According to a 2014 report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, laws criminalizing homelessness have been spreading rapidly across urban areas of the United States. They criminalize behaviors and conduct that are often necessary for unsheltered and other homeless individuals, such as sleeping, sitting or begging in public, sleeping in vehicles, and food sharing in public spaces.
These laws make it very difficult for people experiencing homelessness to exist in the public domain and drive individuals from the cities, solely due to what is often a transient, vulnerable time in their lives. Further, these policies, especially laws prohibiting public food sharing prevent others from standing in solidarity with the homeless. This further isolates those experiencing homelessness and prevents them from building up social connections and support. According to the National Law Center on Homeless and Policy’s 2014 report on criminalization, 9 percent of US cities have passed laws banning food sharing in certain public areas. Further, a study published by the National Coalition for the Homeless in October 2014 has identified over 30 cities that have or that are in the process of enacting such legislation since January 2013.
As detailed in Randall Armster’s research on these policy measures, published in his 2003 article “Patterns of Exclusion: Sanitizing Space, Criminalizing Homelessness,” by criminalizing homelessness and eradicating unsheltered individuals from public view, the nature of this country’s democracy is changed. As a democratic country, the United States should allow and welcome all people to participate in public discourse and utilize public spaces. When forbidden to do this, homeless individuals are dehumanized, degraded, and shown that they are unwelcome and unworthy in such a “democratic” society.
For Joel, it’s a place to sit. The air from the heaters keeps the walkways warm and free of ice. The wind and snow from the streets are blocked by large, heavy doors. In this weather, the concourses under the city’s central business district become a safe haven from the outside world.
As temperatures slide back into the mid-20s again this month, Philadelphia’s Suburban Station is one of the few places where people experiencing homelessness can take shelter. Accessible 24 hours a day, the network of walkways and waiting areas offers an attractive space for those with nowhere else to go.
Noticing this pattern, homelessness assistance agencies joined together to open a drop-in engagement center called "the Hub of Hope" in the station’s concourses. The hub, which reopened this winter, allows organizations to provide services at a location that is accessible to the people who need them most.
By One Step Away Staff
On May 14, One Step Away will be honoring the life of Matthew Saad Muhammad with its fifth annual Knock Out Homelessness event, presented by Independence Blue Cross.
A former light heavyweight champion and member of the Boxing Hall of Fame, Saad Muhammad was a voice of homelessness advocacy here in Philadelphia up until his passing last May.
There are many forms of mental illness. Some forms have been described as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar and anxiety disorders as well as addictive behaviors. These types of mental illnesses can give a person self-esteem issues. Sadness and loss of interest are other signs of illness. These disorders can also lead to paranoia and even suicide as the world saw in the case of Robin Williams. It was reported that Robin suffered from depression and also had a history of addictive tendencies. This great actor allegedly hanged himself as a result of his mental illness, depression, on Aug. 11 of last year.
There is hope for anyone suffering from mental illness. There are psychological experts and prescription drugs that can help some of the afflicted people. There is a lot of speculation and research involved in what causes this mental illness that affects me and other Americans.
By Ethan Cohen
One Step Away
For an athlete who has represented his country on the international stage, Ellish Danzy started his soccer career in an unexpected way. "In basketball, baseball and football, you use your hands all the time, so I wanted to know what it was like to use your feet," Danzy explains with a chuckle, "So one day I went and bought the FIFA [soccer video game] for Xbox."
Philadelphia community leaders are coming together February 5, from 12-1pm to distribute the One Step Away paper in Center City alongside homeless vendors during the inaugural Big Sell Off.
The Big Sell Off is an international collaboration between street papers in 35 countries supporting and celebrating the more than 14,000 vendors at 114 street papers worldwide working to change their lives and escape poverty and homelessness.
“We are really excited to come together as a larger street newspaper movement and host The Big Sell Off in Philadelphia,” states Emily Taylor, One Step Away’s director. “We are hoping to make this an annual event, and are grateful for the passionate individuals who are serving as guest vendors at our inaugural Big Sell Off.”
By One Step Away Staff
One Step Away happened so fast. All we had was an idea of what it should be and the sense that we should be the change we wanted to see. So we started up without a lot of planning, just doing it, chasing an idea in our heads with what we could create with our hands, building the road as we traveled.
That was five years ago. Today it still feels like it happened at a million miles an hour; five years swept by in the blink of an eye.
By One Step Away Staff
“Obama, I ain’t know you was taller than me!” Jerry Tucker said to the 44th president of the United States of America as the two shook hands. A few moments later, Tucker was shaking hands with then-Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate, now Governor-elect, Tom Wolf. “You taller than me too?!”
Tucker, who has been a vendor for One Step Away since 2012, was on a reporting mission at the Liacouras Center at Temple University, where President Obama was campaigning on behalf of Wolf. It was the first event-reporting job that Tucker had been on and the first time he had been able to gain press access through his One Step Away affiliation.