Homeless | KUNC

Homeless

Ashley Jefcoat / KUNC

The City of Fort Collins is considering limiting how long a person can sit or lie on a public sidewalk or bench in Old Town in order to combat ‘disruptive behaviors’ in the iconic downtown area.

Officials are even considering banning the use of public benches in Old Town all together.

The proposed policy changes are in response to complaints from Old Town businesses and results from a 2015 resident survey, according to city policy and project manager Ginny Sawyer.

Luke Runyon / KUNC/Harvest Public Media

The streets of Edgewater, Colorado, aren’t paved in green, but the city’s mayor says they might as well be.

After an influx of tax revenue from five retail marijuana shops, the small community of 5,300 people just west of Denver repaved every street in town. But that’s just the start. Mayor Kris Teegardin estimates the city’s coffers will pull in $1.2 million this year, a combination of its own sales taxes on the drug’s sales, and redistributed money from state taxes. That amount makes up roughly a sixth of the city’s total annual budget.

It’s an extreme example of marijuana tax dollars at work, best seen in the city’s plans for a multi-million dollar civic center with a new police station, library and fitness center. Teegardin says marijuana tax revenue will pay for half.

Work crews in Honolulu recently dismantled wooden shacks and tents that lined city streets and housed almost 300 people.

It was the latest example of a city trying to deal with a growing homeless population, and responding to complaints that these encampments are unsafe, unsanitary and, at the very least, unsightly.

Last month, Madison, Wis., banned people from sleeping outside city hall. And in New Port Richey, Fla., the city council voted to restrict the feeding of homeless individuals in a popular park.

Criminal Records, Not Diplomas, A More Likely Outcome Of Colorado Foster Care

May 15, 2015
Joe Mahoney / Rocky Mountain PBS I-News

A Rocky Mountain PBS I-News analysis of data provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services revealed that only 28.7 percent of foster youth will graduate from high school on time, but at least 38 percent will have been incarcerated between ages 16 and 19.

By age 19, foster youth who were never placed in a permanent home are more likely to have a criminal record than a high school diploma.

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before Marine Cpl. Zach Skiles left for Iraq in 2003, he shared a quiet moment with his father, Scott Skiles.

A few weeks ago, photographer David Gilkey and I went to an event for homeless veterans called Stand Down. We wanted to see what homeless veterans look like, and we wanted to photograph them.

We also wondered: How do they see themselves? We asked about 20 of them — that's how many came by our pop-up portrait studio. You can hear from some of them in the audio above, or just look at this.

About a decade ago, Kris Kalberer left her job as a retail manager to raise her kids and care for her elderly mother. For a while, the family did well on her husband's income. Then he lost his job.

Their finances spiraled out of control. They lost their house in March 2011, and since then, their lives have become transient. They stayed in motels, or with friends. Currently they live in their car.

When we first heard from Eddie Lanier Jr. and his friend David Wright in 2006, Eddie, the son of a former mayor of Chapel Hill, N.C., was homeless and a recovering alcoholic.

Aaron didn't intend to tell his classmates that he was homeless. But when he recorded his own story with StoryCorpsU — a project designed to help kids in high-needs schools build stronger relationships with their teachers — he says, it just came out.

"I felt ... like a big load was let off," Aaron explains. (NPR has withheld Aaron's last name, at the request of his foster care agency, to protect his privacy.) "I don't know what made me say it, but I'm like, 'Let me just be honest and just get it out.' "

Yelitza Castro, an undocumented immigrant who works as a housekeeper in Charlotte, N.C., cooks dinners for homeless men and women every other Saturday night. It's a tradition that started after she and her children spotted a man standing in the rain on a cold day with a sign asking for help.

Yelitza gave the man $5, she recalls, but her children wanted to take him out to dinner. She turned around to go back, but he was already gone.

"And we were thinking we have to do something," she says.

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