TEDx Talk — “Housing First”

homelessness, Housing Policy

TEDx Talk on how to end homelessness by Juha Kaakinen outlines societal views on homelessness and previously and presently-employed strategies for ending homelessness.  Kaakinen asks can we end homelessness? And if we can, how do we do this?


Interactive Poverty Activity


As the number of Americans living in poverty grows, “making ends meat” is becoming a challenging task that requires creative financing and many sacrifices.  CLICK HERE to be redirected to http://playspent.org, a site run by Urban Ministries of Durham.  The activity on this website challenges visitors to the site to experience poverty through a series of decisions regarding health, family, jobs, transportation, and housing.  The activity does a good job of highlighting the numerous expenses faced by Americans, and how low wages, low hours, and a limited job market suffocate choices and chances for change for those stuck in poverty.  Check it out!

“Homelessness Among School Children on the Rise”, AP Article by Kimberly Hefling Shows Growth in Number of Homeless Youth

homeless children, homelessness

CLICK HERE to watch a powerful video on homeless students who are trying to graduate from high school while living in very challenging situations.  PBS News Hour produced this video, which interviews high school students who have experienced homelessness in Los Angeles.  The news report shows the determination and perseverance of the students whose spirits are resilient in the face of very grueling challenges.

By clicking on the link above, you will also be redirected to a story titled “Homelessness Among School Children on the Rise”, written by Kimberly Hefling of the Associated Press (9/22/14).  The article details the realities of and the reasons behind the increasing rates of homelessness for children and young adults in the United States.  For example, Hefling cites an Education Department study (released 9/22/14) that found that in the 2012-2013 school year, over 1.3 million homeless students were enrolled in U.S. schools.  This represents an 8% increase from the previous school year.

This 8% increase reveals that there are huge gaps in the current education, housing, and social services systems, and that the institutions that should be supporting students experiencing homelessness are failing these students due to lack of funding (lack of resources).  This article and the attention that it draws to the larger structural issues surrounding homelessness for youth and children in America, begs the question: what are we doing (and by “we” I mean Americans) to help support students experiencing homelessness?  What policy changes can be made to support  homeless students and why have these policy changes failed to take effect despite the URGENCY of the situation?  Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and questions.

NPR asks “What Do Homeless Vets Look Like?”

homelessness, personal experience

NPR is on a roll this week, continuing to publicize issues of homelessness and housing inequality.  Click HERE to see a photo essay about homeless veterans in San Diego who discuss their looks, their lives, and their identities.

A Must Read Article: “Eviction and Intersectionality: Why Black Women Need Housing Justice” by Denechia Powell

Housing Policy, Women and Poverty


The article “Eviction and Intersectionality: Why Black Women Need Housing Justice” is a must read piece written by Denechia Powell weaving personal experience with insightful societal observations.  Click on the link above to read the article, posted on the website FOR HARRIET (www.forharriet.com).

What TO say and what NOT TO say to a person experiencing homelessness.

homelessness, personal experience


Click on the link above to be redirected to the article written by Winston Ross. The piece provides an excellent guide for enacting sensitivity and compassion for people experiencing homelessness.  If you are in a hurry, here is a brief summary (with paraphrasing and editorializing!):

What TO say to a homeless person:

1) I don’t have any money, but is there anything else that I can do to help?

2) Did you catch the game?

3) Good morning! (This is my favorite. It is the easiest and the most simple and yet for some reason making eye contact and greeting people experiencing homelessness proves difficult for many…Any thoughts on why?!?!?!)

4) How are you doing? Would you like to talk?

5) I will keep you in my thoughts.

What NOT to say/do:

1) Why don’t you get help?

2) Here’s a dollar, please do not use it to buy alcohol.

3) Why don’t you go to a shelter?

4) You don’t seem like you should be homeless.

5) Get a job

***Now, hopefully some of these points are OBVIOUS, but it never hurts to have a refresher in kindness and basic human decency skills!!

Homelessness and Poverty are in the News

homelessness, Inequality

Today, I was relieved to see that National Public Radio (NPR) ran two stories on homelessness prevention and progressive ideas for reducing poverty.  Usually, homelessness and poverty only show up in the news if they are topics being covered in ONE story–rarely do two stories that show the nuances of inequality appear in one news cycle.  Today, NPR broke that trend and I applaud them!  The two stories mentioned are:

A ‘Circle’ Of Support Helps Families Stay Out Of Poverty




Homeless Vets: They’re Not Just Single Men Anymore



Now, turning to the important question:

Why don’t more stories about homelessness, poverty, and income inequality appear in daily news cycles?  Why is it that when we do see stories about these important issues, they are singular and rarely in pairs or multiples?