Four national news stories to catch up on.

BY: JESSE CALL

1.  A man experiencing homelessness was brutally assaulted in Memphis, Tennessee, on Dec. 30, and police have yet to make any arrests. Michael Young, 35, remains hospitalized after he was beaten and shot by a group of four men who randomly attacked him, according to local news station Fox13. As he was sitting along the road, the group stopped and asked Young if he had “raped anybody,” and when Young replied, “no,”  the group began beating him and he was later shot before the beating continued. Local homeless advocates say people like Young are vulnerable targets of gang initiations, but police have declined to call the activity gang related.

2.  Police in Orange County, California, are passing out fliers warning people experiencing homelessness that they could be targeted for attack.  The alert resulted because three separate attacks have occurred since Dec. 21, 2011. Lloyd Middaugh, 42, and James McGillivray, 53, were both found dead near where they slept. The cause of their deaths were multiple stab wounds. Another 57-year-old man experiencing homelessness was found dead and covered in blood, according to KABC-TV, but his identify and cause of death have not yet been released. Local residents said they are trying to find ways to protect themselves and police are urging community members to contact them with tips or reports of suspicious activity.

3. People experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis, Indiana, are fearful they may be arrested or bussed away in advance of the National Football League’s Super Bowl XLVI, according to The Chicago Tribune. The city’s police chief, Mike Bates, admits there are efforts to deal with people living around LP Field, but that there will not be any “forced relocation.” But, those people living near the field are skeptical. The director of the Coalition for the Homeless, Mike Hurst, said that he has learned  that Indianapolis Police will begin more strictly enforcing the city’s panhandling laws as the Super Bowl nears. Historically, several other cities hosting major sporting events have temporarily relocated people experiencing homelessness.

4. A church near St. Louis, Missouri, has been targeted by racist vandalism after reaching out to people experiencing homelessness, according to KMOX. The Rock Church of Soulard recently started a ministry “Servant Saturdays” where people with need could find a place to escape the temperatures and get something to eat on Saturdays. They also began offering rides to the church from local encampments. But, sometime during the holidays, someone spray painted the front door with a hate message based on race. The message came shortly after someone complained to city officials about people experiencing homelessness congregating near the church. The city responded with “a cease and desist” order and demanded inspections before the church serves any more meals. The church says it has complained to the police regarding the graffiti incident.

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