Homeless conference focuses on strategies for regional collaborations

EL PASO – The projected image of a middle-aged man prostrate on the sidewalk, wrapped in a blanket in front of a downtown shop presented a stark image of homeless hopelessness highlighted by the daybreak sun. “What really gets to me the most is that what I see a potential worker laying down in the street in front of a local business where he can’t work because he doesn’t have a home,” said Annette, one of a small group of homeless and former homeless persons who presented a series of stark photos they had taken to a recent conference here. The projected images entitled “Voices and Images of Homelessness” told a story of fear, anger, but also one of hope and joy in life. “I see people trying to survive. There is nowhere to go.

New El Paso law curbing ‘aggressive’ solicitation may have too broad a sweep

EL PASO — On a late Sunday afternoon Eddie Salas Cano, 32, walked from the Opportunity Center on Myrtle Avenue to the busy gateway intersection on Missouri and Cotton wearing worn-out clothes and he stood near the cars holding up a sign that read “Homeless.”

Some drivers quickly rolled up their windows as Salas paced back and forth hoping for someone to drop a dollar. The meager moneys that homeless people like Cano pick up at intersections could be threatened by a new city ordinance that could target them even if they don’t pose a threat. “I have no family and no support, so I usually go to the Opportunity Center for assistance. When I don’t have any money to eat I stand holding my sign hoping for at least two dollars for the day,” Cano said. On October 9, the El Paso City Council passed an ordinance that bans aggressive solicitation in certain parts of the city in front of homes and businesses.

Her own struggle helps former foster child guide similar students through crisis situations

EL PASO — Once a foster child herself, Jessica Archuleta now helps former foster children achieve their goals of stability and higher education. “Living through the foster care system didn’t define me. It didn’t get me where I was today,” said Archuleta, now an outreach specialist in the Foster, Homeless and Adopted Resource (FHAR) program at the University of Texas at El Paso. “It was my own experiences in life and how I dealt with them. Realizing that helped me realize I wanted to help other people in their experiences and give them a positive outlook.” Archuleta says she and her brother were placed in child crisis centers more than 20 times.

Unwritten rules guide homeless in Imperial Valley

EL CENTRO, Calif. – Vagabonds, vagrants, transients, nomads, hobos, or even the more polite term we use for them, the less fortunate. There are plenty of names for them, but they all refer to the homeless – a subculture of our society that some people often feel uncomfortable with. We often encounter them on a daily basis. At the end of freeway off-ramps, in city parks, fast food restaurants, or sitting outside our own homes under a shady tree.

The Invisible Tragedy of Homelessness

EL PASO, Texas — Homelessness has been an ongoing problem for many years in the United States, and many only see what’s on the surface, a person usually begging for spare change. The unseen reality is that in the United States about 3 million people are homeless and the recession will leave about 1.5 million more people without a roof over their heads over the next two years, according to The National Alliance to End Homelessness. The stereotype of a homeless person is someone who is too lazy to get a job or is a drug addict. Although there are people who choose to be on the streets and there are those with a serious dependency problem, about 41 percent of those who are homeless are families and about 1.5 million children were homeless just last year according to the National Center of Family Homelessness. “The homeless are as diverse as the rest of the population,” said Dr. Randall Amster, professor of Peace Studies at Prescott College and executive director of the Peace and Studies Association.