Congressional Homelessness Caucus Hosts a Briefing on the Violence Against The Homeless Accountability Act with Actress Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon advocates for the need to protect homeless individuals
Washington, DC – (Wednesday, June 25, 2014) – Today, the Congressional Homelessness Caucus, co-chaired by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Congressman Alcee Hastings, in conjunction with the office of Congressman John Conyers hosted an important briefing on violence against America’s homeless individuals. The briefing was held to bring awareness to and provide support for H.R. 1136, the Violence Against the Homeless Accountability Act of 2013.
Since 1999, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has documented more than 1,437 acts of violence against homeless individuals, 375 of which were fatal attacks. Congresswoman Johnson proposed this legislation to amend the Hate Crime Statistics Act to include crimes against the homeless in the crime data collected by the Attorney General.
“Violence against homeless individuals is a problem that has no boundaries. It is a threat to our homeless men, women and children of all backgrounds. Until we have a sound understanding of the scope and nature of the problem, we will remain unable to develop targeted solutions or draft comprehensive reform. Today's briefing is a solid step towards increased awareness of the problem. We must continue to take deliberate steps toward ending violence against our homeless population.”
During the briefing, a clip was shown from Storied Streets, a documentary on the rash of violence against the homeless. Director, Tom Morgan spoke about the film and the stories from around the country that he investigated. Actress and activist, Susan Sarandon, an advocate for homeless individuals, spoke at length about the atrocities and violent attacks homeless individuals face. Sarandon also discussed many of the factors that can contribute to homelessness. Panelist, David Pirtle spoke at length about his time being homeless and the many acts of violence he personally survived. Pirtle now works with the National Coalition for the Homeless.