CFC # 10844

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION:

The National Coalition for the Homeless recommends that the following actions be taken:

1. A public statement by the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledging that hate crimes and/or violence against people experiencing homelessness is a serious national trend.

2. The Justice Department would issue guidelines for local police on how to investigate and work with people experiencing homelessness based on recommendations from the National Coalition for the Homeless. The Justice Department would recommend improvements to state law on how to better protect against violence directed against people experiencing homelessness, including tougher penalties.

3. A database to be maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice, in cooperation with the National Coalition for the Homeless, to track hate crimes and/or violence against people experiencing homelessness.

4. Inclusion of housing status in the pending state and federal hate crimes legislation. Pending federal bill is the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005 (H.R. 2662 in the U.S. House of Representatives; S.1145 in the U.S. Senate--109th Congress).

5. Sensitivity/Awareness training at police academies and departments nationwide for trainees and police officers on how to deal effectively and humanely with people experiencing homelessness in their communities.

6. A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study into the nature and scope of hate crimes and/or violent acts and crimes that occur against people experiencing homelessness. This proposed study will address the following:

            Causes of hate crimes/violence.

            Circumstances that contribute to or were responsible for the perpetratorsí behavior.

            Beliefs held by the perpetrators of these crimes and how their beliefs have changed since conviction.

            Thoughts and advice from the perpetrators to others who are considering hate crimes/violence against the homeless population.

            Community education, prevention and law enforcement strategies.