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Paul Boden
Paul Boden is the Organizing Director of Western Regional Advocacy Project. He became homeless at the age of 16 after the death of his mother. He began volunteering at a drop-in shelter in San Francisco in 1983, eventually becoming a program director there. He then worked as a case manager in a supportive hotel program for mentally ill people. Paul served as Executive Director of San Francisco's Coalition on Homelessness for 16 years and was a founder of the Community Housing Partnership, a nationally recognized permanent housing corporation with optional supportive services. He served as president of its Board for 10 years. Paul was also a board member of the National Coalition for the Homeless and co-chair of its civil rights and grassroots organizing workgroup. He has received dozens of community awards during the last twenty-five years and recognition from the city and county of San Francisco, the State of California, and the Congress of the United States. Paul regularly writes articles and op-eds and travels throughout the country giving talks and trainings.

Entries by Paul Boden

Didn't Work Then, Won't Work Now

(5) Comments | Posted January 31, 2013 | 12:02 PM

2013-01-15-breakingchains.jpgNot until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 did Jim Crow laws finally become part of history. Not until 1974 did Chicago take off the books the last Ugly Law that penalized and fined "any person...

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A Toolkit for Building Power

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 10:15 AM

If we want to change the sinking direction our country is heading down where more than 46 million of us live in what Martin Luther King termed "the cage of poverty," we need to organize ourselves across issues; we need to connect our individual community-based organizing efforts to...

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This Crow Won't Fly

(1) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 12:47 PM

The United States has a long history of using mean-spirited and often brutal laws to keep "certain" people out of public spaces and out of public consciousness. Jim Crow laws segregated the South after the Civil War and Sundown Towns forced people to leave town before the sun set. The...

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McKinney-Vento Turns 25 and Homelessness Continues to Grow!

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2012 | 4:23 PM

Passed in 1987, McKenny-Vento was intended to address the emergency needs of homeless people while the federal government worked to restore the funding which had been cut from HUD's affordable housing programs.

But it didn't work that way. McKinney-Vento has spawned an endless array of continuum-of-care plans, 5-year plans,...

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The Power of WE

(2) Comments | Posted May 8, 2012 | 1:15 PM

The days of "Please sir, may I have some more?" are over. As of April 1, 2012, the message has changed to "We are ENTITLED to exist in our communities, whether you like it or not."

When we are able to pull together 17 communities and unite behind...

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Fed Up With Housing Policy

(5) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 6:03 PM

More than 1.46 million households are currently living on less than $2 a day per person in the wealthiest country in the world, more than double what it was in 1996. This shameful fact has had an especially harmful effect on children, whose numbers in these households ballooned...

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I Ain't No Broken Window

(4) Comments | Posted April 5, 2012 | 11:04 AM

James Q. Wilson, the person credited with coining the theory of broken-windows policing, died last month and people are starting to ask what "Broken Windows" is all about. Those of us who have been identified as no more than a broken window are sick of it.

The broken-windows...

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No Fooling, National Day of Action for the Right to Exist: April 1st

(3) Comments | Posted January 27, 2012 | 4:17 PM

2012-01-27-HouseKeysNotHandcuffs.png"They want us out of our community!"
"We're always told to move on, but to where? There are no places for us to be." -- Survey Respondents

Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) and USA-Canada Alliance of Inhabitants (USACAI)...

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Art and Activism: 1930s and Today

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2011 | 1:24 PM

Can political art change the world? It's a question that political artists often ask, sometimes in frustration and sometimes in despair.

History and current examples show that it can. By itself art cannot change everything, but its effect can be profound. From the Great Depression to present day, art...

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At the Crossroads: Time to Decide Whether Housing Is a Human Right or Commodity?

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2011 | 10:47 PM

2011-09-29-Ronreturns.jpg On August 10, 2011, the Federal Housing Financing Administration, Treasury, and Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a joint Request For Information (RFI) "seeking input on new options for selling [250,000] single-family real estate owned (REO)...

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It's Madness: the Incarceration of Disabled Homeless People in the US

(20) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 5:42 PM

The criminal justice system has displaced the mental health system as the main institution for dealing with poor people with psychiatric disabilities in the United States.

Federal cuts to mental health and affordable housing programs are responsible for this shameful reality. During his tenure as President, Ronald Reagan instituted sweeping...

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The Quality of Whose Life? Final Part

(2) Comments | Posted June 3, 2011 | 1:18 PM

This is the final part in "The Quality of Whose Life?" series. It focuses on the proliferation of repressive and discriminatory "quality of life" laws across the country that make it a crime to sit or lie on a sidewalk, sleep outside, panhandle and urinate or defecate in public even...

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Berkeley Merchants Plot a Police Clampdown on Youth

(16) Comments | Posted May 12, 2011 | 4:34 PM

It is a sad spectacle to see the once-liberal mayor and City Council promoting the right-wing proposals of powerful business interests and ordering a law-and-order crackdown straight out of Nixon.

All across the nation, cities are responding to the rising floodtides of poverty and homelessness, not by creating model programs...

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Less Is More, for the Poor

(1) Comments | Posted February 17, 2011 | 12:24 AM

2011-02-14-evictionenews.jpgOn Valentines Day, Monday February 14th, communities across the country joined together in a collective day of action called by National Alliance of HUD Tenants.

From Washington DC to Florida and from Maine to California, HUD tenants and foreclosure victims, homeless...

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Something for Nothing: The Selling Off of Public Housing

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2011 | 1:46 PM

HUD has administered the planned obsolescence of public housing for well over 15 years. According to HUD, 150,000 units have been lost to demolition and disposition, although the number of lost units is probably closer to 280,000 if taken from the Millennial Housing Report and Ways and Means...

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The Devastating Impacts of Safer Cities Policing in Skid Row

(2) Comments | Posted January 20, 2011 | 9:18 PM

On Tuesday, December 21st, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), a founding member of Western Regional Advocacy Project, held a press conference to release a human rights assessment of Skid Row's Safer Cities Initiative, an intensive policing effort launched by Mayor Villaraigosa that has been...

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It's Crazy to Criminalize Homelessness

(7) Comments | Posted January 20, 2011 | 3:00 PM

WRAP has been documenting the increases of mentally ill people in local jails as a result of diminished funding for mental health treatment and housing, escalation of "nuisance crime" enforcement by police and private security, and expansion of mental health courts.

The scale of this issue is enormous:...

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The Quality of Whose Life? Part 3

(4) Comments | Posted November 18, 2010 | 5:39 PM

This is the third article in a series we're writing on Quality of Life ordinances, our contemporary version of the vagrancy laws that have been with us for centuries. In the South, they were used to force freed slaves back to the plantation. In the North, they were...

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The Quality of Whose Life? Part 2

(11) Comments | Posted October 22, 2010 | 9:46 AM

What images do the words "quality of life" bring to mind? A peaceful beach? A beautiful park? A farmers market full of healthy produce? In the realm of policing, the phrase "quality of life" carries different connotations. It means a veteran getting hauled in for sleeping on the sidewalk, a...

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The Quality of Whose Life? An Introduction to America's Modern Anti-Poor Movement

(2) Comments | Posted October 5, 2010 | 3:03 PM

One more stark reminder of the disconnect between our ideals and public policy is to look at the declining stocks of our country's public and project-based housing. See the chart below. In the years between 1994 and 2008, we have been building more and more jail cells but fewer and...

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