Five national news stories to catch up on.

BY: JESSE CALL

1. In New York City, residents of Astoria are standing strong against a proposed hostel that would provide full-time housing to people experiencing homelessness in the community. Since 2006, the Westway Motel has been serving as a temporary shelter, also to the chagrin of other local residents who claim the shelter residents increase the crime rate in the community. While many outreach organizations are looking for more permanent housing options for people experiencing homless, Councilman Peter Vallone has specifically mediated an agreement to NOT allow the Westway Motel be anything more than a temporary shelter and has said that he and local residents will not tolerate a change. “It has always been my position that we need to be responsible for our homeless population, but not at the expense of homeowners,” Vallone told The Queens Courier. The application for the shelter is still pending.

2. Some Republicans in Annapolis, Maryland are calling for the replacement of a City Alderman because he is currently experiencing homelessness and, therefore, they claim he does not meet the residency requirements for the position. Alderman Kenneth Kirby says he is currently residing with a network of family and friends, but his opponents say that these are not always in the district he claims to represent. The City Council met in closed session to discuss how to deal with the situation, and the only action that resulted was a request that the city attorney research the residency requirement. A two-week deadline was set.

3. An effort to help garner attention from state legislators in Rhode Island has a different community group each week sponsoring a soup kitchen in the state house. The population of people experiencing homelessness in the state is at a five-year high, Patch.com reports. Several bills relating to the growing homelessness issue in Rhode Island are before the legislators, including more funding for affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs and the creation of a Homeless Bill of Rights. Rising rent prices are expected to add to the problem unless the General Assembly takes action.

4. In Philadelphia, Penn., a Christian charity is serving up meals with a “side of dignity. Meals provided by Broad Street Ministry are served at tables with real plates, silverware, and tablecloths. At each table, people with need are joined by others in the community who chat with them as they share the meal. Second and third helpings are encouraged and extra fruit and bread can be taken after the meal, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. While Broad Street serves it food indoors, city officials are looking to shut down other feeding services that are conducted outdoors, claiming they are a safety hazard.

5. Students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Wisconsin have teamed up with a shelter to help them save money through water conservation. Guest House grows a lot of the food it uses to feed it clients in a garden at its location. After hearing about the project, the students teamed up to create a system which will store rainwater to be used to water the plants in the garden. “I thought it was really cool idea to help a homeless shelter in a unique way that really helps out the community at the same time,” MSOE student Reid Gridley told FOX6 News.

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