homelessness, we rarely speak of. school aged kids and their families living in their streets, hopping to shelter to shelter. according to the american al ma'am knack, one third
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of those that use shelters every year are parents and kids. more than 100,000 could be forced out next year. is how their money is being stowe warded. >> yeah, and it seems to be almost overwhelming consensus from our community, that tax money has not been used well. says taxpayer money isn't being used effectively, combating child homelessness. you know what the government should give back to the. lynn, on facebook, open some of these abandoned old hospitals and big old churches and give these people homes. and final hi again, obama is well aware of the kids, however she blames congress that has obstructed every job bill, cut food stamps and education funds. >> there have been choices to be made,
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richard back in 2002, hud made a decision to focus on chronically homeless single adults and that was supposed to save enough money to fight family homelessness, but there are still half a million parents and kids without a roof of their head. >> i think prior distribution has focused on the goal of ending prior homelessness, and not had a strategy focused on how to address homelessness of all types. so when this administration came into being, and we set a plan for ending homelessness, that plan is known as opening doors and we set four goals of ending homelessness, the first is to end chronic homelessness, to end homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. and then among children, families and youth by the year 2020. so we really set out almost among all populations. one thing we found, when you focus on one population, they have a hard time making those choices.
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i wouldn't necessarily want to speculate on what their sort of motivations were behind that, i think that unfortunately, what a lot of our government policies so far that we have seen address homelessness, are very short sided. they have an immediate focus, so it is possibility. and when we look at the solutions that are on the table today, we are talking about ending family homelessness today. so we are talking about housing vouchers and sort of short term shallow subsidies that are available. what we are not talking about is addressing why people become homeless in the first place. we are also talking about issues of domestic violence. the gomes of ending
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family homelessness is a great sort of -- a goal to have, but it's not really going to be realistic unless we really addressing those underlying causes. and understanding that the surface structure that we have in place today, is a great jumping off point to start helping families to combat their own homelessness, even when they are in shelters. >> dong that, we know some cities have taking the solution of criminalizing homelessness. criminalizing homelessness, or themmizing them makes it worse. most of these folks are mentally ill and addicts that need help. if they had money to pay fines don't you think they would use it for a damn motel or some kind of housing? >> is that a viable solution themmizing homelessness? does that just add to the problem? oh, sure, give me the ones where i don't have any passion. criminalizing
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homelessness. it's stupid. now i get it. it is the quick fix. you have homeless people in the mall. and you want them out. well, pass a law. here is issue. you are finding somebody that doesn't have an income, or is low income, then they get a bench warrant because they didn't appear because they can't pay it. now i clocks up the court system, and it doesn't make any sense. and then the long term goal, oh. it just increases the cost, and it is actually the most expensive way. i want to go back really quick to what richard and everybody was saying. i support the opening doors. it is so important, because they are eating up the resources. there is is a couple of things with can do off the bat. >> quickly. >> sure.
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>> faith based organizations can step up. >> you know what, mark, i will pause you there, because we are going to talk about solutions in a few minutes. i don't want to get to that, but i will go to you first with it, you know, dawn i want to get wac to this idea of the shelter systems that are already in place. we mentioned a third of the folk whose use them every year, are kids and families. do you feel like families have been stabilized? that is in no way an indictment of the service providers themselves, but they are under these strict limb cases about how long they can receive services and still receive their own funding. so they are putting a band aid on a gunshot wound. so if they are not able to really help a family identify what happened what are the issues and for some families that
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will be short term. they are good to go and that's great. they need longer term care and service, and they need to be hooked in not only to main stream, but sometimes especially those kids need additional services. and it is above and beyond what they can get in the regular school day. they need priority for after school programs. they need priority for tutoring services. they need additional resources. school trip fees all these things to get harem case, to break that cycle, and we need to address and really target those services and resources today. today, not in seven years but today. we don't turn congressman's huge
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mansions into homeless shelter. >> there wouldn't be big enough. we are talking about almost 2 million homeless children, it's not big enough. 535 manages are not enough. it is a lovely idea, though. >> and on behalf of many congress people, i have to say that a lot of them are not living in mansions. it is the time of year though when people do things like they volunteer at the food banks or donate to shelters come the first of the year, what happens when these disappear from our conscious but not our community. things that will truly have impact during the other 11 months that's next.
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>> and now, a techknow minute...
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it gets. as familiar as in 2012, it collected more than $148 million. the center for philanthropy suggests that. so you know, wendy, it's a wonderful thing that people are generous, they try to help, especially during the holidays. you and your kids have been homeless, did you
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think to yourself, if that person wanted to help me, they would blank. >> there's a couple of different things i always wanted to address with it, and one of them is quit cutting the budget for schools. that's where kids that are homeless are getting a lot of help. a lot of the school programs geared towards helping kids are coming out of teacher's salaries rather than coming from the community. donating, giving back to your schools to keep the budgets going, and the other thing is having programs for people that are slightly above whatever cults you off at. i have an income, but i made too much money to get help, but not enough to live. so having some kind of a program where you have an extension of that particular cut off line, that poverty line that everybody has a solid line at, go above and beyond that. okay, now we have these services for people that are in this situation. >> sure. >> that in between state, mark, a few minutes ago,
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you were started to talk about solutions and you mentioned that you thought faith based communities may be able to fill the gap, how so? >> with little time left, we all need to work together. we have the shelters, and the housing first, and the faith based, and the businesses and the government, home for good here in los angeles is a good example of getting all the strike holders at the table. getting rid of your differences. pooling your resources and really working together because you need national support, but you have to fight homelessness at a local level. and with family homelessness, a big thing is prevention. we need to prevent them -- we need to prevent all families from ever hitting a shelter. ever. happen -- >> it needs to 457 at the federal level as well, richard i know you want to jump in. >> , i couldn't believe with mark more. homelessness very much happens at the row call level, and it does take
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all of those stakeholders, whoing together. the challenge is that you have many different organizations. you have the business community, you have government on the other hand, all working at different pups and i think what we have seep to be effective is making a difference, and bringing their numbers down, is really where they are all working together towards the same goal and rowing together. i think we are trying to do that at the federal government, trying to coordinate between all the federal agencies. we coordinate the work of 19 different agencies to figure out how to coordinate policy to end homelessness, and i just want to go back to something earlier, that i think the solutions really need to look t a main stream resours that donna mentioned. we need to look at the food statute program, and all of the mainstreem programs that exist as a way to end homelessness. the community says
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everybody has a role on ending homelessness, james says private citizens, social groups should work diligently to come up with short and long term solutions. and donna, final word. who is respondble. all of us play a role in each of our communities. as mark said it is a very local issue all across the country. who are the people that are most active. talk to your local officials. talk to the service providers. talk to your school officials. finding out what are the underlying issues that cause family homelessness, and how can you address those issues as well as reduce the impact on kids. >> thank you to all our kids. mary caraccioli
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>> saying farewell to nelson mandela. world leaders and we'll wishers gather for a huge memorial service. >> from al jazeera's headquarters in doha. also - two french soldiers killed in the central african republic. >> riot police scuffle with protesters in ukraine as the president tries to find a solution. >> a water deal truck between liree neighbours to breathe new


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