May 10, 2016

This week’s show will be the first in a recurring series during the year examining the issue of homelessness in America.  Although there is no accurate count, it is estimated that more than 3.5 million, people, 1.5 million children, experience homelessness in a 12 month period. In other data, in 2013, 2.5 million children, 1 out of every 30, were estimated to be homeless.  One fact is not in dispute, people of color are vastly overrepresented and comprise significant numbers of the homeless in our nation.

We will be joined by expert guests including Joel R. Segal, long-term advocate for the  homeless; Caitlyn Cobb, community activist and former homeless Maryland youth; Justin Arnwine, Associate Producer and Scriptwriter; and others.

Prior to discussing our main subject, the show will also discuss President Obama’s powerful commencement speech at Howard University.  What were the pearls of wisdom that he shared with the graduating class?

Sadly, the issue of homelessness is a racial justice issue as an estimated 42% of all homeless persons in the United States are African Americans despite being only 14% of the national population.  Latinos at 20% and Native Americans at 4% are also overrepresented in the homeless population.  Homeless veterans are 12% of all homeless persons.  Spurred by the Obama Administration’s Housing and Urban Development’s adoption of the non-profit community’s approach, there have been dramatic shifts in policy towards addressing homelessness, particularly the emphasis on “Housing First” and “Shelter Plus Care.”

In the United States, vacant homes outnumber the homeless!  The states of Texas, California and Florida account for 58% of all unaccompanied homeless minors under 18 years of age.  The number one cause of homelessness is poverty and the lack of affordable housing. Indeed, financial emergencies including loss of employment and medical emergencies is the #2 cause of homelessness.  Divorce ending in one person losing access to the home is #3.  Mental health issues is the number #4 cause of homelessness followed by substance abuse at #5. Veteran status and having a physical and/or mental disability is #6.  And domestic violence is the #7 cause of homelessness.  Many people only need decent housing to “get back on their feet.”

Fortunately, solutions to homelessness are not a mystery.  Indeed, a number of local governments, states and non-profit coalitions have initiated successful programs to fight homelessness.  Still there is much more action needed to address this critical problem.

Are local, state and the federal government doing enough to address the dire crisis of homelessness in our society? If not, why not? Is there too much focus on treating homelessness instead of ending homelessness?  Why is the funding for addressing homelessness so inadequate? Is there a new movement towards institutionalization of those with mental and intellectual disabilities? Why is this issue barely discussed in the 2016 Presidential Campaign?

We will discuss these questions and more during our show.

Be sure to spread the word!

This week’s guests:

Donald Whitehead

Donald Whitehead

Donald Whitehead overcame homelessness and addiction to become one of America’s foremost experts on homelessness, Donald has been sharing his expertise — and his life […]

Caitlyn Cobb

Caitlyn Cobb

Caitlyn currently works for the Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) as its Social Media Director and as a Special Assistant to Barbara Arnwine, president and founder […]

Justin Arnwine

Justin Arnwine

Justin Arnwine is an independent scholar, artist, and entrepreneur. A blue belt in Tang Soo Do his personal training style focuses on dietary nutrition above […]

Joel R. Segal

Joel Segal received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina in 1989, where he focused on constitutional law and conflict resolution […]