Press Release Contact: Nancy Mancias 202-422-8624
Thursday, July 13 Diane Wilson 361-676-0663

Anti-war Hunger Strikers Join Homeless Advocates
to Show Cost of War at Home
Ben & Jerry's Donate New Ice-Cream “American Pie”,
calling for poor to get greater slice of the national budget

WHEN: Friday, July 14, 5 pm

WHERE: Community for Creative Nonviolence Homeless Shelter, 425 2nd St. NW, Washington DC

WHO: Abdul Nurrididin, Director of the Community for Creative Nonviolence, Arafa Speaks, Homeless Advocate, CODEPINK fasters Diane Wilson and Medea Benjamin, Iraqi businessman Andy Shallal

Local homeless advocates and people in their second week of a fast to bring the troops home from Iraq (see www.troopshomefast.org) will gather for an ice cream giveaway and a press conference in front of the Community for Creative Nonviolence, a homeless shelter founded by Mitch Snyder, another long-term faster and homeless advocate. Ben & Jerry's has donated their new ice cream—American Pie—to show how the billions of dollars we have spent on the war in Iraq has had a debilitating effect on the poor here at home.

Every year over 2.3 million to 3.5 million people in the United States experience go homeless, many of them veterans from the Vietnam war and increasingly veterans from the Iraq war. The homeless rate in DC has doubled in the last 5 years, with over 16,000 people becoming homeless and 6,000 actually living in streets, alleys, and vehicles. Eighty percent of the city's homeless are African Americans and 70 percent of the homeless in the DC region suffer from mental illness. Yet the city of DC has shut down 2 homeless shelters and scheduled another for closure while at the same time funneling 1.5 billion dollars for the Iraq war effort. That $1.5 billion could have paid for building 10,000 affordable housing units or provided 375 million meals for the homeless.

"It's criminal that they're spending all this money killing people in Iraq and here at home people are dying on our streets because they don't have jobs or housing,” says homeless activist Arafa Speaks.

Diane Wilson, who has been on a water-only fast for 10 days as part of the Troops Home Fast organized by CODEPINK, "We'd make a lot more friends in the world feeding people ice cream and bringing joy to the faces of the poor than bombing villages and abusing prisoners."

The ice-cream giveaway is part of a new on-going project “I Scream for the Homeless” organized by Iraqi-American businessman/restauranter Andy Shallal.