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Earth Policy Institute;
America's century-old love affair with the automobile may be coming to an end. The U.S. fleet has apparently peaked and started to decline. In 2009, the 14 million cars scrapped exceeded the 10 million new cars sold, shrinking the U.S. fleet by 4 million, or nearly 2 percent in one year. While this is widely associated with the recession, it is in fact caused by several converging forces.
Earth Policy Institute;
As the debate unfolds about whether to build a 1,711-mile pipeline to carry crude oil from the tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas, the focus is on the oil spills and carbon emissions that inevitably come with it. But we need to ask a more fundamental question. Do we really need that oil?
Americans for the Arts;
This particular monograph will focus on one unique arts community located in rural southeastern Utah. This community is comprised of a group of extraordinary individuals - known as Inside Images - presently incarcerated at the San Juan County (SJC) jail in Monticello, a county-owned facility which contracts with the state of Utah to house state prisoners.
National Coalition for the Homeless;
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. On March 27, 2008, CBS News reported that 38 percent of foreclosures involved rental properties, affecting at least 168,000 households.1 The Sarasota, Florida, Herald Tribune noted that, by some estimates, more than 311,000 tenants nationwide have been evicted from homes this year after lenders took over the properties.2 People being evicted from foreclosed properties and the economic crisis in general have contributed to the growing homelesspopulation.
As more people fall into homelessness, local service providers are seeing an increase in the demand for services. In Denver, nearly 30% of the homeless population is newly homeless. The Denver Rescue Mission has reported a 10% increase in its services. The State of Massachusetts reports that the number of families living in shelters has risen by 33% in the past year. In Atlanta, Georgia, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless reports that 30% of all people coming into the Day Services Center daily are newly homeless. In Concord, New Hampshire, the food pantry at First Congregational Church serves about 4,000 meals to over 800 people each month, around double the rate from 2007.
Of the 25 cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors for its annual Hunger and Homelessness Report, 19 reported an increase in homelessness in 2008.8 On average, cities reported a 12 percent increase. The lack of available shelter space leaves many homeless persons with no choice but to struggle to survive on the streets of our cities.
Even though most cities do not provide enough affordable housing, shelter space, and food to meet the need, many cities use the criminal justice system to punish people living on the street for doing things that they need to do to survive. Such measures often prohibit activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and/or begging in public spaces and include criminal penalties for violation of these laws. Some cities have even enacted food sharing restrictions that punish groups and individuals for serving homeless people. Many of these measures appear to have the purpose of moving homeless people out of sight, or even out of a given city.
As criminalization measures can be counterproductive in many ways, the U.S. Congress recently passed and the President signed legislation, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, which requires the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness to devise constructive alternatives to criminalization measures that can be used by cities around the country.
Homes Not Handcuffs is the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's (NLCHP) ninth report on the criminalization of homelessness and the National Coalition for the Homeless' (NCH) fifth report on the topic. The report documents cities with the worst record related to criminalizing homelessness, as well as initiatives in some cities that constitute more constructive approaches to street homelessness. The report includes the results of research regarding laws and practices in 273 cities around the country; as well as descriptions of lawsuits from various jurisdictions in which those measures have been challenged.
California cities have the least affordable housing and the most congested traffic in the nation. California's housing crisis results directly from several little-known state institutions, including local agency formation commissions (LAFCos), which regulate annexations and the formation of new cities and service districts; the California Environmental Quality Act, which imposes high costs on new developments; and a 1971 state planning law that effectively entitles any resident in the state to a say in how property owners in the state use their land. Cities such as San Jose have manipulated these institutions and laws with the goal of maximizing their tax revenues.
Meanwhile, California's transportation planning has allowed transit agencies, such as San Jose's Valley Transportation Authority and Los Angeles' Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to hijack tax revenues that were originally dedicated to highways so they can build rail empires that will do little or nothing to relieve congestion. New highway construction in the 1990s cut San Jose congestion in half, but congestion is again worsening as funds once spent on highways are now diverted to expensive and little-used rail transit projects.
California should change its planning laws to forbid cities and counties from conspiring to drive up housing prices in order to maximize tax revenues. California and its urban areas should also fund transportation out of user fees instead of taxes, thus making transportation more responsive to the needs of users instead of politically powerful special interest groups. Other states should avoid passing laws that create similar conditions. These recommendations and eight others in this report will greatly improve the livability of San Jose and other California urban areas.
This report is a long-term analysis of citizens' collective action to influence public policy toward communication and information. The work discusses in greater detail what is meant by communication and information policy (CIP) and why we think it is worthwhile to study it as a distinctive domain of public policy and citizen action. The report concentrates on citizen action in the United States and looks backwards, tracing the long-term evolutionary trajectory of communications-information advocacy in the USA since the 1960s. We focus on the concept of citizen collective action and explain its relevance to CIP.
Research supported by the Ford Foundation's Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, or the Ford Foundation.
National Coalition for the Homeless;
This report is the National Coalition for the Homeless' (NCH) fourth report on the criminalization of homelessness and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's (NLCHP) eighth report on the topic. The report documents the top 20 worst offenders of 2005, as well as initiatives in some cities that are more constructive approaches to the issue of people living in public spaces. The report includes the results of a survey of laws and practices in 224 cities around the country, as well as a survey of lawsuits from various jurisdictions in which those measures have been challenged.
Presents a case study of South Africa's first public interest law clearing house established to increase access to pro bono services of law firms and advocates. Outlines ProBono.Org's organization, strategies, and outcomes as well as emerging practices.
Compares the content and structure of maternity care provided at a city birth center, a safety net clinic, and a not-for-profit teaching and research hospital; populations served; providers; costs; and the women's and providers' perceptions of each model.
Center for American Progress;
Provides insight into the challenges facing employer-based health insurance through case studies of ten different businesses: two large multinational corporations, two medium-sized companies, and six small businesses.
Women's Refugee Commission (formerly Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children);
The United States' anti-trafficking efforts formally began with the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. Since then, the U.S. Government has poured billions of dollars into prevention efforts overseas and prosecution and protection efforts at home. In many ways it provides a model to other countries that are trying to address human trafficking. This report is focused on the United States' efforts to protect trafficked persons found in the United States. Under the TVPA, protections, services and benefits are only offered to trafficked persons who are witnesses assisting law enforcement. This system presents its own challenges in accessing benefits and services, particularly due to law enforcement's anipulation of the system. This is not a case of unforeseen implementation struggles that can be fixed. Instead, at issue is the entire conceptual framework of trafficking as a law enforcement issue and only a law enforcement issue. The results of six years of this approach are becoming startlingly clear -- few trafficked persons coming forward to work with law enforcement. Those who are discovered by law enforcement but refuse or are unable to recount their experiences are not offered any protections and are instead deported. This is an acute problem in particular for trafficked children. The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children (Women's Commission) believes that this is an unbalanced approach and that the consequences are grave. While prosecuting traffickers is a just and necessary goal, it should not be accomplished at the expense of the trafficked person. Both objectives can be achieved successfully by adopting a rights-based approach, which entails providing protections to all trafficked persons. It is increasingly acknowledged and recognized even among law enforcement officials that a trafficked person who receives assistance is more likely, willing and able to work with law enforcement. Another issue throwing trafficking protections off balance is the United States' policy which focuses government trafficking efforts on eradicating prostitution, which it conflates with sex trafficking. Efforts at addressing contributing factors to trafficking are laudable but should not be pursued to the exclusion of other efforts. There is a need for immigration and labor reform that would yield dramatic results in protections for trafficked and exploited persons in the informal economy.
American Psychological Association;
Since September 11, 2001, American military service personnel and their families have endured challenges and stressful conditions that are unprecedented in recent history, including unrelenting operational demands and recurring deployments in combat zones. In response to concerns raised by members of the military community, the American Psychological Association (APA) President, Dr. Gerald Koocher, established the Task Force on Military Deployment Services for Youth, Families and Service Members in July of 2006. This Task Force was charged with: identifying the psychological risks and mental health-related service needs of military members and their families during and after deployment(s); developing a strategic plan for working with the military and other organizations to meet those needs; and constructing a list of current APA resources available for military members and families, as well as additional resources that APA might develop or facilitate in order to meet the needs of this population. At present, 700,000 children in America have at least one parent deployed. Having a primary caretaker deployed to a war zone for an indeterminate period is among the more stressful events a child can experience. Adults in the midst of their own distress are often anxious and uncertain about how to respond to their children's emotional needs. The strain of separation can weigh heavily on both the deployed parent and the caretakers left behind. Further, reintegration of an absent parent back into the family often leads to complicated emotions for everyone involved. This Task Force was established to examine such potential risks to the psychological well-being of service members and their families, acknowledging the changing context and impact of the deployment cycle, and to make preliminary recommendations for change and further review at the provider, practice, program, and policy levels. To meet the Task Force charge, we will first provide an overview of what is currently known about the impact of military deployments on service members and their families (spouses, children and significant others). In addition, we will discuss a number of programs that have been developed to meet the mental health needs of service members and their families, and we will describe the significant barriers to receiving mental health care within the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) system. Finally, we will offer several general recommendations for improving the psychological care offered to service members and their Military Deployment Services TF Report 5 families, and we will outline some specific proposals for how existing APA programs and resources can be employed or modified to support military communities.