There is a way out of this mess called homelessness [Loose Canon, "Getting Media," Bruce Schimmel, March 22, 2007], but I would hazard a guess that most of the audience you describe were born after the explosion of people living in public spaces in the early 1980s. Therefore, they act on their experience that homelessness is "normal" and has always been so. They are not outraged at homelessness, but outraged at your inattention.
The way out is the back-to-basics strategy called "Housing First" with street homeless and families, and it is posting housing-stability rates of 85 percent. People who become homeless do need help with other problems, but that assistance/those services are far more effective when you have the stability of your own place. It is very hard for programs which have piled on services to fix people and make them "ready" for housing to accept that they are doing it in the wrong order. It also changes the power relationship from vertical to horizontal, from a privilege to a right. That is understandably pretty scary to traditional homeless-service providers.
We have [also] created a "SafeHome Phila-delphia" program to demonstrate the efficacy of "housing first." Advocates screech there is no such housing; we are finding it house by house, landlord by landlord. Bluntly speaking, my personal goals are to work for the year that there is no need for "homeless voter registration" or "dead homeless people's day" because they are people with a housing crisis, and not a separate category of human beings.
Phyllis R. Ryan Jackson
Executive Director, Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness
Today, I went on Fox 29's Web site; the headline read: Arrest in Sight for Killing of 5-year-old? It was a follow-up to a story that took place in 2000. I would like to ask Schimmel: How is this story the very first story to pop up surprising, moving, informative and new? Does this story pass your give-a-damn test? It certainly doesn't pass mine. I'll tell you what I do give a damn about, though: the war in Iraq, health care and other things that affect me daily as a citizen.
Schimmel claimed it's not the news media's job to care, that their job is to produce stories that are surprising, moving, informative and true. If it is the news media's job to produce stories, then they do that very well. But stories don't cause change or teach you how to be a citizen; about the government; or why we are at war.
I say to all the journalists out there now and the big media corporations: Five-year-old girls unfortunately get murdered every day, and it's easy to write an article about how you don't know how to cover something, so get up off your ass and find something that is actually worth more than a smile or a frown when your reader fucking reads it!
I am a 27-year-old single male, I flip through your paper on occasion, and I am casting my support for battlecry.com, a Christian youth organization that is beginning to mightily wage war on the decadence, corruption, filth, debauchery, pornography and sleaziness that is being marketed and consumed by my generation. You, City Paper, along with Philadelphia Weekly, and now Philly Edge, are vastly responsible for the acceptance of extreme immorality in Philadelphia. Don't you have anything to offer us young people except for depravity?
[Slant, "Bombs Away," David Faris, March 15, 2007] was full of mistruths and most of it was just wrong. The mainstream press said the Republican Guard in Iraq would fight to the death and give our military fits, but they folded just like a cheap piece of origami just like the Iranian forces would, if unfortunately we ever had to invade Iran in order to maintain peace in the Middle East. What "Bush recession" is he talking about, the short one during the aftermath of 9/11, the one in which the terrorists were partially funded and trained by the Iranians? Or is it the booming economyroaring on now?
This administration is reviled because of some weird mental malaise, suffered by liberals since Gore lost to President Bush, one they can't let go of and is really taking over their lives.