I'm ashamed to say that most of what I thought I knew about the homeless issue was wrong. We have just launched our first podcast and chose this issue as one of the more pressing and depressing issues of our time. We wanted to explore the question that, irrespective of your politics, how could some of the wealthiest communities on the planet not solve this problem?
I'm not going to replay the podcast and what we learned here (simply go to the ‘Podcast’ page and your can listen to it there). Suffice it to say most of the homeless are not 'bums' or mentally ill. In fact, about 65% of our homeless population are neigbors and compatriots who have fallen on hard times. That's hardly surprising when about 70% of Americans dont have $400 saved for an emergency. The good news is that the situation is improving, and there are very succesful programs out there like Haaven in Los Angeles (see link below) who are delivering shelter & support for less than $10,000 per bed while the public sector solutions cost over $500,000 a bed! The bad news is that despite the valiant and heart warming efforts of many, the system is still not fit for purpose and unless we adopt innovative ideas like Haaven, never will be!
Please do listen to the podcast. There's tears and laughter, 'you can't be serious moments', harsh words, uplifting stories and a happy ending. It will leave you thinking differently about homelessness.
Here are the links to the people we interviewed in the show, including the volunteers and charities that you could support by doing something as simple as donating some care packs of things like socks, tooth brushes & toothpaste; or offering to help them at feeding stations.
Here are some facts and figures, as well as a summary of what we learned: