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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION:

The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty recommend the following:

1.  Inclusion of housing status in the pending state and federal hate crimes legislation.

H.R. 3419
Introduced by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) in the current session of Congress

Purpose: To amend the Hate Crime Statistics Act to include crimes against homeless persons

H.R. 262- David Ray Ritcheson Hate Crime Prevention Act
Introduced by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) in the current session of Congress

Purpose:  To  provide support to victims of hate crimes

2.   Awareness training at police academies and departments nationwide for trainees and police   officers about the causes and solutions to homelessness and how to deal effectively and humanely with people experiencing homelessness in their communities.
  
3.    Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureaus (made up of homeless and formerly homeless people) become established in communities around the country. Speakers would visit both public and private schools in communities for the purposes of information and education, as young people perpetrate a significant portion of the violence against homeless persons. With support from AmeriCorps*VISTA, NCH has established Speakers’ Bureaus in Florida and Georgia.  NCH plans to launch bureaus in more states in 2009.  For more help and technical assistance in establishing a local Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau in your community, contact Michael Stoops, Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau Project Director at:  Ph. (202) 462-4822; Email: mstoops@nationalhomeless.org, or visit http://www.nationalhomeless.org/faces/index.html  

4. 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 problem.

5. The U.S. Department of Justice issues guidelines for local law enforcement on how to investigate and work with people experiencing homelessness based on recommendations from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. The U.S. Department of Justice recommends improvements to state laws on how to better protect against violence directed at people experiencing homelessness, including tougher penalties.

6. With the assistance of the National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, and criminal justice professionals, add “housing status” information to the checklist of data maintained as part of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) maintained by the FBI.  Similar efforts should be undertaken by state uniform crime reporting (UCR) agencies.

7. A governmental 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 perpetrators’ 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.
  • Factors in the community that may be contributing to targeting of homeless persons, such as measures that criminalize homelessness.
  • Contributing factors to homeless persons’ vulnerability, such as lack of adequate shelter or housing, and ways to address those factors.
  • Community education, prevention, and law enforcement strategies.

8. Cities should implement more constructive approaches to homelessness and not implement or enforce criminalization of homelessness measures.

9. The federal, state, and local governments should prioritize creating and providing adequate affordable housing and services to bring an end to homelessness in our communities.


CONTENTS: Main page | pdf of full report | Acknowledgements | Dedication | Executive Summary | Purpose, Methodology, and Previous Reports | Introduction | Historical Summary of Hate Crimes/Violence Data for 1999-2008 | Summary of Hate Crimes/Violence Data in 2008 | Summary of Teen/Young Adult Involvement in Hate Crimes/Violent Acts | Summary of Ages of the Accused versus Ages of the Victims | Summary of Victims Who Were Middle-Aged | Cities where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | Map of Cities where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | States where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | Map of States where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred in 2008 | Cities Where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred – 1999-2008 | Map of Cities Where Hate Crimes/Violence Occurred – 1999-2008 | Comparison of Hate Crime Homicides vs. Lethal Attacks on Homeless Individuals | National Media Coverage of Hate Crimes/Violent Acts Against Homeless People | Video Exploitation of Homeless People | Recognizing Anti-Homeless Violence as Hate Crime, by Brian Levin | Legislation | Recommendations for Action | Model City/County/State Legislation/Resolutions | Adopted City/County/State Legislation/Resolutions | Public Education Initiatives | Listing of Incidents by City | Case Descriptions Involving Deaths | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Rape/Sexual Assault | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Setting on Fire | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Beatings | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Shootings | Case Descriptions Involving Non-Lethal Police Harassment/Brutality | Appendix A: Sources | Appendix B: NCH Hate Crimes Public Service Ads |

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