Category: Homelessness

Fat M.PS get 10 % every year. When you are Ill who do you want better paid Jeremy Cunt or a doctor?

That’s the way the money goes. What price the homeless, the sick,the old and our children.

A homeless woman was thrown from a ledge and repeatedly raped for days at the spot where she landed beneath the Cimarron Street bridge – unable to escape because her legs were paralyzed, Colorado Springs police say.

The torture ended when a passerby found her May 2 lying beneath the bridge south of America the Beautiful Park, court documents unsealed this week show.

The assault comes at a time when homeless people are left with little choice but to risk their safety and live outside, because too few shelter beds exist in El Paso County, homeless advocates say.

That reality has exposed one of the region’s most vulnerable populations to theft and violence, especially women.

“It’s the worst part of not having enough shelter space,” said Shawna Kemppainen, executive director of the Urban Peak youth shelter, which is often at or near capacity.

For the woman found beneath Cimarron Street, living on the streets nearly turned deadly.

Isaiah Jarvis Perrin. 

In mid-April, she met a man – later identified by police as Isaiah Jarvis Perrin, 21 – and stayed with him in a loft composed of wooden boards wedged between two girders beneath the Cimarron Street bridge, court documents show. The loft could be reached by walking up a steep cement embankment to the bridge’s underbelly.

She told detectives she occasionally stayed there with him. But around dusk on April 30, she said she arrived to find him smoking some kind of drug, possibly heroin.

When she tried gathering her clothes, Perrin retaliated – first threatening to toss her from the loft, court documents show. Only when he appeared to relent – and she loosened her grip on the wood beams – did he throw her off.

She slammed against the concrete, instantly paralyzed.

The man immediately climbed down and beat her, an affidavit said. Then she endured days of repeated rapes.

At least once, the man moved her head and forced her to perform oral sex, she told detectives.

A passerby found her May 2 and called police. Her spine fractured and her spinal cord injured, she was taken to a Colorado Springs hospital for surgery, according to court records.

Officers arrested Perrin later that morning near the bridge and booked him into the El Paso County jail, where he remains in lieu of $25,000 bond on charges of attempted murder and sexual assault.

Perrin first told investigators the woman fell off the bridge – something he laughed at, his arrest affidavit said.

Perrin also claimed multiple men raped her, but he denied involvement, according to the affidavit. Then he changed course – telling detectives she gave him a “blow job,” the affidavit said.

Throughout the police interview, he maintained that she lay on the ground for three days until someone stopped and gave her water, the affidavit said.

Perrin also was homeless, having recently arrived here from Philadelphia, police said.

The circumstances surrounding the woman’s homelessness, however, were not detailed in the affidavit. The Gazette does not typically print the names of sexual assault victims.

The case is emblematic of the dangers people face while living on Colorado Springs streets, homeless advocates say. And with shelter beds normally full, that threat is often unavoidable.

Two seasonal shelters closed in mid-April, eliminating about 230 beds. Even with the vast majority of those beds full, a one-night survey in January found more than 300 additional people sleeping outside.

All that remains are a few small programs and the Salvation Army’s 200-bed R.J. Montgomery Center, which is geared more toward families and requires clients be sober. Normally, it’s at or near capacity.

The dangers homeless people face are difficult to quantify, and Colorado Springs police did not have statistics Friday on the crimes affecting homeless people.

Still, homeless people interviewed by The Gazette say they live in constant fear of being assaulted in camps tucked away in bushes dotting vacant plots of land across Colorado Springs.

Further, belongings left unattended are routinely at risk of being stolen. Any trip away from camp – be it to get food at a soup kitchen or to apply for jobs – leaves a homeless person’s belongings open to theft.

Kemppainen said her outreach workers have encountered people who have gone home with men seeking sex – regardless of the safety risks – as a means to sleep inside.

“It’s not uncommon,” she said.

Kemppainen also said she tells her clients to find businesses open 24 hours as a way to increase the hours they spend indoors.

Finding a place to sleep in Colorado Springs involves calculated risk, said Michelle, 23, who declined to give her last name. She has misgivings about the safety of shelters, and lives under several tarps and blankets held up by shopping carts under the Nevada Avenue bridge along Fountain Creek.

Camping under the bridge offers relative safety, she said, because the area is well-traveled. She also could quickly climb the embankment and flag down help from passing motorists if needed.

The same can’t be said of camping elsewhere, such as on U.S. Forest Service land, she said.

“You’re further away from civilization, so people know they can harass you and you’re not going to be able to get very far,” she said.

Other homeless people described camping in small groups for safety in numbers.

On Friday, three tents were across Fountain Creek under the same bridge – a quarter of the amount that were there just a few days ago. The decline came amid fears that police were planning to visit and ticket people for camping.

Poking her head out of her tent across Fountain Creek, Lisa Watkins, 49, said she would never camp alone.

“I wouldn’t feel safe being by myself,” Watkins said.

Source: Homeless woman thrown from bridge, raped for 3 days, say Colorado Springs police | Colorado Springs Gazette, News

More than 7,500 local authority properties across the capital are lying empty as thousands of Londoners struggle to find a home, figures showed today.

The number of vacant buildings has increased in a third of London boroughs and now amounts to a  staggering £4 billion worth of empty council homes.

Ten town halls have overseen increases in homes lying idle — even though the overall proportion of empty homes has fallen by 20 per cent in the past decade.

The figures also show that almost 21,000 homes, including those privately owned, have sat empty for over six months. Critics claimed this was a “shocking waste”, as the new team at City Hall expressed concern.

Source: Scandal of 7,500 council homes lying empty in London | London | News | London Evening Standard

Local authorities are unlawfully resettling homeless families in temporary housing far away from their local area, forcing them to spend hours travelling to schools and health services, a study has found.

The housing charity Shelter says some councils are guilty of unsafe practices by pressurising homeless families into accepting unsuitable housing up to 100 miles from where they live, causing them unnecessary hardship.

In one case, a woman made homeless in west London, who was told relocation to Hastings on the south coast would keep her “close to London”, had to make seven-hour round trips back to the capital to take her ill baby to weekly hospital appointments.

Other cases include relocated families who arranged for their children to stay with grandparents or friends during the week so that they could remain at their old school. Other reported embarking on school runs lasting up to two hours.

Despite official guidance requiring councils to place families where practical in the borough in which they are resident, Shelter says authorities in London are now moving households out of area “as a matter of course”.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Faced with severe budget cuts and overwhelming numbers of homeless families coming to them for help, it’s sadly not surprising that overstretched councils in London are failing to meet their current legal responsibilities.”

The charity warns that the government’s four-year freeze on housing benefit rates, coupled with the extended benefit cap and rising rents, will trigger more out-of-area moves, as councils across the south of England compete for dwindling stocks of private-rented sector homes that are affordable within housing benefit limits.

One London council told Shelter that Luton was “full” – had no more temporary accommodation – and it was now looking to house its homeless families in other boroughs. Luton council itself was last year forced to put up a homeless family in a £65-a-night Travelodge because no temporary homes were available locally, partly because landlords had leased them to councils in the capital.

Latest official figures show that 17,150 households were temporarily housed out of area in 2015, up from 5,330 in 2010. Over 90% of placements were made by London authorities, who say their hand is forced by high rents, housing benefit caps and affordable housing shortages.

Based on Freedom of Information requests, Shelter estimates that almost half of all homeless families placed in temporary accommodation by London councils in the year to June 2015 were sent out of area.

Although most went to a neighbouring borough, 26% were placed in the capital but “beyond a reasonable travelling distance of their local services, neighbourhood support networks and schools”. One in 10 were rehoused outside London.

Although many out-of-area placements were lawful, Shelter says there is evidence of “sharp practices” whereby vulnerable homeless families are unlawfully pressured by councils into accepting unsuitable temporary accommodation. They include:

  • Homeless families being leaned on by council officials to make on-the-spot decisions on whether to accept an out-of-area placement, including in one case being threatened with having their children taken into care if they turned it down.
  • A meeting of homeless families being told by a housing officer at an unnamed London council that unless they were “prepared to move to the West Midlands” they should leave the room now.
  • One homeless family was told they had no option to take an out-of-area placement and they were given just minutes to accept. When they challenged it they were subsequently found accommodation locally.

A landmark court judgement last year emphasised that while out-of-area placements are not in themselves unlawful, councils have a legal duty to ensure that they ensure the relocation is suitable and appropriate for the family’s circumstances, taking into account any potential disruption to education, medical needs, caring responsibilities and employment.

But Shelter found that one year on, a third of London boroughs had not complied with the judge’s ruling that councils must revise and clarify their out-of-area policies in line with the judgement, including several that have made extensive use of out-of-area placements.

Some London councils argue that they are struggling to cope with a “perfect storm” of homelessness pressures and have lobbied ministers for changes in the law to make it easier for them to send families outside the capital.

It is understood that the Department for Work and Pensions is sympathetic to this view. But local government ministers are resistant to legal changes and want councils to ensure existing guidance works more effectively.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The government is clear that councils have a legal duty to ensure that any temporary accommodation they offer is safe and suitable for the family concerned.

“The vast majority of out-of-borough placements are still within London, often in the neighbouring borough, and the number of households in temporary accommodation is well below the 2004 peak.”

Source: Councils ‘Forcing Homeless Families To Relocate Miles Away’

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