Homelessness Awareness Week: Housing is a Human Right, Sleep Deprivation is Torture!


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Vern here.  As tomorrow begins National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and as January will see the installation of a new Anaheim Mayor, Harry Sidhu, who has promised to “get all the homeless OUT OF MY TOWN,” we thought we’d print the latest piece by advocate Roussan Joshua Collins.  Tiny-hearted Mayor Harry really won’t be able to do anything he promised during the campaign, which he probably doesn’t remember anyway – he’ll be constrained by the Boise ruling as well as the city’s agreements with Judge Carter.  

Speaking of which, the 325 shelter beds Anaheim has planned:  200 of them will be provided by my beloved Salvation Army, in the smaller, temporary iteration of their “Center of Hope” south of their Lewis Street ARC – within a couple years that’ll be a bigger, permanent 400-bed place.  The other promised 125 beds will be in the Taormina-owned building at 3431 East La Palma where Bill had dearly WANTED to build his idealistic “Life Rebuilding Center,” which Anaheim apparently deemed too infeasible and time-consuming, so they’re just buying Bills’ building for (I heard) 3 million or so, and putting 125 beds there till the Center of Hope is done in 2021. 

And this coming January, if you were wondering, is when these 325 beds are slated to be ready – well, I hope December’s not too cold or rainy!  Here’s RJ:

Housing is a Human Right,

and Sleep Deprivation is Torture!

By Roussan Joshua Collins

After over a decade of living with the homeless by choice as an activist and minister, I have seen and personally experienced the devastating effects that occur when homeless individuals are not allowed to rest or gain access to housing, but are instead criminalized and often jailed by various Cities and Counties in USA.  Unfortunately still today many Taxpayers would rather fight to keep the homeless in jail than fight for them to gain access to affordable housing, and this to their own loss and shame.  According to a UCI study the taxpayers would save nearly twice as much if they would work toward a housing first approach when it comes to dealing with homeless issue, instead of criminalizing them. One article states:

Cost Savings of Housing Chronically Street Homeless in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

  • The estimated average annual cost of services per capita for permanent supportive housing clients is 50% lower than for the chronically street homeless ($51,587 versus $100,759).
  • Taking into consideration the average cost of services per capita, we estimate a cost savings of approximately $42 million per year if all Orange County chronically homeless were placed into permanent supportive housing.
  • The potential cost savings of housing the homeless are even more significant for the chronically street homeless who are the heaviest service users, and in particular for those in the upper decile of costs.
  • We find that 10% of the chronically street homeless incur annual costs higher than $439,787 per person, whereas the most costly 10% of those in permanent supportive housing incur annual costs in excess of only $55,332.

What is also amazing is that even despite all the wasted taxpayer dollars poured into criminalization of the homeless, we still have an abundance of wealth and resources specifically in Orange County and in our nation as a whole to help them!  Yet still these resources are often left unused, wasted or used for the wrong purpose due to the action or inaction of County and City officials.

We like to think of ourselves as a nation leading the fight for liberty and justice for all, and as we all know sleep is a necessity of life, just as food and water would be.  Knowing this, what gives one human the right to deny another human access to the basic necessities of life when they have it in their power to help them?

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the United States signed, states the following:

Article 25

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

On December 10, 1948, 48 countries came together at the United Nations in Paris to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The following is a complete list:

Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Burma, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, India, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Siam, Sweden, Syria, Turkey,United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The following eight member states abstained: Belorussia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, South Africa, the USSR, and Yugoslavia.

If the United States would go as far as to sign this document (though we haven’t ratified it yet), why would so many Americans apparently be against this concept?  We also know that sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture, and one article states:

“A recently released report by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence focused on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  According to the report, among the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used in this program was sleep deprivation”

The article continues:

Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at time with their hands shackled above their heads. At least five detainees experienced disturbing hallucinations during prolonged sleep deprivation and, in at least two of those cases, the CIA nonetheless continued the sleep deprivation.”

Other side effects of sleep deprivation include a weakened immune system, lack of focus, and in extreme cases even death! Should American Citizens be forced to endure such awful health harming torture simply because they do not have enough money in their pocket to pay for the sky rocketing rent prices that many land lords currently charge?  Should not these land lords be held accountable for their lack of care and compassion to the most vulnerable in society? I believe we need to ensure housing does become a human right for all, and not just for the privileged few.  Even those convicted of crimes are given a right to housing, though the housing does also of course include taxpayer funded police to keep an eye on them. We are not demanding that everyone be given a mansion, but we do ask that those with many mansions and much land consider those with absolutely no place to lay their head.

The criminalization of the poor and homeless must end, and liberty and justice for all must be what we all continue to work toward. What GOD has given us is still GOD’s, and in order to be good stewards we must be willing to share what we really don’t need for the betterment of others around us. I do also believe there should be laws in place to keep the greed of man in check. Our actions will always affect those around us, and may GOD help us all to take the right actions that will bring blessing and healing to our world. Let us not store treasure on earth, but in heaven, and let us always continually pray that the meek will inherit the earth as well. If you would like do join my group, “Homeless Advocates for CHRIST” on Facebook, and email me at servingjesus99212@yahoo.com if you have questions or would like to get more involved in helping those in need.  Also check out, “Housing is a Human right of Orange County” on line, and get involved in your local community to make sure all have access to the housing they need. Thank you so much for your prayers and support, and by sharing this article and getting involved you are being part of the solution, when many still sadly choose to be part of the problem.

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In conclusion, here is my interview with the late, beloved homeless man David Doan, shortly before he died from lack of medical attention:

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PS: Join us advocates and other caring people tomorrow afternoon – Saturday, November 10 from 4-6 pm, the first day of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, for a Daytime Sleepout for the Homeless at the corner of Harbor and Katella.  Click here for more information!


About Admin

"Admin" is just editor Vern Nelson or associate editor Greg Diamond sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.