Posts Tagged ‘Programs’

“If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.” – Proverbs 29:12

According to the AMA’s code of medical ethics, “Physicians have an obligation to assure the disclosure of medically appropriate treatment alternatives, regardless of cost.”

And yet America’s disabled veterans have been victimized by a corrupt claims agency within the Department of Veterans Affairs, with a well-documented history of falsifying evidence and shredding documents submitted by veterans in support of their claims in order to cheat America’s disabled veterans out of the benefits they EARNED.

Recently, Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman, who has been accused of running the VA’s hospital with a double secret waiting list, received a $9,345 annual bonus for 2013, despite possibly being responsible for the death of 40 veterans who died waiting for doctors’ appointments! This is exactly the same sort of Bizarro-World performance evaluation system that got VISN 4 Director Michael Moreland a $63,000 bonus just days before the VA Pittsburgh announced a deadly Legionnaires ‘disease outbreak in November 2012!  http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/4847570-74/bonus-moreland-veterans#axzz306pVtfBa

Doctor Sam Foote exposed the ‘secret waiting’ list at the Phoenix VA medical center. Doctor Foote is now retired, but he worked at the VA medical center for 24 years. Foote says he became suspicious in December of 2012. “We had thirteen thousand patients that we did not have primary care providers for, and we had over a year waiting list,” said Foote.

Dr. Foote told FOX 10 News that after a meeting with clinic directors and the head of primary care in 2012 it was decided that the VA doctors would pick up 67 new patients. “So by mid-January my clinic had pretty much finished our work ahead of everyone else. I said well, do you have any more patients for us? And he said no and that made no sense.”

Foote says the secret waiting list began in February of 2013 and that if they were on that list there was no record that the new patient ever came to the medical center. He explained how this was done: “You would come in and they’d register you in the computer, (or so you thought) and rather than hit save they would hit print and do a screen capture. Then they would not enter your data in the computer. They would take the paper up to health administrative services and then they would put it on a secret paper list at that time, and then shred the screen capture shot.”

Last week the VA’s medical director Sharon Helman told fox 10 News, “I have never directed staff to do a secret waiting list.” But Doctor Foote believes Sharon Helman is using a play on words. “She didn’t say she didn’t know about it and didn’t agree with it.” Said Foote. He believes that director Helman lied about wait times so that she could get a bonus. He’s asking anyone who may have lost a relative due to the wait times to contact him at sfootemd@gmail.com
http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/25337334/2014/04/25/va-whistle-blower-speaks-out-about-secret-waiting-list#ixzz2zxE9l0u8

Corruption in government is nothing new. It has existed since the first king sat on his throne. But it should infuriate us to think that those who have put themselves in harm’s way in order to faithfully serve our country and protect us from our enemies have been treated so badly by corrupt officials and politicians for so long:

A “Primetime Thursday” investigation in 2004 by Diane Sawyer uncovered disturbing information by hidden cameras about the quality of care and questionable management practices at some VA hospitals, including misdiagnosis. One patient, Terry Soles, who served in the Navy during the war in Vietnam, went to a V.A. hospital for two years complaining of intense abdominal pain and diarrhea. His wife finally took him to a private doctor, who diagnosed him with cancer. Soles died three days later.

Two years after a report regarding incompetent VA staff, US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the VA was still doing a poor job of checking health care providers’ backgrounds. At least 63 cases of malpractice were found between 1997 and 2002 that resulted because of the failure of a supervisor to oversee residents. These cases included misdiagnosis, surgical and medication errors, and inadequate care.

In November 2008, the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia sent a letter to more than 1,200 patients who were treated for ear, nose and throat, warning them they may have been exposed to infections.
Following a December 2008 investigation at the VA clinic in Murfreesboro, TN, officials discovered that clinic workers were not properly maintaining the medical equipment used to conduct colonoscopies. More than 6,000 patients were notified and offered free testing.

In March 2009 VA officials announced that veterans in South Florida may have been exposed to Hepatitis and HIV after being examined with contaminated medical equipment. According to reports, more than 3,200 veterans who received colonoscopies at the Miami VA medical clinic between May 2004 and March 12, 2009 are at risk of exposure to both Hepatitis and HIV.

So what can veterans do?
Filing a veterans’ medical malpractice claim under the FTCA is complicated and typically requires help from VA medical malpractice lawyers who understand the requirements for filing medical negligence lawsuits. For instance, before you sue, an administrative claim has to be made against the VA for the full amount of damages you have suffered, and that is difficult and risky to determine. Once you have filed your administrative claim, you won’t be able to ask for more damages—EVER AGAIN–unless you have evidence that proves additional damages are warranted and you didn’t have knowledge of them prior to filing your claim. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help determine how much in damages you are entitled to receive and will make sure you don’t “short change” yourself. Of course, a VA medical malpractice lawyer sometimes works FOR the VA.

After your administrative claim is filed with the FTCA, the VA is entitled to six months for investigation and review of your claim. The VA can then do the following:
• Accept the claim and pay it out in full
• Settle the claim for less
• Reject the claim outright.

If your claim is rejected, your next step is to file a lawsuit in federal court. If the VA does nothing within six months, this means that your claim has been rejected. You can sue in federal court under the FTCA, which allows you to file a lawsuit within 2 years of discovering your injury and what caused it. But keep in mind that this time frame includes the 6-month time period needed to file and complete your administrative claim. It is imperative that you meet these legal deadlines; if not, you may lose your claim forever! A veterans’ lawyer experienced in VA medical malpractice can help to protect your claim and possible recovery.

Our system of government was designed to serve and protect its people. But over the years it has become more and more corrupt. The Bible is very clear regarding corrupt governmental leaders: Proverbs 16:10 says, “The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice.” Proverbs 17:7 says, “Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool — how much worse lying lips to a ruler!” Proverbs 28:3 says, “A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.” Proverbs 28:16 says, “A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment, but he who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long life.” And Proverbs 29:4 says, “By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.”

Please pray with me that soon God will intervene so that His justice will be given to our brave men and women who have given up so much to serve our country.

Because if our military goes down then we will all go down!

 

 

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Researcher George Otis Jr. writes in Charisma Magazine.com: “Of the nearly 800 cases of authentic, transforming revival in the last 15 years, only two were in North America.”

So why has it been so long since the Church has experienced a true spiritual revival like those in the 1800s? Because our need for a true spiritual revival will always be determined by our true condition. The question of whether we will actually experience revival depends on how we perceive our condition. But until there is a conviction of need, there will never be a desire for change.

I find it interesting that so many Christians quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a formula for revival in the land. But they totally overlook verse 13: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people…” And then concludes with verse 14.

Why do so many Christians purposely overlook verse 13? Possibly, like Israel of old before they were exiled to Babylon, Christians today refuse to believe that God would purposefully bring adversity to us. (See Jeremiah 29:1-14) If all Christians in America would heed God’s warning and do what this verse says, I believe revival would come, but so far it hasn’t happened–Mainly because most Christians in the land have not repented.

Throughout history nations have fallen because people forgot God and did what was right in their own minds. (Judges 17:6) One only has to examine the fall of the Roman Empire to see that this is true. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet learned from the mistakes of our ancestors. The major causes for the fall of the Roman Empire were:
• Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor
• Decline in Morals which led to the Gladiatorial Games
• Political Corruption
• Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending
• Failing Economy
• Unemployment of the Working Classes
• Decline in Ethics and Values

Sound familiar?

There is much talk in Christian circles these days about “taking back our cities for God”. And there is no shortage of books and evangelists who promote strategies for transforming everything from our neighborhoods to Hollywood to Washington, D.C. But God has not called us to win the so-called culture war. He has not called us to change the world, but to overcome it. But how do we overcome the world when we have become so much like it?
I recently read an article that listed U.S. companies that were considered to be religious.
Yahoo Finance

Many of the companies were listed simply because they print Bible verses on their products or claim to begin meetings with prayer. But quoting a Bible verse or starting a meeting with a prayer does not necessarily make you religious. Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matt. 7:15-18)
What are the fruits some of the so called religious companies listed in the article?

• Forever 21 – Sells skimpy clothing for young trendy girls.
• Tyson Foods -The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a complaint against Tyson Foods, Inc. for violating the Federal Trade Commission Act after it was revealed that workers routinely abused animals.
• Jet Blue airlines – Lowest rated airline since they stranded passengers for hours in 2011.
• Carl’s Jr. – Uses racy videos with scantily clad women to sell their unhealthy menu.

An even better Old Testament passage than 2 Chronicles 7:14 concerning revival can be found in Psalms 85:6: “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” King David, who was a man after God’s heart, knew that the purpose of revival was so that people would rejoice in God. Revival is not to be used bring glory to a program or a denomination or a person, but to God.

This verse places the origin of revival in God and not man. It is God who must quicken us that we may be changed to a people that rejoice in the Lord. If God is the one who sends revival, then He is the one we must plead with. We must ask Him to send revival on the land. We must cast ourselves on His mercy and ask that He send what we do not deserve. We deserve judgment as a nation for our sins, but we must intercede with God to have mercy upon us and to turn us around by His mighty power. We need God’s mercy toward us in this hour that He might turn us around that we might be a people who will acknowledge Him and rejoice in Him.

We need to pray as the prophet Daniel did: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land…Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” (Read Daniel 9:1-19)

This is what love thy neighbor really means. You may not have a spare house, but how about a spare room?

Click here

William Booth was born in Sneinton, Nottingham, the only son of four surviving children born to Samuel Booth and Mary Moss. William’s father was wealthy by the standards of the time, but during William’s childhood, as a result of bad investments, the family descended into poverty and his father became an alcoholic. In 1842, Samuel Booth, who by then was bankrupt, could no longer afford his son’s school fees, and 13-year-old William was apprenticed to a pawnbroker. Samuel Booth died later that same year.

William Booth did not enjoy his job in the pawnbroker’s shop, but it made him only too aware of the poverty in which people lived and how they suffered humiliation and degradation because of it. Two years into his apprenticeship William Booth was converted and later became an evangelist. One day in 1865 he found himself in the East End of London, preaching to crowds of people in the streets outside the ‘Blind Beggar Pub’.

Slowly the mission began to grow but the work was hard and William would stumble home night after night haggard with fatigue, often with his clothes torn and bloody bandages wrapped on his head where a stone had struck him. Evening meetings were held in an old warehouse where urchins threw stones and fireworks through the window. It was not until 1878 when ‘The Christian Mission’ changed its name to ‘The Salvation Army’ that things began to happen. The idea of an Army fighting sin caught the imagination of the people and the Army began to grow rapidly. Booth’s fiery sermons and sharp imagery drove the message home and more and more people found themselves willing to leave their past behind and start a new life as a soldier in The Salvation Army.

Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. Sadly, many organizations like the Salvation Army, whose primary purpose began with winning souls and discipling new converts, have either become not much more than another social service program or have altogether dissolved.  Where are the William Booths–the Keith Greens–or the Leonard Ravenhills of today?

I fear they have been replaced with televangelists, computers, and iPhones. Our technology today gives us the ability to reach millions of people at once but it seems we don’t take the time to reach out to our neighbors right next door! And with all of our technology we’re no different today than we were during William Booth’s day:

In William Booth’s own words:

I pray that we all become more serious about the souls of mankind and Stand By The Door…

I Stand at the Door by Sam Shoemaker (from the Oxford Group)

I stand by the door.
I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world –
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door – the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch – the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.

Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it – live because they have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in –
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. ‘Let me out!’ they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving – preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door –
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But – more important for me –
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.

I had rather be a door-keeper… So I stand by the door.

 

A group of advocates for military veterans and high-profile local supporters want to build new temporary housing for homeless veterans. The project is called “Vets Town,” and aspires to provide housing and job training.

There were an estimated 600 homeless veterans in the Omaha area last year. Organizers said that the site could house 54 people immediately and potentially expand to more than 100 residents. The project would provide medical assistance to veterans, along with job training and educational opportunities.

But now, the Omaha World Herald has reported that fractures have appeared in the plan to build the new Omaha housing project for homeless veterans one week after Mayor Jim Suttle joined civic and business leaders at a City Hall press conference to build support for the effort.

Organizers said last week they were in the earliest stages of raising the estimated $3 million needed to construct the facility, when Mike Fornear, national operations manager for the Homeless Veterans Project, and Ed Shada, a local bank executive and head of Project Homeless Connect Omaha, both claimed that they own the name “Vets Town”.

Fornear said he copyrighted the term “Vets Town” last summer for a transitional housing for veterans and turned to Project Homeless Connect Omaha as a potential development partner. Shada said Fornear had no claim to the name “Vets Town” and said his attorneys had filed for use of the name and associated websites.

News of the severed relationship took Suttle’s office by surprise and it was unclear whether other civic leaders would remain involved with the Homeless Veterans Project.

This news was heartbreaking for me since my heart is drawn so much to the homeless community, and especially to those who have sacrificed so much for our country; and now this much needed project will be delayed even more over ownership of the name?

Sadly, this type of scenario plays out all too often within organizations designed to help those in the community. Many times I have witnessed unnecessary competition between different homeless shelters. All of them are committed to helping the homeless community and do a great job of offering a much needed service to the most vulnerable in the community. But I often wonder how much more they could accomplish if they would just work together.

And it’s no different within the church community. I read in the Bible that the early Church worked to bring unity to the Body of Christ. “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32- NLT) But today The Church is divided in heart and mind and share very little of what they have.

Twice I have tried to start a Christian coffee house ministry and both times the local businesses were very supportive of the plan. But in both instances it was the local churches that criticized the plan and worked against it — Possibly out of fear of losing members.

I have even seen divisions within a church body itself! Many church bodies have been split over the color of the carpet in the sanctuary! This should not be! How do churches expect to draw others into the kingdom when there is so much infighting among its members?

These churches and organizations could take a lesson from the seven counties of metro Denver where, despite the increased need in these tough economic times — For the first time in years, have banded together to ensure that people who need shelter will not end up sleeping on the streets. http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16900806

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford –

A charitable marketing program that paid homeless people to carry Wi-Fi signals at South By Southwest has drawn widespread debate at the annual Austin conference and around the country. 

BBH Labs, a unit of the global marketing agency BBH, gave 13 people from Austin’s Front Steps Shelter mobile Wi-Fi devices and T-shirts that announced “I am a 4G Hotspot.” The company paid them $20 up front and a minimum of $50 a day for about six hours work, said Emma Cookson, chairwoman of BBH New York.

She called the experiment a modernized version of homeless selling street newspapers. All of the money paid for Wi-Fi — an often difficult thing to find at SXSW — went to the participants, who were selected in partnership with Front Steps. ($2 was the recommended donation for 15 minutes of use.)

But many have called the program exploitative.

Wired.com wrote that it “sounds like something out of a darkly satirical science-fiction dystopia.”

Technology blog ReadWriteWeb called it a “blunt display of unselfconscious gall.” The topic became one of the most popular in the country on Twitter by Tuesday.

I’ve been homeless before and believe me, it’s no walk in the park. I donated plasma, found odd jobs and did whatever I could legally just to sustain myself from day to day. If something like this came around when I was homeless I’d be one of the first ones in line. They are working and getting paid from the private sector, not from some government program.

Do these critics think it would be better to keep them in abandoned warehouses where they would be kept safely out of sight? I don’t understand the controversy. BBH Labs managed to find some temporary employment for homeless people and folks are complaining about this? Would they be less critical of a restaurant owner who pays minimum wage to a homeless person to wear a chicken suit in front of their fast food restaurant?

Especially when some of the homeless who volunteered to carry Wi-Fi at SXSW made more money in a day than some of the members of some bands playing there. If fact, many of the bands that play SXSW end up paying to play there. http://www2.metrotimes.com/news/story.asp?id=4737

According to Community Action Network, poverty and lack of affordable housing are the two primary reasons that people become and remain homeless. For housing to be considered “affordable” a person/family should spend no more than 30% of his or her gross household income on housing. (U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development– HUD) Stable and affordable housing is the critical first step for individuals and families to gain employment and become self-sufficient.

Here are some interesting facts about Austin’s homeless community:

• On any given day, there are approximately 4,000 homeless individuals of which 1,900 are downtown. (Homeless Count 2004)

• Over 1,500 children are affected by homelessness in the Austin Independent School District.

• High Cost of Living Contributes to Homelessness. Austin has the highest housing costs for an urban area in Texas (Texas A&M Real Estate Center Report 2005)

• Low wages Contribute to Homelessness. Of the top ten occupational categories in the Austin area, nearly 30% of those jobs have a median wage of less than $10/hour. (WorkSource)

• The Homeless Stay in the Community. 41.2% of the homeless have lived in the Austin area more than 5 years. (Homeless Task Force, 2004 Survey)

Homelessness often precludes good nutrition and homeless children often experience physical and mental development delays:

• Homeless children suffer more health problems than housed children: 38% of children in homeless shelters have asthma, middle ear infection prevalence is 50% higher than national average, and over 60% of homeless children are under-vaccinated (Redlener & Johnson, 1999)

• Nearly one-fifth of homeless children repeat a grade in school and 16% are enrolled in special education classes –33% higher than housed children; much of this is due to their high mobility rate (Institute for Children & Poverty, 2001)

• At least 20% of homeless children do not attend school. Within a year, 41% of homeless children will attend at least two different schools; 28% of homeless children will attend three or more different schools.

ECHO is Austin’s HUD designated Continuum of Care (CoC) for Austin & Travis County. ECHO is charged with providing dynamic proactive leadership that engages policy makers and the community in ending homelessness. In order to accomplish this, ECHO engages in a variety of activities including serving as the homeless planning entity for the community; and advocating for homeless issues and solutions. 

Interestingly, Austin’s COC has been silent on this issue. I would think that since part of its mission is to advocate for homeless issues and solutions that they would not only support such a venture, but also implement a similar program in its homeless community.

I hope in the future more communities and organizations can implement these types of programs that allow low income people the ability to earn some extra money while retaining some of their dignity.

Today it seems that the world is being Fed-Xed to hell in a hand cart.

Unrest in the Middle East, rising gas prices and violent uprisings in many parts of the globe continues to plague our planet. Some theorize that these are signs of the beginning of the end. Others believe that we are at the precipice of the Great Tribulation and are anticipating the “Rapture of the Church”.

I believe the Bible gives us a more logical explanation —“My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.” Hosea 4:6 (NLT)  

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Prov. 29:18

I believe that we are being destroyed because we don’t know God. We know about God but we don’t really know God. Therefore, there is no revelation–no vision. When we have no vision Proverbs teaches us that people cast off restraint. Some interpret that to mean that people will run wild, but it actually means that we become discouraged– Which may cause some to run wild.

Think about it; when we become discouraged we sometimes do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do. Some turn to drugs or alcohol to try to numb the pain of discouragement. Others may turn to criminal activities. But it all stems from the same problem–We refuse to allow God to be a part of our lives.

This is not just a non-Christian problem. In fact, it has run rampant within the walls of many churches across the western world.

In his book, “Dead Church Walking”, Jimmy Dorrell states, “Every year more than 4,000 churches close their doors compared to just over 1,000 new church starts. Every year 2.7 million church members fall into inactivity.” Schaeffer Institute

Why is this? Because most churches rely on programs and other man–made strategies instead of relying on God’s Spirit to guide them. And regardless of the failure rate they continue to rely on man’s wisdom rather than God’s.

AA has a saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” The way the church is set up is not working and is not the way God planned it. Nearly everything Jesus did–preaching, healing, teaching; He did outside the walls of the temple. He ministered to the lame, the poor and the broken. He associated with drunkards, thieves and prostitutes.

God has called us to be a light to a darkened world.  “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:14-16

I believe that if only 10% of all believers in America would truly follow the example of the early Church and go out into the community where the hurting world lives, we would see a dramatic decrease in homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and violent crime in many parts of our community and thus, change the world.

Edmund Burke, Irish orator, philosopher, and politician is quoted as saying, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Some people today, (including some church members) equate spiritual response with “doing nothing.”  They believe that because God is sovereign He will do whatever He pleases regardless of what we say or do. But they fail to realize that there is a spiritual dimension that is real. And that this spiritual dimension includes God, souls, and spiritual forces.

Whatever happens anywhere in the cosmos is ultimately regulated by the highest authority: God. If you want to change what happens here in physical world, we would do well to address ourselves to the top, to God.

The materialistic approach to reality, which dominates the Western mind, believes that only the physical dimension is real; if something can’t be seen, touched, or detected by scientific instruments, it doesn’t exist.

Everyone who loves knows that this is not true. Neurologists can locate the site in the brain associated with feelings of love. Love does not take on a physical form that you can see or touch. Love is a spiritual force that overrides even the most basic instinct of self-preservation. And we recognize other attributes of the human soul–courage, perception, reason, imagination, memory, and devotion to truth as real, despite science’s inability to measure them. Even the universe is controlled by an unseen power that continues like a well-run corporation.

Still, others cling to the belief that if they simply pray for God’s will to be done everything will work out just as God had planned from the very beginning. But there are times when praying alone are not all that God requires of us. Sometimes we need to act on our faith as well. In James 2:18 we read, “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Later we read that faith without good deeds is useless. (v.20)

A survivor of a flood standing on a rooftop waiting for hours to be rescued may blame the rescue workers manning the boats. Or even blame God. Later however, a desperate neighbor floats near the submerged house clinging to a small log and is able to pull himself onto the roof. Investigations might reveal that the failures of the rescue teams stemmed from the lack of preparedness in city and state agencies. But could those failures be orchestrated by God to save yet another human from death?

We could liken the chain of divine influences to rain. Rain comes from above to below and the evaporation of water from below creates clouds, which in turn empties its moisture again as rain.

Polluted water causes acid rain. So in the same way, “polluted” actions in the physical world cycle up and cause harmful problems to “rain” down upon human beings. But when we draw closer to God through prayer combined with acts of righteousness, we can reverse even the most severe Divine decree.

The homeless have become the invisible people of our society. They remain in our minds as the lowest, the outcast, those who don’t fit in. It has become much easier to ignore them than to acknowledge that there is a problem that we are responsible for.

Not all of the homeless are the same. Some have lost jobs and fallen on hard times. For others, they have a network of supporters that give them a place to crash for a period of time. But for others the hard times perpetuate over years, sometimes even decades. These are the chronic homeless and they stand out as the most obvious failures in our society.

Our Town

Omaha is a fresh, dynamic city, merging the best in Midwestern hospitality with the energy of a big city at full throttle. There is something here for everyone. In addition to all of the great attractions and things to do in Omaha, you’ll find a number of things that are budget-friendly. Omaha’s nightlife offers a variety of Irish and Micro Brew Pubs, Dance Clubs, live Jazz and Rock bands. With 17 public and semi-public courses Omaha offers something for golfers of all levels. In Omaha, we have so many attractions you’ll have a hard time choosing where to start and how much fun you can pack in.

But there is another side of our city which is not as well-known and much harder to see. We also have a homeless community living here in our midst. These people largely stay out of sight. They live their lives in quiet desperation largely unnoticed by the rest of the community. They are known to each other and often help each other. Although their stories are different, they each have their own difficult lifestyle in common. Their focus is on the most basic elements of life – food, shelter, basic clothing and companionship.

Certainly, we have agencies trying to help these people. Many of our local churches are involved as well. There are food banks and feeding programs and a program to provide warm, dry, safe shelter– especially when the weather is bad.

A New Way for the Church

Many of us look at the homeless in disgust, knowing that if they would just shake their addiction and apply themselves they could get a job and get back on their feet. Others look at the homeless and feel sympathy for them and want to help, but are only able to throw an occasional dollar their way.

But as followers of Jesus Christ, how are we supposed to react? Many believers think that if the homeless would just commit themselves to Jesus, then their lives would get straightened out and they could be normal participants in society. What many Christians don’t know is that at many of those who live on the street already have committed themselves to Jesus and are doing their best to live a Christian life. Yes, some are addicts and are mentally ill, but we cannot blame homelessness exclusively on mental illness or addiction either.

As followers of Jesus we should not to stand at a distance from the homeless. We must not separate ourselves from what we perceive to be the lowest in society—whoever they are. Can we continue our practice of throwing evangelistic messages and food to the cold and grief-stricken, while we stay warm, comforted and well-fed in our buildings? We need to embrace some of these outcasts as brothers and sisters, and others as the poor who need our help. As followers of Scripture which teaches compassion, we must stand with those on the street.

But how are we to do this? Thousands of homeless are just too much for any church to bear, let alone the small percentage of believers that are stirred by the Spirit to assist the homeless. But the Lord has not called us to help the massive crowd, only those we know. To assist the homeless is not a matter of a huge ministry with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rather it is a one-on-one ministry.

From time to time my wife and I have invited homeless people into our own home. At times it was hard. Many times we were taken advantage of. A few times things were stolen from us. But there was not one time that we felt that we were not doing the right thing. Because there are some that we helped who are now our good friends who are living healthy lives dedicated to God.

If every church had only two people or three people among their congregations who would be a friend and support just a single homeless person, then I believe our whole society would change. The homeless would no longer be outcast, or invisible strangers in our midst. They would be members of our churches, participants in our society and our friends.

Very few churches have the resources to have a shelter. And it is not necessary for every church to have a food pantry; But there is one common problem within the homeless community that any believer can help with—their isolation. The strength of true followers of Jesus is not money, or political power. But our strength has always been our faith, hope, and love— faith in One greater than ourselves, hope in a better way of life, and love for one another.  If we take these strengths and focus them on the homeless, then the landscape of the American homeless will change. The Church will have a new people. And Christ will be glorified.

Why the Homeless Don’t Come to Church

I believe that many of the homeless are committed, baptized Christians. Yet most of us don’t see them in our churches. This is not because the homeless don’t go to church. There are missions that hold bible studies, individual worship services, and many other venues for the homeless to worship and serve God. But why are there so few churches that specifically target the homeless, and welcome them? If you don’t see the homeless in your church, it’s likely due to a cultural difference.

The homeless do not refrain from coming to these churches because they are not really Christian. They don’t avoid them because they feel they are greater sinners than other church-going Christians. It is because they feel uncomfortable or out of place and that everyone is judging them.

Every church is not just a spiritual experience, but a cultural one. We have certain customs and different kinds of worship that on one hand are specifically for a certain cultural group which, on the other hand, push away those of different cultural or social background. For instance, if we speak only Spanish in our congregation, we do not offer a welcoming atmosphere to those who only speak English. This is not a bad thing, but we shouldn’t wonder why no Spanish speaking people come to our English only services. Similarly, if everyone in your church is exclusively clothed in suits or dresses, and associate with like-dressed friends, it should be no wonder that homeless people, even if they wandered into the church, wouldn’t feel welcome.

Although much is being done already by agencies, churches, and individuals, I wonder how Jesus would view our concern for these people? Is there a way in which we could be more involved personally? What would Jesus do if he had the resources most of us have, to help meet the needs of these struggling people? How does Scripture tell us to react to these poor and outcast of society?

Here is what God said through the prophet Isaiah:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: ‘Here am I.’ If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” (Isa 58:6-10)

We are to show the same respect to the poor as we do to the rich:

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”  (James 2:1-4)

We are to offer hospitality, clothing, shelter and food:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)

We are not to think of ourselves as more highly than others:

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3)

Most of all, according to Scripture, we are to love. This doesn’t always mean giving money or food, although we shouldn’t be closed to that. But it does always mean being patient, being kind, not putting ourselves above the other person, but bearing each other’s burdens and enduring with them. (See: I Corinthians 13)

The Omaha Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless said Tuesday that it’s been awarded $1.15 million for new permanent supportive housing programs. The agency says the some of that money will help provide 60 additional beds for the homeless. That’s on top of a previously announced $1.3 million renewal project award. Omaha mayor Jim Suttle said the award is a major stride for Omaha’s vision to end homelessness.

At the same time Sen. Ben Nelson said that he wants a complete audit of the Omaha Housing Authority’s finances to answer questions about how the agency handled more than $5 million of its federal funding.

OHA’s finances have been a problem in recent months. Earlier this year the agency had trouble paying its bills, leading the OHA board to pass a package of spending cuts and layoffs in March. OHA also received an “F” in financial management on a recent report card from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

OHA is required to repay $1.1 million in federal Section 8 voucher funds that were improperly used for the agency’s operations last year, Nelson and OHA board members said. In addition, over the years, OHA incorrectly used $1.5 million from another fund and loaned $2.5 million in public housing funds to its nonprofit development affiliate, Housing in Omaha.

Omaha is not alone in these problems of mismanagement of HUD funds. Many agencies in cities across the nation are being audited because of mismanagement of HUD funds.
http://www.hudoig.gov/recovery/ARRAaudits.php

The problems include financial mismanagement, fraud, and failure to comply with red tape. These problems were found in a broad array of programs. A Cato essay on HUD scandals explains why the department is particularly susceptible to such problems:
A root cause of HUD scandals is that the department has a large number of costly subsidy programs, and each involves a tangled web of stakeholders. Many HUD programs divide responsibilities between federal, state, and local policymakers, and they involve private interests such as developers and financial companies. The multiplicity of interests and the complexity of the programs create opportunities for people in the public and private sectors to take personal advantage of these programs.”

http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/hud-auditor-finds-problems

I can’t help but wonder if this has anything to do with so many homeless families that have been denied Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (H.P.R.P.) assistance. Many families are denied assistance because they have no sustainable income. (That’s why they’re homeless)

A 30-year-old mother of a 7-year-old daughter and a set of 16 month old triplets have been living at the Siena Francis House, 1702 Nicholas St. in Omaha, where she shares a tiny room with her four children.

She lost her apartment because the triplets’ father, who was working and paying rent, is no longer in the picture. It was too hard for her to juggle full-time employment and child care she tries to work out with help from relatives.

She has finished high school but has no college. None of the three jobs she’s interviewed for since arriving at the shelter March 16 have called her back. Her 1987 Crown Victoria barely runs. She doesn’t trust it to haul her children, and there isn’t enough space.

Therefore her family is living at the shelter in a tiny toy room just off the TV room and not separated by any door; there’s a tiny playground on a strip of grass fenced in that offers little privacy and separation.

There are a myriad of personalities sharing their limited space. Some women are in the shelter’s addiction recovery program. Some have mental illnesses. As cute and happy as those blue-eyed, round-faced chubby triplets are, they are hardly noticed by some women crashing out in front of the single TV.

She is trying to get into an affordable apartment or home. The Omaha Housing Authority, the state’s biggest landlord for the poor, has a two-year waiting list for its Section 8 program. Section 8 is the federal rent voucher program that reduces rents on the private market and offers more housing choice to low-income people.

The OHA’s attorney George Achola, informed about her situation Wednesday, said he’d see if there was a way to help her sooner. Her main advocate at the shelter is trying to get her federal aid like a small monthly welfare check but in the meantime, she has no other option for her family but to stay at the shelter.

She is not the only homeless mother. As of midweek, Omaha’s three emergency shelters counted 110 mothers and 148 children. The actual numbers are probably higher because the mothers often double up with relatives or friends and not part of an official count.

Due to privacy concerns I am unable to contact this woman (or anyone else who lives in shelters) but I would be curious to know if she was given the opportunity to apply for HPRP assistance or if she too, would be denied assistance. Even though many of the chronic homeless have been helped by this program such as the woman in the video below:

It seems that many hard working families have fallen through the cracks simply due to the fact that they have fallen on hard times and currently have no sustainable income.

I would also be curious to know just how the $2.45 million in funds that was awarded to the Omaha Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) was used.

Is the funding for HPRP also going to be audited by Senator Nelson? Will the audit include funding for MACCH? Once the audit is done will the public have access to those documents?

These are just a few of the unanswered questions many may have.

As many of you know, I spent months investigating HPRP with an email and letter writing campaign contacting to many officials in city and state government including Senator Ben Nelson and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan with very little success.

Now with recent reports of mismanagement of funds it appears that the saying is true that, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Tad DeHaven of the CATO Institute wrote, “We have learned that when the government intervenes in the housing industry, politically driven decisions lead to corruption and economic distortion, not efficient public policies. The federal government should begin withdrawing from housing markets, including dismantling the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/hud/scandals

Maybe it’s time for the Homeless Community to march on Washington so that our leaders can see the enormity of the homeless problem up close and personal.

Remember, “By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.” Proverbs 29:4 NIV

The housing and homelessness crisis in the United States has worsened over the past two years, particularly due to the current economic and foreclosure crises. By some estimates, more than 311,000 people nationwide have been evicted from their homes this year after lenders took over the properties.

People being evicted from foreclosed properties and the economic crisis in general have contributed to the growing homeless population. As more people fall into homelessness, local service providers are seeing an increase in the demand for services.

An unfortunate trend in many cities around the country has been to turn to the criminal justice system to deal with the homeless people living in public spaces.

This trend includes measures that target homeless people by making it illegal to perform normal activities in public. These measures prohibit activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and begging in public spaces, usually including criminal penalties for violation of these laws.
The criminalization of the homeless includes:
• Legislation that makes it illegal to sleep, sit, or store personal belongings in public spaces in cities where people are forced to live in public spaces;
• Selective enforcement of more neutral laws, such as loitering or open container laws, against homeless persons;
• Sweeps of city areas where homeless persons are living to drive them out of the area, frequently resulting in the destruction of those persons’ personal property, including important personal documents and medication; and
• Laws that punish people for begging or panhandling to move poor or homeless persons out of a city or downtown area.

Sarasota, FL
In February 2005, the City Commission unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting “lodging out of doors.” The previous “no-camping” law was ruled unconstitutional by a state court last year because it was too vague and punished innocent conduct. A new law prohibited using any public or private property for “lodging” outdoors without permission from the property owner.

In June 2005, a state court found the “no lodging law” unconstitutional. County Judge David L. Denkin said the ordinance gave police officers too much discretion in deciding who is a threat to public health and safety, and who is just taking a nap on the beach. City commissioners have long insisted that the ordinances are about protecting people, but the ordinance has been used to arrest homeless persons.

Nonetheless, in August 2005, the city commissioners passed yet another ordinance, strangely similar to the previous two that were ruled unconstitutional. The new ordinance makes it a crime to sleep without permission on city or private property, either in a tent or makeshift shelter, or while “atop or covered by materials.” The city commissioners invented a list of criteria to determine if a person violates the new law.

One or more of the following five features must be observed in order to make an arrest: “numerous items of personal belongings are present; the person is engaged in cooking activities, the person has built or is maintaining a fire, the person has engaged in digging or earth-breaking activities, or the person is asleep and when awakened states that he or she has no other place to live.”

Advocates were shocked that the ordinance actually includes being homeless, or having “no other place to live” as itself a criterion for arrest. Advocates argue that this ordinance, like its predecessors, targets homeless people. The new law has been challenged in state court by defendants who were charged under the law. The court upheld the law, finding it constitutional.

Little Rock, AR.
The city’s agenda with regard to homeless people has become more aggressive and blatant in the following incidents:

The only day shelter, and only place where homeless people could wash their clothes, Saint Francis House, closed in 2005 after a long history of police harassment of homeless people using that facility, as well as a withdrawal of funds for its operation. When asked to comment upon the closing of Saint Francis House, Sharon Priest, a spokesperson for the Downtown Partnership, said that she was “glad” it was gone, but was still not satisfied, because of “that soup kitchen [Stewpot] which is right there.”

Other reports compiled by Hunger-Free Arkansas indicate the criminalization of homeless men and women throughout the city. In a case of illegal search and seizure, a state trooper illegally searched and detained a homeless man, by claiming he suspected the homeless man was dealing drugs. The state trooper arrested the individual, who spent the night in jail and missed work the next day. The homeless man had no record of any drug-related offenses. Upon release from prison, only his driver’s license was returned. He did not receive his wallet or other property before he was told to leave. Due to the arrest, the homeless man was suspended from work for 30 days and was taunted by employees for having to spend the night in jail.

In another incident, two homeless men reported officers of the Little Rock Police Department, in separate incidents, had kicked them out of the Little Rock Bus Station. Both men were holding valid tickets and transfers. Despite showing the police their tickets, both men were told that although the buses they were awaiting would arrive within 30 minutes, they could not wait on the premises because they were loitering. The police subsequently evicted the men. In some instances, others have been told that they could not wait at the bus station “because you are homeless.”
For more information on cities that persecute the homeless click here.

On March 30, the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness hosted a briefing on family homelessness:”A Growing Epidemic: Homeless Children, Youth and Families.” The briefing was held in collaboration with a coalition of advocates including The National Center. Highlights included newly introduced legislation, the “Educational Success for Children and Youth Without Homes Act of 2011.” This bill amends the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program and Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It promotes school stability; improves access to transportation; increases school districts’ ability to identify and serve homeless children; and increases access to early childhood education, summer school, before and after-school programs, and other educational opportunities. Learn more from NAEHCY.

Under McKinney-Vento, school districts must: appoint a McKinney-Vento liaison; identify homeless children and youths; implement a coordinated system for ensuring that homeless children and youths are advised of their rights, are immediately enrolled, and are provided necessary services, including transportation to and from the child’s school of origin, as well as special education, gifted and talented services, etc.; document that written notice of rights has been provided; prohibit schools from segregating homeless children; and identify and remove barriers that may cause difficulties in the educational success of homeless children and youths.

The McKinney-Vento Act also guarantees that homeless students have the right to continue attending their school of origin. School of origin is defined as the school that the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. For example, if a child was attending school in District A while permanently housed but during the school year became homeless and was living in a shelter in a different district, the school in District A would be the school of origin.

Unfortunately, many school districts ignore the McKinney-Vento Act and continue to discriminate and criminalize homeless students and their parents.

Homeless woman prosecuted for enrolling son in Connecticut school

Connecticut authorities recently filed theft charges against Tanya McDowell, a homeless woman, alleging that she used a false address to enroll her son in a higher-income school district, The Stamford Advocate reported. If she’s convicted, McDowell may end up in jail for as many as 20 years and pay a $15,000 fine for the crime.

McDowell is a homeless single mother from Bridgeport who used to work in food services, is now at the center of one of the very few false address cases in the Norwalk, CT, school district that is being handled in criminal court–rather than between the parent and school.

Authorities are accusing McDowell of enrolling her 5-year-old son in nearby Norwalk schools by using the address of a friend. (Her friend has also been evicted from public housing for letting McDowell use her address.)

McDowell says she stayed in a Norwalk homeless shelter sometimes–but she didn’t register there, which would have made her son eligible to attend the school. “I had no idea whatsoever that if you enroll your child in another school district, it becomes a crime,” the 33-year-old told The Stamford Advocate.

According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, if a dispute arises between a school district and a homeless family regarding school placement, the child must be immediately enrolled in the school of the parent’s choice (usually, the school of origin) until the dispute is resolved.

It is very important that the child not be kept out of school while the dispute is being resolved. Each school district must have a written dispute resolution policy in place. For more information on this issue in your state please click here.

Tonya McDowell, 33, whose last known address was 66 Priscilla St., Bridgeport, was charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny for allegedly stealing $15,686 from Norwalk schools. (The amount the school alleges is the cost for her 5 year old son’s education.)

She was released after posting a $25,000 bond. McDowell’s babysitter, Ana Rebecca Marques, was also evicted from her Roodner Court public housing apartment for providing documents to enroll the child at Brookside Elementary School.

She said she knew a man who owned a home on Priscilla Street and he allowed her to sleep at the home at night, but she had to leave the home during the day until he returned from work.

She also acknowledged that she stays from time to time at the Norwalk Emergency Shelter when she has nowhere else to stay.
McDowell also admitted that Marques was her son’s babysitter from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. after the boy got out of school.

After the Norwalk Housing Authority became aware that Marques helped McDowell by providing documents needed to get McDowell’s son into Brookside, Marques was evicted from her apartment in January.

The school system always speculates that students are attending Norwalk schools from outside the district, and they hire private investigators to look into the allegations. This is the district’s way of cracking down on this.

Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Jack Chiaramonte expressed surprise at McDowell’s arrest and the investigation that led to it. “I don’t get that at all,” Chiaramonte said. “Usually when they find a kid out of district, they send him back. I have never heard of people being arrested for it, but I am not sure of the law. For my understanding, whenever we find someone from another district we send them back.”

Mayor Richard Moccia said that he was aware that an investigation was proceeding in the case and that an arrest was possible and said, “This now sends a message to other parents that may have been living in other towns and registering their kids with phony addresses.”

Homeless Children Denied Equal Access to Education in Hawaii

Homeless parents and children face innumerable barriers when they try to access education in the Hawaii public school system. Alice Greenwood, is one of eight plaintiffs named in a lawsuit who is a homeless parent with physical disabilities whose 6-year-old child missed 33 days of school last year because state officials failed to provide transportation. She said, “Every child deserves an education. He shouldn’t be punished just because he’s homeless. It’s not his fault.”

Olivé Kaleuati and Venise Lewis reported similar problems. School officials refused to allow Kaleuati’s children to enroll because they were unable to provide a permanent address or moved out of the school area. As a result, the children were forced to miss school or change schools. Lewis reported numerous incidences where her children had to skip school because she had no money to pay for bus fare.

Plaintiffs repeatedly plead with school officials for help – only to be threatened or ignored. Tragically, these examples are typical of the problems reported by homeless parents and children throughout the state.

Calling the state of Hawaii’s treatment of homeless children a travesty, the American Civil Liberties Union joined other civil rights groups and attorneys in filing a class action lawsuit challenging the state’s failure to provide homeless children with equal access to public education.

The lawsuit – filed on behalf of the homeless parents and their children – charges state officials with ignoring their legal obligations to provide homeless children with equal access to a free and appropriate public education in violation of the McKinney-Vento Act. The lawsuit also charges state officials with violating constitutional requirements to provide equal access to public education without regard to the status of homelessness.

All of this points to one of the biggest reasons why we must overhaul how we fund the American public education system. It makes no sense to deny children — especially those from the poorest households — the ability to get a high-quality education. Yet this will continue as long as school funding remains in a black hole in which the state funds large portions of the cost, while the flow of local dollars allows for districts to oppose expansive school choices and shortchange children.

In Connecticut, for example, state revenues account for only 38 percent of all school spending, well below the 48 percent national average (in Norwalk, the state contributes just 22 percent).

If Connecticut took over full funding, it could allow for more-expansive school choices and ultimately, hold failing districts such as Bridgeport accountable for its academic neglect.

We all want better lives for our children than what we had. Parents deserve the ability to give their children opportunities for success in life. De-criminalization of homeless parents, expanding school choices, and ending zip code education is needed as part of homelessness reform.

The Criminalization of Homelessness report comes out every two years, in January. The entire report is available on NCH’s website.