Kansas City Builds Tiny House Village for Homeless Veterans

FEBRUARY 5, 2019 AT 1:30 PM
Kansas City refuses to leave veterans on the streets, builds them their own “town” for free

Approximately 40 percent of homeless men are veterans, according to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Nearly half of those suffer from mental illness such as post traumatic stress disorder and another 50 percent struggle with substance abuse.

While government programs do exist to help veterans re-acclimate to civilian life, too many fall through the cracks.

So the citizens of Kansas City and other concerned Americans have decided to take matters into their own hands.

By donating to a private, non-profit organization called Veterans Community Project, founded by fellow veterans, they’re helping build tiny-house communities for homeless veterans around the country.

The first “Veterans Village” was recently completed in Kansas City.

The neighborhood of 50 tiny houses gives struggling veterans the perfect blend of community and privacy, to help them feel more connected and safe. Many struggled to live in group shelters because of PTSD.

“We’re pulling these guys out of the trenches in their battle and saving their lives because they would have done the exact same for us,” co-founder and fellow veteran Brandon Mixon told CNN.

Mixon faced challenges with city officials who didn’t want “another trailer park” built in the city. But because of the overwhelming community support the project received, the city eventually gave in.

In the center of the tiny-house neighborhood is a community center, where the residents can get free health care, mental health care, dental care, and assistance finding jobs.

The houses come stocked with food and household necessities, which can be restocked as needed, until the veterans can get back on their feet again.

The founders say hundreds of cities are interested in replicating the project. The charity’s next stop will be in Nashville, Tennessee.

To donate, visit VeteransCommunityProject.org.

Good Samaritan picks up hotel tab for 70 homeless in Chicago

Good Samaritan picks up hotel tab for 70 homeless in Chicago

Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan before sunrise, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A good Samaritan offered to pay for hotel rooms for 70 homeless people in Chicago who were camped out in tents amid the bitter cold that blanketed Chicago.

The offer came after the Chicago Fire Department on Wednesday confiscated nearly 100 propane tanks given the group to keep them warm as temperatures sank to negative 22 (negative 20 Celsius). The department acted after one of the donated tanks exploded.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Jacqueline Rachev said city officials told the organization about their actions at the camp. The Salvation Army was about to move the people to a warming center when the city called again and informed them of the gesture.

Rachev was not sure of the identity of the good Samaritan and only knew the hotel was on the city’s South Side.

Maine: Lawrence High School students make blankets for hospice patients, and the Good Shepherd Food Bank gets $33,000.

Students in Lawrence High School’s JMG program will make more than 35 blankets to be donated to hospice patients in the Waterville area

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This holiday season, Mainers in hospice care will be receiving a gift, but it will be coming from someone they have never met.

The students in the Lawrence High School’s “Jobs for Maine’s Graduates” program, also known as JMG, are making blankets that will be donated to hospice patients in the Waterville area.

“I think this project is great. I think it gives people in the home comfort and just a little something extra for the holidays,” said Rilee Bessey, a junior at Lawrence High School.

Student plan to make more than 35 blankets to be donated. They are also making holiday cards to be distributed to the patients.

“My students are always looking for ways to give back. They really care about others and doing more things in our community to help those in need,” said JMG specialist at Lawrence High School Katherine Wood.

The students in Wood’s JMG class have worked more than 500 hours doing community service in 2018.

“Understand that not everybody has what you may have,” said Lawrence High School junior Bryson Dostie. “Everybody needs to get a little bit of something around the holidays,” Dostie added.

JMG is program across Maine in 131 schools. The organization’s students worked more than 30,000 hours this year doing community service projects.

And…

Maine’s largest hunger relief organization receives final installment of $100,000 promise!
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The Good Shepherd Food Bank received a check for $33,000 from the Maine Credit Union League to complete a three-year contribution to the food bank

The largest hunger relief origination in Maine now has in its hands, the final part of a $100,000 promise of support.

The donation comes from the Maine Credit Union League who promised in 2016 to provide the food bank with $100,000. Today the MCUL presented a check for $33,000 at the George J. Mitchell Elementary School in Waterville. The Good Shepherd Food Bank donates goods to the school’s food pantry.

At an assembly Wednesday morning, students in the school shared essays in front of their classmates about what the school’s food pantry means to them.

“To hear from students who are seeing it in their classmates and some of them likely experiencing themselves, I think that really hits home,” said Ethan Minton, the Good Shepherd Major Gift Officer.

The George J. Mitchell school food pantry has received more 60,000 meals worth of food from Good Shepherd since 2013.

“It helps highlight how much of a community effort this is and how aware people are of the hunger problem in the state of Maine and what people can do to help alleviate that problem,” said Tim Brooks, the Vice President of Corporate Marketing for the Maine Credit Union League.

The MCUL’s Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised over $8 million since starting the program in 1990.  In 2017, the credit union raised $740,000 for the cause.

U.S. Border Patrol Fires Tear Gas at Families Seeking Asylum!

H1 border patrol tear gas

In Tijuana, Mexico, U.S. border patrol officers fired tear gas Sunday into a crowd of desperate Central American asylum seekers as they tried to push their way through the heavily militarized border with the United States. Among those attacked were mothers and small children, who were left gagging and screaming as tear gas spread. Mexican federal police officers in riot gear moved in and arrested dozens of the migrants; Mexico’s government says they’ll be deported to Central America. The group had broken away from a peaceful protest of thousands of migrants demanding entry to the U.S. where they hoped to win asylum. The migrants are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and are fleeing widespread violence, poverty and mass unemployment. This is 37-year-old Honduran asylum seeker Saúl Hernández.

Saúl Hernández: “My message to the United States president is not to scare people, because he’s showing Mexico that he has the military power. He’s also frightening Mexico. Please remove your troops.”

In response, the Trump administration temporarily closed the San Ysidro border crossing, one of the busiest ports of entry in the world, with more than 90,000 people crossing each day. Meanwhile, the administration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied it had made any deal with the Trump administration to force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their U.S. asylum claims are processed. The denial contradicts tweets by President Trump and a report in the Washington Post on Saturday.

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Texas ICE Jail to Release 29 Families After Federal Ruling on Asylum.

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Nielsen’s trip came as the Trump administration said it would begin withdrawing thousands of soldiers it mobilized to the border ahead of the midterm elections, and after a federal judge halted the Trump administration’s plans to bar migrants from seeking asylum unless they arrive at a legal U.S. port of entry. Following that ruling, 29 migrant families will be released from the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley. Many of them come from a region of Central America known as the Northern Triangle, encompassing El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The area is marked by widespread poverty and extreme gang violence. In a statement, Amnesty International welcomed the releases as a positive step but blasted the Trump administration over its policy toward migrants, writing, “It is unconscionable to criminalize mothers, fathers, and children who have lost everything. The administration must immediately abandon plans to build more detention centers and tent cities.”

Maine basketball team and Hollywood Casino spend Thanksgiving at homeless shelter

The University of Maine men’s basketball team and the staff of the Hollywood Casino prepared and served Thanksgiving dinner to members of the community at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.

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BANGOR (NEWS CENTER Maine) — The holidays are a time to spend with family, but also a time to give back to those less fortunate than you.

This is the fourth year the staff of the Hollywood Casino has prepared Thanksgiving dinner at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, and the third year one of the two University of Maine basketball teams has served the meals.

“The Hollywood Casino, really great neighbors to have.” Boyd Kronholm, executive director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, said. “They not only support us on Thanksgiving but they have hired and given employment to some of our overnight guests.”

The shelter serves three meals on Thanksgiving and expects to serve about 100 hungry members of the community.

“43 of those people will probably be people who stay here but everyday at noon we open up our doors for a soup kitchen for anyone who’s hungry in the community. So those are people who may have been through our shelter at one point but are housed, but may not know where their next meal is coming from.” Kronholm said.

Junior guard on the Maine Black Bears, Isaiah White, says he’s not new to giving back to the community he lives in.

“When I’m back home, back in high school our church used to do things like this around the holidays too.” He said.

While this isn’t the community White grew up in, he says he enjoys giving back to a place that welcomed him with open arms.

“Maine, you know, the city of Bangor, Orono, the school, has fully embraced the basketball team.” He said.

US Chief Justice Roberts rebukes Trump’s ‘Obama judge’ complaint

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts pushes back against Trump, saying there are no ‘Obama judges or Trump judges’.

President Donald Trump greets Chief Justice John Roberts on Capitol Hill [Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo]

President Donald Trump greets Chief Justice John Roberts on Capitol Hill

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts pushed back on Wednesday against Donald Trump‘s description of a judge who ruled against the president’s new asylum policy as an “Obama judge”.

It’s the first time that the Republican-appointed leader of the federal judiciary has offered even a hint of criticism of Trump, who has previously blasted federal judges who ruled against him.

Responding to a query made by the Associated Press, Roberts said, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”

Roberts added that on the day before Thanksgiving that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for”.

The White House had no immediate comment on Roberts’s remarks.

A halt to new asylum rules

The ruling Trump criticised that prompted Roberts’s rebuke came from US District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco on Monday.

Tigar temporarily blocked the Trump administration from denying asylum to individuals who cross the US’s border between official ports of entry.

In his ruling, Tigar issued a temporary nationwide restraining order prohibiting the enforcement of the policy. The order will last until until at least December 19 when the judge scheduled a hearing to consider a more long-lasting injunction.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote.

After Tigar’s ruling, Trump critcised the judge, calling him an “Obama judge” and the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals itself a “disgrace”.

“Every case that gets filed in the 9th Circuit, we get beaten. And then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel ban, and we won,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday.

But the initial travel ban ruling in 2017 was issued by US District Judge James Robart, an appointee of President George W Bush. Roberts also was appointed by Bush.

It was unclear what Trump meant when he said things would change. The 9th Circuit is by far the largest of the federal appellate courts, covering Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Some Republicans in 9th Circuit states have proposed splitting the circuit in two, but legislation has not advanced.

OPINION

Kavanaugh and white boys’ club politics in the US

Hamid Dabashi
by Hamid Dabashi

The court has long had a majority of judges appointed by Democratic presidents, with the current breakdown at 16-7. But Trump has the opportunity to narrow that edge significantly because there are six vacancies, and he already has nominated candidates for five of them.

List of critcisms

The president’s latest remarks come as the Supreme Court is enmeshed in controversy over his appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Several justices have spoken out about judicial independence and the danger of having the court viewed as a political institution that is divided between five conservative Republicans and four liberal Democrats. Roberts is widely seen as the justice closest to the middle and likely to determine the outcome of high-profile cases that split the court.

Trump’s remarks are part of a long list of criticisms from the president directed a judges and courts.

Trump last year referred to a jurist who ruled against him on his travel ban as a “so-called judge”. Trump as a presidential candidate in 2016 said a judge in a case involving Trump University was biased against him because of the jurist’s Mexican-American heritage.

The US Constitution established the federal judiciary as a co-equal branch of government with the executive and legislative branches as part of a system of checks and balances on power.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES