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Crime Well-known homeless advocate who helped start street newspaper stabbed to death in Baltimore robbery

04:50  02 july  2020
04:50  02 july  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Pictured: 'Generous' shop-keeper, 54, who was stabbed to death in a bungled robbery as he opened up on Sunday morning. Neighbours said the shop has been targeted before in an armed robbery . The force received a report of a disturbance at a property on Merlin Drive in Wells , Somerset He was murdered outside a property on the same street that Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando was shot dead

He helped start the group Housing our Neighbors and sat on many boards fighting for housing and health care for people who are experiencing homelessness . You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

a group of people sitting in a chair talking on a cell phone: Paul Behler, 67, right, was an advocate for people who experienced homelessness. He was one of the founders of the group Housing Our Neighbors and help start a newspaper called Word on the Street. © Courtesy of Housing Our Neighbors/The Baltimore Sun/TNS Paul Behler, 67, right, was an advocate for people who experienced homelessness. He was one of the founders of the group Housing Our Neighbors and help start a newspaper called Word on the Street.

When Tony Simmons first met his friend Paul Behler seven years ago, they made a pact: “You got my back. I got your back.”

A man had just been stabbed to death at a Baltimore homeless shelter where they were staying, and the new friends leaned on each other to feel a little safer navigating a life on the streets filled with uncertainty, risk and danger.

They became two of Baltimore’s best-known advocates for people experiencing homelessness — sharing their experiences from the city to the state capital to push politicians to spend more on permanent, supportive and affordable housing.

UK police charge suspect with murder of 3 in Reading park

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The teen is a known robbery suspect who was wearing a green jacket yesterday. A witness from the attack in the park reported to police that one of the assailants was also wearing a green jacket. Mayor Bill de Blasio came under fire on Thursday for his position on crime after tweeting about Tessa's death .

THE Reading terror suspect appeared in court this morning accused of stabbing three pals to death in a two-minute spree. Scientist Mr Wails was stabbed once in the back as the group enjoyed the evening sunshine. They were all declared dead at the scene.

On Sunday, Behler, 67, met the fate Simmons said his friend feared all those years before.

According to Baltimore police, Behler was robbed and stabbed to death shortly before 2 a.m. at a bus stop in the 300 block of W. Saratoga Street. Behler’s friends say the location, not far from Lexington Market, had a bench and was where he frequently spent time.

“Paul would sit in that spot every single day,” Simmons said Wednesday. “That’s where he would sit and read the paper and pass the time.”

Simmons, who rents a home near McCulloh Street and North Avenue, said when he saw Behler about two weeks ago, Behler told him he was too afraid of catching COVID-19 to stay in a shelter. So, Simmons believes Behler was sleeping on the bench when he was attacked.

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Baltimore Mayor Jack Young urged residents to avoid gun violence and stay home so hospital beds could be used to treat coronavirus patients.

A MAN was stabbed to death yesterday in a broad daylight park attack - with two people arrested for The suburb of Boscombe is known to be a popular spot for people to drink and take drugs, and the "I would urge anyone with information that could assist this investigation, or who witnessed any

Police charged Brelan Handy, 27, of Glen Bernie, and Kenneth Smith, 61, of Baltimore, with murder, assault and robbery.

Friends say Behler was estranged from his family, and Simmons and others did not know much about Behler before he become homeless about a decade ago. His social media accounts, which his friends said Behler set up himself, show he grew up in Catonsville, was a 1971 graduate of the now-closed Cardinal Gibbons High School and was a musician and concert piano rebuilder for 40 years.

He was a founding member of the advocacy group Housing Our Neighbors; helped start Baltimore’s first street newspaper, Word on the Street, and was part of a Faces Of Homelessness Speakers Bureau. The paper, which sold for $1 a copy, was launched in 2012 and published for several years.

Bonnie Lane, who rents a room in the Abell neighborhood in North Baltimore, worked on the newspaper with Behler. She remembers him as a hardheaded intellectual who tried to use his life to champion change.

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Most homeless folks who resist going into shelter wouldn’t be eligible for this intervention, said Piedad Garcia The Easiest (and Hardest) Way to Get Someone Off the Street . Garcia and a slew of experts I “We know now that in order to engage people who are resistant to services, resistant to treatment

Many people who need permanent supportive housing are battling mental problems or drug and alcohol abuse, and would have once ended up in institutions. It often takes years for case workers to get people to try out permanent supportive housing and abandon the lives they’ve known on the streets .

“If he had housing, he might still be alive,” Lane said. “The people in power have the ability to house people. And they need to do it.”

While friends continue to arrange a funeral, a moment of silence for Behler is planned for Thursday outside City Hall during a 3 p.m. rally to demand officials address Baltimore’s housing crisis.

Housing Our Neighbors wants to see at least $175 million of federal coronavirus relief funds spent on rental assistance and eviction protection. They also are calling on Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young to extend an eviction moratorium in Baltimore beyond this month and move all shelter residents from hotel rooms to permanent housing.

A spokesman for the mayor was not able to immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

In announcing Behler’s death, police said they were looking for relatives. Detective Donny Moses, a department spokesman, said Wednesday that family had been located.

Megan Hustings, managing director of the Washington-based National Coalition for the Homeless, said the lives of people experiencing homelessness are often cut short due to lack of health care, exposure to extreme temperatures and violence.

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Research shows the leading causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, low wages or unsteady employment, a decline in available public benefits, domestic violence, mental illness and addiction.

Advocates in Baltimore said more than 100 homeless men and women died last year. The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services estimates that 2,500 homeless men, women and children live in Baltimore.

Kevin Lindamood, president of Health Care for the Homeless, said he remembers when he first became the organization’s president, Behler marched up to him and demanded to know his qualifications. Over the years, he pushed Lindamood to do better and seek meaningful input from the people they serve.

“To hear that he was murdered while sleeping at a bus stop is both a tragedy beyond measure and an indictment of a society that continues to allow homelessness in the wealthiest nation in the history of history,” Lindamood said. “We must come to understand housing and health care as fundamental human rights.

“It’s what Paul fought for.”

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©2020 The Baltimore Sun

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Pelosi responds to Columbus statue thrown in Baltimore harbor: 'People will do what they do' .
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said "people will do what they do" in response to a question about the toppling of a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore."I don't even have my grandmother's earrings," said Pelosi, who was born in Baltimore, adding, "I think it's up to the communities to decide what statues they want to see."The Columbus statue was taken off its podium and thrown into the Inner Harbor by protesters on Saturday. The statue had stood near Baltimore's "Little Italy" neighborhood and was put in place in 1984.

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