New York City: Kick off the weekend by buying cookies from these homeless Girl Scouts

Do you live in New York City? Do you like cookies? Are you into cookies so hard that you carry cash with you, just in case the opportunity to buy cookies arises while you're going about your day?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, read on.

The girls of Girl Scout troop 6,000 all have one thing in common: They all live in homeless shelters in New York City. Troop 6,000 came into being back in March of 2017 thanks to a partnership between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York and New York City's Department of Homeless Services. Currently, troop 6,000's membership includes kids from 15 different homeless shelters in the NYC area. This year, the girls of the troop are selling Girl Guide cookies for the first time:

From Eyewitness News 7 NY:

"The biggest impact that we see and when you talk to the girls you'll hear them say, is that they belong to something, they have a sisterhood within the other Girl Scouts," said Meredith Maskara of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. "They talk to other girls who may be in their same situation who feel alone, and they feel like they have a stronger sense of community and belonging overall."

Buying any Girl Scout cookies, which are the crack cocaine of sugary treats, is a win. Buying them from troop 6,000? That's way more cool: not only will doing so help to grow the bonds of friendship and belonging in a group of disenfranchised children, the cash you fork over will also help those kids to take part in amazing experiences that may have been all but unattainable to them, otherwise. Read the rest

Vending machines to offer free items to NYC's homeless people

Using electronic key cards, homeless men and women in New York City will soon be able to get three free items a day from one of these orange vending machines. Basic but necessary items like socks, tampons, toothbrushes, and water will be made available to them. There will also be food, like fresh fruit, chips, sandwiches, and chocolate (all donations from local supermarkets, charities, and shops). One of the most popular items? Books.

The man behind the project is Huzaifah Khaled. He's the founder of Action Hunger, a British charity that is "committed to alleviating poverty and hardship amongst the homeless."

Khaled was recently interviewed on WBUR, and talked about the first machine already being used in Nottingham, England since January:

"The early data and feedback has been very, very promising. In fact, it's far surpassed even our own expectations. It's offering them a little more dignity. It's giving them a little more agency over their own lives. It's really heartwarming to see our service being used exactly as designed."

Thanks, Robin!

images via Action Hunger Read the rest

Guy shipped gifts to homeless people

Viral marketing agency head Rob Bliss used Amazon's same-day delivery service to sent gifts of shoes, long johns, and other much-needed items to some people living on the cold streets of New York City.

He writes: "I'm sure this technique could be used with Postmates or whoever else too. I simply wanted to demonstrate how easy and convenient it can be to bring a person in need, what they need, and to encourage that behavior." Read the rest

Suspected serial killer caught after cops put out a bait mannequin

After two homeless men were murdered in Las Vegas by the same method, cops put out a bait mannequin that looked like a homeless man sleeping under a blanket. During the stakeout, Shane Shindler began beating the mannequin with a hammer similar to the weapon used in the other deaths. Read the rest

Help the homeless hero who reported a NJ bomb

Lee Parker and Ivan White found and reported a bomb allegedly planted by Ahmad Khan Rahami in Elizabeth, New Jersey. You can thank them by supporting the local homeless program. Read the rest

Bus station plays Alvin and the Chipmunks music to annoy homeless people

If you visit the Bournemouth, England bus station after midnight, you'll be treated to the fine squeaky sounds of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Why? According to the BBC, the music is part of a Bournemouth Borough Council strategy to "deter anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping, which could cause waiting passengers to feel intimidated."

"The only way I can describe it is like how people are held at Guantanamo Bay," says resident Aron Kennedy. "If they're laying down in their sleeping bags and they've got this constant music going through their head, it'll make them go insane." ALVIN!!!

Read the rest

US DOJ: It's unconstitutional to prohibit the homeless from sleeping outside

Banning the homeless from sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to sleep is unconstitutional, argues the United States Department of Justice in a statement of interest filed regarding a Boise, Idaho court case about an anti-camping ordinance. Read the rest

A homeless man plays Styx's “Come Sail Away” and crushes it

Donald Gould became a viral celebrity after this video of him performing a classic rock anthem exploded on Facebook. He is homeless. Read the rest

Homeless recruited to decontaminate Fukishima; paid less than minimum wage

The publicly funded, $35B cleanup of radioactive soil around Fukishima is staffed by homeless men recruited from Tokyo Sendai subway stations. They are preferentially sent to the most radioactive zones, and work for less than minimum wage. Mobbed-up subcontractors confiscate as much as two thirds of their pay in "fees." Everyone involved in sourcing the labor for the cleanup denies responsibility for the illegal practices, blaming sub-subcontractors or cowboy recruiters. The president of one contractor, Aisogo Service, defended the practice of not scrutinizing the labor force or the conditions under which it worked, saying "If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn't move forward. You wouldn't get a tenth of the people you need."

Workers are also recruited from publicly funded homeless shelters. One man worked for a month for a total payout of $10. After this fact was verified and made public, the man disappeared. Workers are charged exorbitant rates for lodgings and food, and are docked pay for being too ill to work. As a result, some workers are in debt to their employers, a debt that deepens the longer they stay employed.

The decontamination project is two to three years behind schedule. Read the rest

"Naked caveman" may be evicted from cave-like home in El Paso, TX

A naked "caveman" whose life and political beliefs have intrigued residents of El Paso, TX may soon be evicted from his cave home. There's a video interview with him here.

The local ABC TV affiliate learned that his dwelling "is actually an intricate structure comprised of three main living quarters." This includes the cave he spoke through when he told a reporter he'd been living there for three years. "It appears he was also living underneath some of the portions of the broken concrete slabs in a kind of underground labyrinth connecting the three main structures."

(via NYDN) Read the rest