U.S. Feature | Homeless Seniors

The Changing Face of American Homelessness

A bulge of homeless baby-boomers has been making its way through the nation’s aging pipeline, with more than 300,000 homeless people in the U.S. now over the age of 50. From the recessions and zero-tolerance drug policies of the ’70s and ’80s to contemporary wage stagnation and affordable housing shortages exacerbated by unchecked urban gentrification, many who came of age during the social tumult of the ’60s and ’70s have struggled to maintain their footing in the nation’s rapidly evolving cities. For many, chronic illness and disability have led to homelessness or struck as a result of it, prematurely introducing aging issues into an already vulnerable population. As a result, homeless seniors have found themselves at the center of an epidemic that is increasingly understood to intersect with other national problems, including weak safety nets for seniors, people with disabilities, and the poor.

As national conversations framed through the lens of personal responsibility, urban threat, and moral failings compound the shame many experience in precarious situations, the aging homeless community has found itself not only marginalized on the streets, but within the discourse of homelessness in general, framed as it too often is in terms of workforce reintegration and social re-engagement. With the elderly homeless population expected to more than double by 2050, The New York Times recently examined the structural problems facing the aging homeless population and challenges affecting the development of effective long-term solutions.

Read:
Old and on the Street: The Graying of America’s Homeless” (The New York Times)

Additional coverage:
Fast-aging homeless population may lead to public health crisis” (The San Francisco Chronicle, March 2016)
Solving The Growing Health Needs Of America’s Elderly Homeless” (ThinkProgress, February 2016)
‘We Shouldn’t Have To Live Like This’” (NPR, March 2013)

Reports:
Aging and Housing Instability: Homelessness among Older and Elderly Adults (National HCH Council, September 2013)
Homelessness Among Elderly Persons (National Coalition for the Homeless, September 2009)

Connect:
National Alliance to End Homelessness
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Health Care for the Homeless Council

(Image Credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times)

ClimateWatch | The Philippines

ClimateWatch
The Philippines

The Philippine Congress recently confirmed Rodrigo Duterte as the 16th president of the Philippines, ushering in a new government fueled by populist disaffection and characterized by uncertainty. A lightning rod of controversy, the tough-talking former mayor of Davao City in the south of the country has supported vigilante justice in crime-riddled cities (including against those suffering from addiction), the reinstatement of capital punishment, and paternalistic policies on smoking, alcohol consumption, and youth curfews. His unfiltered style has been likened to U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for both his casual misogyny and penchant for offensive jokes.

But Duterte, the Philippines’ oldest president, has also expressed support for minority representation and protections, backed by a record of gender and minority inclusiveness during his time as mayor. His election has already been celebrated for breaking political regionalism in the country: Duterte has become the first president from the historically marginalized island of Mindanao. Now having to scale his leadership from the local to the national level, he inherits a range of difficult issues impacting historically disadvantaged communities, including land and environmental rights for indigenous peoples, reproductive healthcare for women, and political autonomy for Muslim groups in the south.

With international observers and diplomats concerned by Duterte’s unpredictability, his record with and plans for vulnerable communities have been scrutinized as political analysts attempt to predict what the next era of Philippine politics will look like under his leadership. Here is an overview of recent local and international commentary on the impact of Duterte’s election:

Continue reading ClimateWatch | The Philippines

UAE News | People of Libyan Descent

UAE acquits Libyan-Americans and Libyan-Canadian of militancy charges
  • Two Libyan-Americans and a Libyan-Canadian have been detained in the country since their 2014 arrests carried out in the wake of the passage of the UAE’s Anti-Terrorism Law, initially accused of supporting Libyan terrorist groups.
  • The men had been held in secret for months, with reports indicating torture and deteriorating health during their more than 500 days of detention without a trial.
  • The three businessmen had reportedly traveled in and out of the UAE without incident for decades, but the UAE’s zero-tolerance policy towards extremism has made many with even tenuous connections to countries with designated terrorist groups vulnerable.

Read more:
Two American businessmen acquitted in the United Arab Emirates of supporting militants” (The Washington Post)
UAE acquits two Libyan-Americans and Canadian of militancy charges” (Reuters)
‘Nowhere close to a fair trial’: pressure to aid Americans and Canadian in UAE” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Family photo, via The Washington Post)

Iran & Saudi Arabia News | Iranians

Iranian pilgrims denied travel rights as diplomatic row between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues
  • Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced that Iranians would not be allowed to make the annual trek to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
  • Relations between the regional rivals have deteriorated in the wake of Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, which led to violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Riyadh’s severance of diplomatic ties.
  • In September 2015, hundreds of Iranians were among the thousands killed in a stampede in Mecca, and the continued absence of an official Saudi report has exacerbated tensions between the two countries.

Read more:
Iran says its pilgrims will not attend haj in Saudi” (Reuters)
Iran pilgrims to miss Hajj amid row with Saudi Arabia” (BBC)
Iranians will not perform Haj this year” (Gulf News)

(Image Credit: Ahmad Masood/Reuters)

Interregional News | Refugees & Migrants

At least 700 migrants and refugees die in last week along trans-Mediterranean route
  • The UNHCR concluded from survivor interviews that some 550 of 670 died after a boat capsized on its way to Italy from Libya, with other scattered wrecks throughout the week leading to at least 150 other deaths.
  • As warmer temperatures have created more favorable travel conditions, an estimated 13-14,000 have been rescued over the last week during Italian naval operations in the Mediterranean.
  • The U.N. believes most of those making the trek have been sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees caught up in smuggling networks.

Read more:
Over 700 Migrants Died Trying to Reach Italy in Past Week, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
More than 700 feared dead in recent Mediterranean crossings” (AP)
Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Marina Militare, via The New York Times)

Pakistan News | Trans Women

Trans activist dies in northwest Pakistan after uproar over hospital treatment
  • Alisha, 23, died in a hospital in Peshawar after being shot multiple times during a dispute.
  • She had reportedly had her medical intervention delayed as hospital personnel taunted her and debated whether to put her in the male or female ward.
  • While police have taken in a suspect, the trans community continues to worry at ongoing targeted violence, with Alisha now the fifth trans activist to have been killed in recent months.

Read more:
Pakistani transgender activist who was shot, then taunted at hospital, dies of injuries” (The Los Angeles Times)
Police arrest prime suspect in transgender Alisha’s murder” (Pakistan Today)
Pakistani transgender activist dies after delayed medical care” (The Washington Blade)

(Image Credit: Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, via The Los Angeles Times)

Moldova News | LGBT

Anti-LGBT protesters disrupt LGBT Pride festivities in Moldova


Video Credit: Campania socială Fără Frică

  • Hundreds demonstrated against a Pride march taking place in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, by chanting, singing, and reportedly throwing eggs and holy water at participants.
  • The protests appeared to have been led by Orthodox Christian demonstrators, who carried Moldovan and Orthodox flags symbolizing the close ties of religion and national identity in the predominantly Orthodox country.
  • Under heavy police protection, more than 150 participated in the parade, including German, French, and Swedish diplomats, before having to be escorted to safety.

Read more:
Protesters disrupt Moldova Pride march” (The Washington Blade)
Activists, Police Fend Off Counter-Protestors At Moldova’s First-Ever LGBT March of Solidarity” (Unicorn Booty)