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HUD REPORTS SLIGHT DECLINE IN NATION’S HOMELESSNESS IN 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Agatha Gutierrez   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:57

Local communities report homelessness declined in Iowa

WASHINGTON – On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before.  In releasing HUD’s latest national estimate of homelessness, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan noted that even during a historic housing and economic downturn, local communities are reporting significant declines in the number of homeless veterans and those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness.

Meanwhile, local homeless housing and service providers in Iowa reported that the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people decreased by 6.6 percent between 2011 and 2012.  Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation’s homeless population in 2012: California (20.7 percent), New York 11.0 percent), Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).

 

Homelessness in Iowa

2012

2011

Total # of homeless persons

2928

3134

Chronically Homeless

270

315

Homeless Veterans

217

267

 

HUD’s annual ‘point-in-time’ estimate seeks to measure the scope of homelessness over the course of one night every January.  Based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January’s estimate reveals a marginal decline in overall homelessness (-0.4%) along with a seven percent drop in homelessness among veterans and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.

Donovan said, “We continue to see a stable level of homelessness across our country at a time of great stress for those at risk of losing their housing.  We must redouble our efforts to target our resources more effectively to help those at greatest risk.  As our nation’s economic recovery takes hold, we will make certain that our homeless veterans and those living on our streets find stable housing so they can get on their path to recovery.”

Theresa Porter, Deputy Regional Administrator for HUD’s Region VII, added, “Behind every number is a family or an individual living in our shelter system or even on our streets.  While HUD and our local partners are working to reduce and eliminate homelessness, there are too many people struggling to find an affordable home to call their own.”

During one night in late January of 2012, local planners or “Continuums of Care” across the nation conducted a one-night count of their sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations.  These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts are then reported to HUD as part of state and local grant applications.  While the data reported to HUD does not directly determine the level of a community’s grant funding, these estimates, as well as full-year counts, are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress in reducing it.

The Obama Administration’s strategic plan to end homelessness is called Opening Doors – a roadmap by 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. The plan puts the country on a path to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015; and to ending homelessness among children, family, and youth by 2020. The Plan presents strategies building upon the lesson that mainstream housing, health, education, and human service programs must be fully engaged and coordinated to prevent and end homelessness.

The decline in veteran homelessness in particular is attributed to the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on a joint program called HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH).   To date, this targeted rental assistance program provided more than 42,000 homeless veterans permanent supportive housing through rental vouchers provided by HUD along with supportive services and case management by VA. The national estimate announced today reveal a particularly large decrease in the number of homeless veterans – more than 7 percent.

The reductions reported today are attributed in part to the impact of HUD’s $1.5 billion Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), a program designed to assist individuals and families confronted by a sudden economic crisis.  Funded through the Recovery Act, HPRP spared more 1.3 million persons from homelessness by offering them short-term rent assistance, security and utility deposits, and moving expenses.

Read HUD’s 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, including community-level data.

http://www.hudhre.info/index.cfm?do=viewResource&ResourceID=4726

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HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and  transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and  http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv.

 
Bettendorf Woman Sentenced to 4 Months’ Home Confinement for Extortion PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kevin E. VanderSchel   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:55
DAVENPORT, IA – On December 6, 2012, Theresa Kay Hunt, age 49, of Bettendorf, Iowa, was sentenced to time served for attempted extortion, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. Chief United States District Judge James E. Gritzner also sentenced Hunt to 1 year supervised release including four months’ home confinement.

Hunt contacted the Viewer Relations Department at Discovery Communications, Inc., and threatened to release damaging photos of a cast member of the show “19 Kids and Counting” if Discovery did not pay her $10,000. Hunt emailed pictures of the cast member to an undercover FBI agent and stated that she had more pictures buried in a box at her parent’s home.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

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Bettendorf Woman Sentenced to 4 Months’ Home Confinement for Extortion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Kevin E. VanderSchel   
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:55
DAVENPORT, IA – On December 6, 2012, Theresa Kay Hunt, age 49, of Bettendorf, Iowa, was sentenced to time served for attempted extortion, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. Chief United States District Judge James E. Gritzner also sentenced Hunt to 1 year supervised release including four months’ home confinement.

Hunt contacted the Viewer Relations Department at Discovery Communications, Inc., and threatened to release damaging photos of a cast member of the show “19 Kids and Counting” if Discovery did not pay her $10,000. Hunt emailed pictures of the cast member to an undercover FBI agent and stated that she had more pictures buried in a box at her parent’s home.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

####

 
Error on Your Credit Report? Here’s Help PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Burke   
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:33

By Jason Alderman

If you've ever tried to remove inaccurate of fraudulent information from your credit report and gotten the runaround, take heart: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now on the case.

In July 2012, the watchdog agency, formed as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, gained authority to supervise all of the major consumer reporting agencies.

The CFPB now advocates for consumers who have complaints regarding interactions with credit bureaus and identity theft protection services. This adds to the agency's consumer grievance oversight which already included mortgages, bank accounts, consumer loans and private student loans.

"Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in announcing his agency's new responsibility. "They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs. Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged."

You can seek assistance from the CFPB if you have issues with:

  • Incorrect information on your credit report;
  • How a consumer reporting agency is handling its investigation of your complaint;
  • The improper use of a credit report;
  • Being unable to get a copy of a credit score or file; and
  • Problems with credit monitoring or identity-protection services.

Here's how the new system works:

If you believe your credit report contains incorrect or fraudulent information, you should first file a dispute with and get a response directly from that credit reporting company before contacting the CFPB. The same goes if you have an issue with how the company is handling its investigation of your grievance – for example, if they don't respond in writing within 30 days.

If, after filing your grievance, you are dissatisfied with the resolution, you may file a complaint with the CFPB using any of the following methods:

Once your complaint has been logged, you'll be given a tracking number to check its status. Each complaint will be processed individually and sent to the credit bureau in question for response. The CFPB expects companies to respond within 15 days with information about the steps they have taken or plan to take. You'll have the option to dispute the company's response to your complaint.

Credit reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer credit reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. Among other things, they track the number and types of credit accounts you use, how long they've been open and whether you've paid your bills on time.

"The consequences of errors in a consumer report can be catastrophic for a consumer, shutting him or her out of credit markets, jeopardizing employment prospects, or significantly increasing the cost of housing," noted the CFPB's announcement.

You can order one free credit report per year from the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. (Order through www.annualcreditreport.com; otherwise you'll pay a small fee.) Proactively ordering your reports on a regular basis can help identify bad credit behavior and spot fraudulent activity or errors before they can damage your credit.

To learn more about credit reports and scores, visit the CFPB's website, www.cfpb.gov. Another good resource is What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a financial literacy program run by Visa Inc.

 
Niabi Zoo Sets Annual Attendance Record PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Marc Heinzman   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 15:40
Coal Valley, IL – December 5, 2012 - Niabi Zoo announced today that it has smashed its existing record for annual attendance. For the 2012 season, which began on March 5th and ended with the Zoo’s last event on December 1st, a total of 256,243 people passed through its gates. This figure represents an increase of nearly 27,000 zoo visitors from 2011, which was a record year for Niabi Zoo at the time. This is also the first time zoo attendance has officially surpassed a quarter of a million people.

Zoo Director Marc Heinzman attributes this new record to a variety of factors, including favorable weather conditions for much of the year and strong continued support from the community. “I’m amazed at how many people came out this year,” said Heinzman, “and I am very grateful to everyone for their support of Niabi Zoo during my first year as Zoo Director.” Zoo officials hope to set yet another new record during the upcoming 2013 season.

Niabi Zoo will reopen for the 2013 season on March 11th. Zoo visitors should expect a full schedule of events, programs, and activities, in addition to a variety of improvements to zoo facilities.

 
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