Street Papers Print Chapter of Harry Potter Book

Homeless newspapers in Germany became prime property in late October when J.K. Rowling offered them exclusive publishing rights to the opening chapter of the latest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, before it hits the stores in its German translation.

The first chapter was printed in more than 20 street magazines in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, according to the German news corporation Deutsche Welle (www.dw-world.de). Rowling agreed to the early taste of the book as an effort to provided a much needed boost to the homeless services and job-training programs the street papers support. Rowling was herself an unemployed single mother living on welfare benefits before gaining success with the Harry Potter franchise., editor of, said the offer from Rowling’s publishers was a wonderful surprise and too good to refuse. “It was the greatest gift to us to be able to publish the chapter,” Birgit Müller, editor of Hinz & Kunzt, Germany’s biggest-selling street magazine, told Deutsche Welle.

The offices of Hinz & Kunzt started fielding dozens of phone calls a day from impatient Potter fans as soon as the announcement was made. “The vendors are over the moon. It will give us a massive boost.”

Ohio Teenagers Shock, Urinate on Homeless

CLEVELAND, Ohio- One of the four Ohio teenagers accused of kicking, urinating on, and shocking homeless people with a stun gun in downtown Cleveland this past August was sentenced to spend the rest of the year in jail, followed by 150 hours of volunteer work with homeless service organizations.

“If I could order it, I’d order no Thanksgiving dinner, no Christmas dinner while you are there,” Cleveland Municipal Judge C. Ellen Connally told Joshua Langenheim, 19, at the sentencing hearing, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (www.cleveland.com). “You don’t deserve it.”

Langenheim and his three accomplices were all caught when a video tape they had made of their attacks – which also showed them laughing at the people they were assaulting – was found in their car. In his tearful read of his apology in court, Langenheim said, “I don’t know if this was the downfall… or the turning point in my life. All I know is that I look at things differently.”

New Affordable Housing Plan in Tampa

TAMPA, Florida- For only $10 million, the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County could drastically reduce the homeless population in and around Tampa, Florida. The Coalition has put together an ambitious plan that would create thousands of new housing units and is now waiting on the local power brokers to see if they can get the financial backing to bring their plan to life, according to the Tampa Tribune (news.tbo.com).

The Places for People plan would create a trust fund, modeled after the National Housing Trust Fund, supported financially from a portion of the state’s real estate tax or documented recording fees, or a possible 1 percent increase in sales tax. The money would pay for affordable housing incentives as well as a homeless customer service clearinghouse that would set up homeless people with the services they need.