PSA

by 4&20 Staff

Please attend this important event:

In response to the stomping to death of homeless man Forrest Clayton Salcido, Missoulians are invited to Take Back the California Street Bridge on Thursday, December 20 at 5:30 p.m. Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger will speak at this candlelight vigil, which will be followed by a rally against violence at the Badlander starting at 6 p.m. The Badlander is located at the corner of Broadway and Ryman in downtown Missoula, and this is a free community event aimed at keeping Missoula’s streets safe for all people.

The Poverello Center is the main sponsor of this event, which is a part of ‘We Are Missoula,’ the group behind the community rally held on Nov. 26 against the two anti-gay beatings that happened near downtown.

(This message was forwarded to us from Caitlin Copple at the YWCA.)

Additional information just in from Ellie Hill at the Poverello:

Speakers Include :
Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger (who also heads the Governor’s Council on Homelessness)
Ellie Hill, Executive Director, Poverello Center, Inc.
Cindy Weese, Executive Director, YWCA
Amy Carter, University Congregational Church
John Lund, University of Montana’s Lutheran Campus Pastor
Amanda Salcido, Niece of Forest Clayton Salcido

December 21st is the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day in order to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember the homeless who have died from illness, neglect and violence during the year.

This past week, the community witnessed one of our own local homeless Vietnam veterans, Forest Clayton Salcido, senselessly and brutally murdered. More and more homeless people are dying from violence and unprovoked hate crimes in this country each year.

Missoula citizens and collaborating organizations are outraged over this crime and the continuing pervasiveness of violence motivated by hate in this community.

“WE ARE MISSOULA” is the partnership of thirty (30) collaborative private and non profit organizations unified to: Speak up and Stand out against Hate Crimes. The last WE ARE MISSOULA rally in November drew over 300 participants.

Those attending the candlelight vigil are asked to bring candles in glass containers to the bridge and join speakers, singers and others to remember our homeless and the others in this community who have been victims of hate. Immediately following the vigil, participants are encouraged to warm up in The Badlander for a rally against hate in Missoula.

With sponsoring organizations like Forward Montana, Montana Human Rights Network, The Poverello Center, Montana Pride Network, ACLU, University of Montana LAMBDA Alliance, YWCA and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, this rally will provide a venue for showing broad community support for ending
hate crimes, homophobia and other forms of systemic violence.

The goals of the rally are to educate the community about the vulnerability of homelessness, hate crimes and how to report them to the Missoula police, as well as to encourage strength and solidarity within the community.

In addition the rally will serve as the kick off for a broader campaign of community education, skill building and political action.

According to Michael Stoops from the Washington-based National Coalition for the Homeless:

· In 2006, there were 122 violent attacks and 20 murders committed against the homeless.

· Reports show that between 2005 and 2006, there was a 65 percent increase in both the number of lethal and nonlethal attacks on the homeless.

· Sixty-eight percent of the perpetrators of these crimes are young men between the ages of 13 and 19 years old. Their victims are generally homeless middle-aged men.

· Forty-four percent of the nation’s homeless are living without shelter, thus making them more vulnerable to victimization.

· Seattle recently passed a law against “the malicious harassment” of homeless people.

Cited from Health Care for the Homeless (2007):

· The number one cause of death among homeless people is untreated chronic illness.

· The average life-expectancy for the chronically homeless is between ages 42 and 52 years old; 30 to 40 years less than the average.

· It is estimated that 750,000 people are homeless in the United States every day.

A report released in 2007 by the Anti-Defamation League states that forty-five states and the District of Columbia have statutes criminalizing various types of hate crimes. In sixteen of those states are there provisions for sexual orientation and eleven of those have provisions for gender identity. As well, thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have statutes creating a civil cause of action, in addition to the criminal penalty, for hate crimes. And twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have statutes requiring the state to collect hate crime statistics.

THE POVERELLO CENTER, INC.

For the 34 years, the Poverello Center has served as Western Montana’s largest emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

Between 200-250 people a day utilize the Poverello Center’s myriad of services.

• The “Pov” sleeps 70 homeless residents a night and serves 100,000 hot meals, 365 days a year. Clients are rotated out on a 30 day basis to accommodate for lack of space.

• Clients are homeless, working-poor, disabled, mentally ill, elderly, veterans, families and people struggling with substance abuse recovery.

• The Poverello Center also operates two well-known, highly successful transitional housing facilities (in conjunction with the Missoula Housing Authority) that provide real solutions to breaking the cycle of homelessness. The Joseph Residence at Maclay Commons for homeless families with children, and The Valor House for homeless veterans, are nationally recognized and both operate with waiting lists for residents to get into these programs.

• Services at all three facilities include social workers, mental health and medical care facilities, a food pantry, a clothing room, hot showers, agency and job referrals, a laundry room, and many other services that enable our clients to move into safe, affordable housing, reestablish community ties, and begin a life of integrity back in the work-force.

Missoula Numbers:

On January 31st of 2007, the Poverello Center participated in a “point of time” survey funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The survey results were startling and recorded the highest number of homeless individuals in Missoula since surveying began (the results indicated a 65% increase in homelessness over the first point in time study conducted in 2005).

The canvass found and identified 551 homeless people in Missoula on one given day. 67 folks planned to stay in their car (it was 16 degrees that night). 54% of those in the survey were families with children (91 children were six years old or younger; and 150 kids were between seven and fourteen years old). 33% of those surveyed were employed. www.thepoverellocenter.org Poverello Center,  Inc.  Est. 1974     (406) 728-1809 Joseph Residence,  Est. 1991  (406) 549-6158          Valor House,  Est. 2005  (406) 829-3928

The Poverello Center has operated Western Montana’s largest emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen for over thirty-five years. The “Pov” sleeps seventy homeless residents a night and serves 100,000 hot meals, 365 days a year. Clients are homeless, working-poor, disabled, mentally ill, elderly, veterans, families and folks struggling with substance abuse recovery. Through a partnership with the Missoula Housing Authority, the Poverello Center also operates transitional housing facilities, The Joseph Residence at Maclay Commons for homeless families, and The Valor House for homeless veterans. Services at all sites include mental health facilities, medical facilities, a food pantry, a clothing room, hot showers, agency and job referrals, a laundry room, and many other services that enable our clients to move into safe, affordable housing and begin a life of integrity back in the work-force. The Pov receives significant support from the community at-large (to give you an idea, 19,000 people volunteered at the Poverello Center in 2006!)

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