With Homeless Increasingly Shut Out Elsewhere, Richmond Library Leans into Role as de facto Day Shelter

“But while some libraries have looked for ways to dissuade the homeless from using their facilities, leaders in Richmond have taken a different tack.

Over the past two years, they have eliminated rules that targeted people without housing by banning such items as large bags and bedrolls and begun adding services aimed at aiding the growing class of patrons. They made it easier for people without state identification to access the library’s computers, which are heavily used by homeless and low-income people for both job searches and entertainment. And, power outlets being an in-demand commodity among the homeless, this month they installed a cellphone charging station.

By April, they plan to hire a part-time social worker to work directly with homeless patrons.”

T.S. Barnwell, who said he visits the library every day, walked into Richmond’s main branch on Friday. Library staff have estimated recently that as many as 70 percent of the visitors are homeless. SHELBY LUM/TIMES-DISPATCH

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St. Cloud, Duluth Add Homeless Teen Programs

“We’re making a lot of progress in our community,” Dornfeld said. “Our goal is to reduce youth homelessness so it’s rare, brief and non-reoccurring.”


An emergency shelter for homeless teens ages 15 to 19, the Loft Shelter will open soon in downtown Duluth and be operated by Life House, a nonprofit.

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Finding Homes, Jobs for Homeless Youth

David Hewitt, director of Minneapolis and Hennepin County’s Office To End Homelessness, at the kickoff for Hennepin County’s 100-day campaign to get 150 homeless youths permanent housing and jobs.

“During a 100-day challenge that ended Nov. 8, a coalition of 30 public, private and nonprofit groups set the ambitious goal of moving 150 young people from homelessness to more stable situations. But they exceeded their benchmark by finding housing and/or employment for 236 local teens and young adults.”

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At Boston Public Library, New Positions to Help the Homeless

“The new Outreach Manager ‘will work as part of a team providing assessment, crisis intervention and intensive case management services,’ and will be based out of the Boston Public Library’s central branch in Copley Square.

The Copley Square main branch of the Boston Public Library pictured.

Additionally, Boston Public Library is hiring a reference librarian who will specialize in health and human services and recently launched an addiction recovery resources guide, which includes information on substance use and recovery services designed for active users and their loved ones.”

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Empty Pockets, Broken Spirits: Poverty’s Impact Reaches Far Beyond Money

“It’s like if you don’t go into an area that’s poor, you don’t understand or appreciate the area that’s poor,” City Councilman John Garland, a native Roanoker, said during the kickoff meeting at the Jackson Park Library in Southeast Roanoke.

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Libraries Struggle With A New Role: Social Services Center

“We don’t judge anyone as they come in,” said Hawaii State Librarian Stacey Aldrich. “That’s the beauty of a library. That’s the way it should be. We’re one of the most democratic spaces.”

The Hawaii State Public Library System is seeking $146,556 over fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to hire a manager who would be responsible for training library staff statewide and creating partnerships with social service agencies.

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The Hawaii State Library main branch in Honolulu is one of 50 public libraries in the islands.- Natanya Friedheim/Civil Beat

Dallas Library Strives To Be Haven For Homeless

“A big city library has turned around the way it deals with some of its most marginalized visitors. The Dallas Public Library has committed to not just tolerating—but welcoming—every homeless person who walks through the door.”

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The downtown Dallas Public Library strives to be a place of welcoming, not just tolerance, for homeless population.

Joliet Library Helps Provide Winter Supplies to Local Homeless Population

“Being in the downtown area, the Joliet Public Library is uniquely positioned to be able to partner with other organizations to provide assistance to the unsheltered here in Joliet,” said Megan Millen, Executive Director of the Joliet Public Library, in a news release. “Thanks to the generosity of the Joliet community, events like this are able to provide those winter essentials to the less fortunate residents of Will County.”

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