The Issues :: Homelessness and Poverty

Homelessness has a myriad of causes and dimensions—from foreclosure, job loss and domestic violence to mental illness, medical expenses and addiction. If we as a community are to properly respond and act, we must take a more comprehensive view of why homelessness occurs and how we can effectively combat it.

Homelessness & Poverty

The federal government says affordable housing should take no more than 30 percent of a person's income.  In reality, no one earning minimum wage in any state can afford a one- or two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.  In 1999, the national two-bedroom housing wage was $11.08; in 2011, the national housing wage was $18.46, a 66 percent increase.  The lack of affordable housing is widely considered to be the main cause of homelessness in the United States today.

Homelessness is growing at an alarming rate locally and nationally, and many cities’ solution to the crisis is to criminalize poverty by passing constitutionally dubious laws crafted to harass the homeless.  Sadly, Memphis is no exception to this.  Such efforts are not only inhumane and immoral, but have been legally challenged as violations of the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.  More to the point, these efforts are ineffective, counterproductive and fiscally irresponsible.

Donate to Support the H.O.P.E. Women's Caucus

The H.O.P.E. Women’s Caucus

Background

Research indicates that the majority of women who experience homelessness also experience violence, with domestic violence being one of the primary catalysts for homelessness in women's lives.

Homelessness is also associated with a variety of health issues, all of which can be difficult to address while meeting one’s basic needs. The H.O.P.E. Women's Caucus is a safe space for H.O.P.E. members who identify as women to work together on the issues that affect them disproportionately, including reproductive health and violence.  Women’s Caucus meets regularly for “Dinner and Discussion,” out of which a core group of organizers has emerged to focus on the unique challenges faced by women experiencing homelessness.  

Read about Women's Caucus in the Memphis Flyer! (11/13/14)

Read Women's Caucus' Editorial on Amendment One, which was printed in the Commercial Appeal! (11/04/14) 

Memphis United Hosts Press Conference to Announce #CLERBspeakout2014 Campaign

Memphis United launches #CLERBspeakout2014 campaign to improve Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board

Memphis United urges Memphians to come forward about their troubling experiences with law enforcement through participation in a series of public forums.

For Immediate Release- Wednesday June 11th from 4:30pm 5:15 pm at the Caritas Village at 2509 Harvard Ave. Paul Garner, and Chris Merritt, and Journalist Deborah Robinson, will be speaking about their experiences with MPD, which prompted each of them to file complaints with Internal Affairs. They are standing with Memphis United, asking for people to come forward to share their experiences and suggestions on how to make the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) more effective through social media and  participation in a series of public input forums throughout the city. The Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board according to the City of Memphis website, would be “an independent, non-police Mayoral Agency with ... the power to receive, investigate, hear cases, make findings and recommend action on complaints.”

HOPE: Street Art

Support HOPE (Homeless Organizing for Power & Equality), a grassroots organization whose membership is made up exclusively of men and women who have formerly or are currently experiencing homelessness.

HOPE: Reaching Out

H.O.P.E. is a Mid-South Peace and Justice Center-sponsored organization whose members are exclusively people have formerly  or are currently experiencing homelessness. HOPE has developed different projects to address and deconstruct specific dimensions of what is a dynamic problem that continues to affect so many in the Mid-South and beyond.
For meeting times & dates: 901-300-0006.


Reaching Out

Under the leadership of HOPE Organizer, Jim Brown, members are forming a new Outreach Committee.  Members of this committee will be working in teams to do targeted engagement with encampments and 'homeless-hotspots' across the city. Our members recently attended a training hosted by the Community Alliance for the Homeless to learn the SPDAT, the new tool being implemented for assessing the needs of Memphis/Shelby County's homeless population. We want to put together outreach packets as a way to help us build relationships with the men and women we are trying to help connect to housing and other services, and we could really use YOUR support!

Action Alert! Join Memphis United at City Council THIS TUESDAY

Memphis United needs YOU to ensure that our resolution is more than just righteous words on paper. Join us at City Council Tuesday, May 6th, at 3:30PM and contact your council person, and urge them to support our resolution for comprehensive public input to reform Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, enabling it to be a transparent process that the residents of Memphis can have confidence in when their complaints against officers are not handled in a satisfactory manner by Internal Affairs.

HOPE: March On!

H.O.P.E. is a Mid-South Peace and Justice Center-sponsored organization whose members are exclusively people have formerly  or are currently experiencing homelessness. Over the past several months, members have been working diligently to develop the structure and process of our organization in order to better address the issues that face our communities. HOPE has also developed different projects to address and deconstruct specific dimensions of what is a dynamic problem that continues to affect so many in the Mid-South and beyond.  For meeting times & dates: 901-300-0006.


Welcome Aboard!

H.O.P.E. is pleased to welcome Jim V. Brown as our new AmeriCorps VISTA organizer. Jim is​ a Tennessee native, from Chattanooga. He moved to Nashville where he worked with Nashville Homeless Power Project, an organization that H.O.P.E. has looked to as an example of what we are trying to build here. Jim relocated to Memphis last fall and immediately began working closely with H.O.P.E., attending meetings, getting to know our members, leading outreach efforts, and learning the lay of the land. He has been an outspoken advocate for people experiencing homelessness for many years and we are excited that he will now be working with H.O.P.E. in a full time capacity. Its going to be  a great year of grassroots organizing! Welcome aboard, Jim!

HOPE: Rollin' Along

H.O.P.E. is a Mid-South Peace and Justice Center-sponsored organization whose members are exclusively people have formerly  or are currently experiencing homelessness. Over the past several months, members have been working diligently to develop the structure and process of our organization in order to better address the issues that face our communities. HOPE has also developed different projects to address and deconstruct specific dimensions of what is a dynamic problem that continues to affect so many in the Mid-South and beyond.  
For meeting times & dates: 901-300-0006.


Street Wise INK

Over a year ago, H.O.P.E. members embarked upon a project to start a worker-owned and operated t-shirt printing business to help provide income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. Dubbed "Street Wise INK", members spent months developing bylaws and a business plan, and were awarded a grant from the Spark Plug Foundation to aid with the cost of  training, supplies, and equipment. The group has been printing H.O.P.E. t-shirts and has taken on a few small orders, but one thing we have been missing is a permanent space to begin operating in a professional capacity. 

Members of Street Wise INK and H.O.P.E. are thrilled to announce that this project has finally found a home at First Congregational Church, and will be moving in and preparing the space throughout this month. We would like to thank Julia Hicks, Director of Missions, and the Mission Development Committee at First Congo. Our members are no strangers to the church, which supports a number of diverse community projects and organizations. We are excited about being part of the First Congo community and  know that this will be a great fit for the development of this project! 


H.O.P.E NEEDS YOU! Point In Time Count 2014

H.O.P.E. NEEDS YOU!

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 5:00 AM - 7:00 PM​

Memphis Point In Time Count 2013

The Point in Time Count is an annual count of people experiencing street homelessness on one given day of the year, which is required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to retain federal funding for homeless programs. It is also important that the results from the count provide an accurate reflection of homelessness in Memphis.  Volunteers will be talking one-on-one with any unsheltered individual willing to be interviewed. The Community Alliance for the Homeless then use this data to move forward with securing housing and other services for some of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. Groups of five will go to certain precincts throughout the city in order to visit soup kitchens, crisis centers, shelters, and other offices where homeless Memphians congregate during the day. H.O.P.E. members, many of whom are themselves currently on the street will be assisting in this years count but we need your help too!  The annual Point in Time Count will be Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 5:00 AM - 7:00 PM​. you can register here! There are multiple shifts that you can volunteer for based on your availability.

Memphis United:: December 17th - A Full Day of Events Around Law Enforcement Reform

Memphis United Conference on Police Misconduct
Tuesday, December 17th, 11:30 am - 4:00 pm

Community Forum and Know Your Rights Workshop
Time: Noon - 2:00 pm. Sign in and snacks at 11:30am
Location: St Patrick's Church, 277 S. Fourth St, Memphis, TN 38126
Co-Moderators: Earle Fisher and Gee Joyner

March on Civic Center Plaza and Cypher
Time: 2:00 pm. - 4:00 pm.
​Starting Point:  St Patrick's Church, 277 S. Fourth St, Memphis, TN 38126

Memphis United Music Show and After-Party
Time: Doors open at 7:00 pm. Show starts at 7:30 pm.
Location: K'PreSha Boutique,  323 South Main St, Memphis, TN 38126
Line-up of artists performing:

Join Memphis United this Tuesday, December 17th. Our goal is to begin a grassroots campaign to end systemic police harassment and misconduct, and to promote positive reforms to our local criminal justice system for all Memphians. The event begins at noon with a community forum at St Patrick's Catholic Church.  (Sign-in and refreshments at 11:30am.) This forum, co-moderated by Earle Fisher and Gee Joyner, will allow the community to air their opinions and share their experiences in a space of safety and plan for future action. This forum will also include a "Know Your Rights" workshop put on by H.O.P.E. (Homeless Organizing For Power and Equality). and the Law Offices of the Shelby County Public Defender.

At 2:00 pm we will gather outside St Patrick's Catholic Church to host a nonviolent march down Beale Street to South Main to Civic Center Plaza, right outside of City Hall where local hip hop artists will host a cypher, a hip hop freestyle circle. Hip-hop is not the enemy nor are people experiencing homelessness.

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