do justice, love mercy, walk humbly
do justice, love mercy, walk humbly
Thursday February 16: Who are the Homeless? Facts and Myths
The social worlds of homeless people are complicated. The images we see on television, the rhetoric adopted by politicians, and the stories we hear and read in the news are often one dimensional, accusatory, naively sympathetic, and riddled with half-truths. In this forum we explore how homelessness is defined, address our own perceptions and biases, and some myths that directly and indirectly inform some of our proposed solutions. Topiics: HUD Definition (AHAR) and categories, ETHOS definitions and categories, adjectives that we use to describe people experiencing homelessness, myths about safety, mental illness, and substance use; and the Oneida Square's visible homeless population.
Thursday, March 2: Serving those Left Behind: Homeles Addicts & Cornerstone
Since the 1980's, when visible homelessness catapulted, debates about substance use and mental illness have shaped the conversation about the causes of homelessness, especially those most visible to the public. What we can say with some certainty, substance use/mental illness (SUMI) does not cause people to become homeless, nor does SUMI necessarily increase as a result of homelessness. And while the propotion of SUMI is higher than in the general population, we need to distinguish correlation and cause.
This troubled population is merely the tip of the iceberg, making up the smallest fraction of those experiencing homelessness in Utica, but not in Oneida Square, who are the most visible, distressed and costly. They challenge our patience and compassion. In this forum Pastor Mike, Cathy Marsh, and Johanna Huxley will share stories of those who at one time frequented the Morrow Warming Center before it was shut down, as well as current dinner guests. We will then take a step back and explore their lived experiences within the context of poverty, racism, and social exclusion. This will pave the way for our next forum when we discuss the evolution of homeless policy from housing readiness to harm reduction and HOusing First. To[ics: History of the Morrow Cen Morrow,Center stories, context, lif and death consequences of no longer having low barrier shelters.
Thursday, March 16: From Housing readiness to Housing First: You Can't Teach a Drowning Person to Swim
In 1992, Sam Tsemberis, a clinical and community psychology practitioner, launched Pathways to Housing. As the originator of Housing First, Tsemberis and colleagues transformed homeless policy requiring psychiatric treatment and/or abstinence in order to receive housing, to one that placed people into housing first and then addressing mental health and addiction issues. In this forum we will discuss these two different approaches-housing readiness to housing first- with an emphasis on the philosophy behind Housing First and its success-harm reduction. Topics include housing readiness, harm reduction, Housing First and fidelity to Housing First.
Thursday, March 30:Panhandling:What You Do to Get Money
"While kindness and generosity are staples of Utica's community, the city is requesting that residents not give money to panhandlers." Mayor Robert Palmieri, City of Utica
Mayor Palmieri's request is echoed throughout the developed world. In New York State, panhandling is a Constitutional Right that prohibits enforcement agencies from regulating or removing panhandlers in public spaces as long as they do not interfere with traffic or undermine the public's safety. In the end, the decision to give or not to give is left to the individual. But what should passersby do? What are the consequences of giving money to beggars? Will this encourage more panhandling? Will it increase homelessness? Who, if anyone, will it benefit>In this forum we will address these questions, as well as explore various policies towards panhandling. Topics include defining panhandling, public opinion, and promising and not so promising policies.
Each Conversation will be happening two different times on it's date.
2PM and 5PM
$10 donation suggested but not required
Gwendolyn Dordick received her Ph.D in sociology from Columbia University, and B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She currently teaches at the City College of New York, (CUNY) where she offers courses in urban sociaology, urban homelessness, and social policy in the U.S. and sociological field methosds.
Her book, Something Left to Lose: Personal Realtions and Survival among New York's homeless, concerns the efforts made by four groups of homeless people in New York City to construct shelter in places where it was not meant to be and is based on extensive ethnographic field work. Her later research explores the development and implementation of a comprehensive and coordinated continuum of both housing and supportive services designed to help the homeless overcome personal problems such as substance abuse and mental illness. This new policy focuses on "improving" homeless people by exploring the intersection of housing and recovery, more generically referred to a s sober housing and is intended as a study of policy in action. She most recently completed a study on the economics of panhandling and the developments of policies addressing panhandling.
"...the dying man everyone feared was in the greatest danger."
Rough Sleeper: Dr. Jim O'Connell's urgent mission to bring healing to homeless people, by Tracy Kidder
"They have subordinated everything in their lives - shelter, sustenance, and family - to injecting heroin."
Righteous Dopefiend, by Phillipe Bourgois and Jeff Schonber