(Homeless Union of GSO Updates) Criminalization hitting the fan at National Level under Trump Appointment of Robert Marbut to USIACH

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Hey Everyone –

Today President Trump announced that he will appoint Robert Marbut to the
United States Interagency Council on homelessness. This is incredibly
problematic as we can now expect Trump’s threats of mass round ups of
people experiencing homelessness to increase and efforts to criminalize
homelessness to escalate. Marbut is known as wholly unqualified consultant
who has made millions convincing cities in Florida and Texas to ban people
from sharing food, begging and ban people from sleeping on the streets –
and instead build gigantic correctional-style shelters which people
experiencing homelessness are then forced to go to. He rejects all the
evidence and studies that have shown what we know because of common sense –
that the most effective way to end homelessness is to provide people with
housing they can afford. Instead, he believes that we can use the police to
force people into institutions and force people to accept
institutionalization.

We need people to take Trump’s threats seriously and to be prepared for
increased criminalization and attacks on our communities. Advocates from
across the country are ringing alarm bells and organizing to have local
homeless advocacy boards to speak up and reject this appointment, as well
as Trump’s catastrophic plans. Below is a statement from the Western
Regional Advocacy Project – a coalition of homeless-led advocacy groups on
the West Coast whom the Homeless Union of Greensboro works with closely.

We need all of the groups that work on homeless issues on a local level –
from the Continuum of Care to individual shelter providers – and poor
people across the country to speak up and reject the vitriol and hate
coming out from the Trump administration against our unhoused and poor
neighborhoods.

Please read and share, stand up and fight back!

*Read More about Marbut Here: (News Article Link: How A Traveling
Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless)
<www.huffpost.com/entry/robert-marbut_n_6738948>. *
www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-04/homeless-robert-marbut-interagency-council-executive-director-trump

House Keys not Handcuffs!

Criminalization hitting the fan at National Level under Trump Appointment
of Robert Marbut to USIACH

12.4.2019

Pending final approval at a U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
meeting on December 10, Robert Marbut has been appointed Executive Director
of the USICH.[1]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn1> Before
receiving this appointment, Marbut worked as a Texas-based consultant
advising cities on how to decrease the size of their homeless communities.
Marbut rejects the widely accepted and proven method of housing first,
telling Huffpost “I believe in Housing Fourth.”[2]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn2> Instead,
Marbut follows a set of methods he developed himself, called “The Seven
Guiding Principles of Transformation.” Marbut’s approach can be understood
by looking at these principles and how he has applied them across the
country.

The first two principles, “Move to a Culture of Transformation” and
“Co-location and Virtual E-integration of as Many Services as Possible”
require houseless people to live in close proximity under heavy
supervision. He regularly pushes for large shelters, instead of permanent
housing. This is in-line with failed approaches from the 1980s. His first
major project, Haven for Hope, opened in 2010 with an annual budget of
$15,000,000 and room for 1,500 people. Five hundred of those people are
required to sleep in an outside courtyard.[3]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn3> Haven for
Hope also has 550 closed-circuit television cameras and a staff of 40
security-guards.[4]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn4>

Principles four and five are “Reward Positive Behavior” and “Consequences
for Negative Behavior,” which Diane Yentel, president of the National
Low-Income Housing Coalition, accurately described as “paternalistic,
patronizing, filled with poverty blaming/shaming.”[5]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn5> These
principles fail to account for the structural issues that created the
contemporary homeless crisis and instead fixate on blaming poor people for
homelessness. The Pinellas Safe Harbor in Florida, which Marbut also helped
to design, shows what those principles look like in practice. The shelter
is operated by the County Sheriff’s office out of an old jail, and
houseless people are required to sleep on the floor before “earning” a bed
with good behaviour.[6]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn6> The
Pinellas Safe Harbor was described in a 2014 report to the United Nations
Committee Against Torture as a “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” choice for
homeless people there.[7]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn7>

In order to make people actually use these shelter-jails, Marbut advised
cities to make living on the streets as difficult as possible for houseless
people. His sixth and seventh principles are “External Activities Must be
Redirected or Stopped” and “Panhandling Enables the Homeless and Must Be
Stopped.” Early criticism of Marbut came in 2014, after the city of Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida arrested 90-year-old Arnold Abbott and Food Not Bombs
volunteers for sharing food outside the downtown library. Said Marbut, “If
you give food on the street, you end up preventing people from going into
24/7 programming.”[8]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn8>

Sheriff’s department data from the Pinellas shelter indicated that just 7%
of those leaving the facility found permanent housing.[9]
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftn9> Marbut
employs methods that have been proven not only ineffective but harmful to
the very people he is now being tasked with helping.

——————————

[1] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref1>
Orekses,
B. (2019). ‘He wanted to ban feeding homeless people. Now he’s about to
lead a federal homeless agency.’ *Los Angeles Times*.

[2] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref2>
Delaney,
A. (2017). ‘How A Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless.’
*Huffpost*.

[3] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref3>
Delaney,
A. (2017). ‘How A Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless.’
*Huffpost*.

[4] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref4>
McHenry,
K. (2017). ‘Cities outlawing sharing food with homeless people.’ *People’s
Tribune*.

[5] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref5>
Ockerman, E. (2019). ‘Trump’s Pick to Lead Homelessness Council Thinks Free
Food Is ‘Enabling’’. *Vice News*.

[6] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref6>
Delaney,
A. (2017). ‘How A Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless.’
*Huffpost*.

[7] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref7>
Ockerman,
E. (2019). ‘Trump’s Pick to Lead Homelessness Council Thinks Free Food Is
‘Enabling’’. *Vice News*.

[8] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref8> Martin,
R. (2014). ‘Consultant On Homelessness: Cities Enable The Poor.’ *NPR*.

[9] <mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#m_-3865251108732719688__ftnref9>
McHenry,
K. (2017). ‘Cities outlawing sharing food with homeless people.’ *People’s
Tribune*.

*Contact:*

Western Regional Advocacy Project

Phone: 415.621.2533
Email: wrap@wraphome.org

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www.homelessunion.org