Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Time For Superstorm Sandy Evacuees To Check Out Of Hotels

Oct 3, 2013
Originally published on October 4, 2013 11:38 am

Almost 300 Sandy victims are still living in hotel rooms on the taxpayers' dime — but not for long. City officials say the program is expensive, and it's time for those remaining Sandy evacuees to move out.

This week, the displaced families living in hotels got a letter from New York City officials telling them they will not pay for those rooms after Friday.

This was the message they sent back on Wednesday: Heck no, we won't go!

At a press conference outside City Hall, several dozen evacuees protested for more time.

"Normal people, normal citizens, we had jobs, we go to school. We just basically want to get back to where we were, to the lives that we have," says Shawn Little, a home health care worker who lived in Far Rockaway, Queens, before the storm.

Little says she's close to doing that. She's signed a lease on an apartment, she says, and hopes to move in soon. But many other Sandy evacuees still have nowhere else to go.

"A lot of these people are going to end up homeless," says Judith Goldiner with the Legal Aid Society. "We did not focus our resources after Sandy on making sure the people who were most harmed by Sandy were taken care of, and that's the real tragedy here."

City officials dispute that. Michele Ovesey is New York's commissioner for homeless services. She says the city went above and beyond, sheltering as many as 3,000 households in hotels over the past year.

"It's a very generous program. We essentially allowed anyone in who knocked at our door," Ovesey says. "We have to have some kind of end date for the program."

The city tried to end the hotel program back in April, but the Legal Aid Society sued to keep it going. A federal judge issued an injunction but lifted it last week. Now the city says it will stop paying for hotel rooms. Goldiner says the city is overlooking one of the biggest problems facing all New Yorkers — but especially low-income Sandy evacuees.

"In New York City, we have about a 1 percent vacancy rate, and it's lower — much lower — for affordable housing apartments," Goldiner says.

City and federal officials created a voucher program to help evacuees find apartments they can afford. But Goldiner says some of those vouchers were issued in just the past few weeks, leaving her clients in limbo.

"They are literally waiting for city bureaucracy to dot the i's and cross the t's and they can move in. But unfortunately, the city isn't willing to wait for them," she says.

Ovesey concedes that not everyone in the hotels will find alternative housing by Friday. But she says the hotel program has helped 1,400 households move into permanent housing since the storm.

"We made every effort to keep as many evacuees in the hotel program frankly as long as we could, and I think we've done a tremendous job," Ovesey says.

Ovesey says the hotel program hasn't been cheap, either. It's cost taxpayers more than $70 million. FEMA is picking up that bill, but it won't reimburse any more hotel stays. At the same time, Irwin Redlener at Columbia University's Earth Institute points out that there are billions of dollars in federal recovery funding that have yet to be spent.

"We're battling against a very disorganized federal outgo of resources, so the cities are left holding the bag," Redlener says. "And even worse than that, the families are left holding the bag."

Some of those evacuees may try to stay in the hotel rooms and take their chances in court, while others may have to check into homeless shelters Friday night.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Residents along the Gulf Coast are watching anxiously to see if Tropical Storm Karen will strengthen into a hurricane. Meanwhile, in New York, almost 300 evacuees of Hurricane Sandy are still living in hotel rooms paid for with taxpayer dollars - but not for long. City officials say the program is expensive and that it's time for the last of Sandy's victims to move out. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: There are about 140 households displaced by Sandy who are still living in hotel rooms. This week they got a letter from New York City officials telling them the city will not pay for those rooms after tomorrow. This was the message they sent back yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Heck no, we won't go. Heck no, we won't go. Heck no, we won't go. Heck no, we won't go.

ROSE: At a press conference outside city hall, several dozen evacuees protested for more time. Shawn Little is a home health care worker who lived in Far Rockaway, Queens before the storm.

SHAWN LITTLE: Normal people, normal citizens, we had jobs, we go to school. We just basically want to get back to where we were, to the lives that we have.

ROSE: Little says she's close to doing that. She's signed a lease on an apartment, she says, and hopes to move in soon. But many other Sandy evacuees still have nowhere else to go.

JUDITH GOLDINER: A lot of these people are going to end up homeless.

ROSE: Judith Goldiner is with the Legal Aid Society.

GOLDINER: We did not focus our resources after Sandy on making sure the people who were most harmed by Sandy were taken care of, and that's the real tragedy here.

ROSE: City officials dispute that. Michele Ovesey is New York's commissioner for Homeless Services. She says the city went above and beyond, sheltering as many as 3,000 households in hotels over the past year.

MICHELE OVESEY: It's a very generous program. We essentially allowed anyone in who knocked at our door. We have to have some kind of end date for the program.

ROSE: The city tried to end the program back in April, but the Legal Aid Society sued to keep it going. A federal judge issued an injunction but lifted it last week. Now the city says it will stop paying for hotel rooms. Judith Goldiner at Legal Aid says the city is overlooking one of the biggest problems facing all New Yorkers but especially low-income Sandy evacuees.

GOLDINER: In New York City, we have about a 1 percent vacancy rate, and it's lower - much lower - for affordable housing apartments.

ROSE: City and federal officials created a voucher program to help evacuees find apartments they can afford. But Goldiner says some of those vouchers were issued in just the past few weeks, leaving her clients in limbo.

GOLDINER: They are - literally waiting for city bureaucracy to dot the I's and cross the T's and they can move in. But unfortunately, the city isn't willing to wait for them.

ROSE: DHS Commissioner Michele Ovesey concedes that not everyone in the hotels will find alternative housing by tomorrow. But she says the hotel program has helped 1,400 households move into permanent housing since the storm.

OVESEY: We made every effort to keep as many evacuees in the hotel program, frankly, as long as we could, and I think, you know, we've done a tremendous job.

ROSE: Ovesey says the hotel program hasn't been cheap, either. It's cost taxpayers more than $70 million. FEMA is picking up that bill, but it won't reimburse any more hotel stays. At the same time, Irwin Redlener at Columbia University's Earth Institute points out that there are billions of dollars in federal recovery funding that have yet to be spent.

IRWIN REDLENER: We're battling against a very disorganized federal outgo of resources, so the cities are left sort of holding the bag. And even worse than that, the families are left holding the bag.

ROSE: Some of those evacuees may try to stay in the hotel rooms and take their chances in court, while others may have to check into homeless shelters tomorrow night. Joel Rose, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.