Homelessness

This is a tale of two cities. In New Orleans, there are signs of hope that veteran homelessness can be solved. But Los Angeles presents a very different picture.

Under the deafening highway noise of the Pontchartrain Expressway in central city New Orleans, Ronald Engberson, 54, beds down for the night. Engberson got out of the Marines in 1979, plagued even back then by problems with drugs and alcohol. He says that's mostly the reason he's been homeless the past 10 years.

homelessalliance.org

Oklahoma City is seeing another reduction in its homeless population, following a survey by The Homeless Alliance.

Executive Director Dan Straughan breaks down the numbers for us in this interview.

If you would like to help, you can can contact the Homeless Alliance at (405) 415-8410 or at HomelessAlliance.org.

More than 150,000 U.S. families are homeless each year. The number has been going down, in part because of a program known as Rapid Re-Housing, which quickly moves families out of shelters and into homes.

But new research by the Obama administration finds that for many families, rapid rehousing is only a temporary fix.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Seeing a homeless person in Oklahoma City is not that rare. But seeing a homeless child, on the other hand, is quite uncommon.

But did you know that there are 25,000 homeless children in Oklahoma?

We at KOSU didn’t either. We looked into it and found that the number of homeless kids has grown fairly rapidly over the past few years.

However, two brothers are trying to find a way to help these struggling youth.

For many people, when they think of homelessness, they think of a gritty life on the streets. Sleeping on cardboard boxes, under bridges, and digging through trash cans.

While this is the reality for some homeless youth, recent data released by the State Department of Education shows most homeless kids are doubled up with other families or are couch surfing by the grace of their friends.

Every Tuesday night, Joan Cheever hits the streets of San Antonio to feed the homeless. In a decade, she's rarely missed a night. But on a recent, windy Tuesday, something new happens.

The police show up.

"He says we have to have a permit," Cheever says. "We have a permit. We are a licensed nonprofit food truck."

Cheever runs a nonprofit called the Chow Train. Her food truck is licensed by the city. On this night, she has loaded the back of a pickup with catering equipment and hot meals and driven to San Antonio's Maverick Park, near a noisy downtown highway.

It's been a week of goodbyes at the Homeless Voice in Hollywood, Fla. For nearly 13 years, this rundown, 22-room hotel operated as a homeless shelter.

On most nights, hotel manager Christine Jordan says, more than 200 homeless men and women stayed here, some sleeping on mats in the cafeteria.

"We called this the emergency level ... almost 40 people in here every night," she says. Some stayed for free and others paid on a sliding scale. "[Now], everything's gone. I can't cry anymore."

This story begins an occasional series about individuals who don't have much money or power but do have a big impact on their communities.

Sometimes, the people you'd least expect are those who do the most. People like Tony Simmons, a homeless man in Baltimore who helps others get off the street. Simmons says he does it as much for himself as for anyone else.

Should We Give Money to Panhandlers?

Jan 13, 2015
time.com

As you drive around in Oklahoma City, you’re bound to see them, people on the curbs with cardboard signs asking for jobs or money.

In this week’s JenX, while it might be instinct to give to them, Jennifer Martin observes that might not be the right thing.


Every story has dignity and a uniquely human touch, but some stories are harder to tell than others.

When KOSU opened a studio in Oklahoma City’s Film Row district, we started working one block away from the City Rescue Mission and came in daily contact with the homeless community. We wanted to find a way to tell their story, a story that is mostly untold with dignity.

Now, with your help, we have an opportunity to do that. With the inspiration of programs like StoryCorps and Youth Radio, we are raising funds so the homeless community can tell its story in a very personal way.

KOSU will lend its expertise in radio and sound mixing, and your gift will help recruit members of the homeless community and buy recorders to allow them to tell their own stories. KOSU will then help them mix down the sound into a documentary that we will air and make available for podcast.

If you don't have a place to live, getting enough to eat clearly may be a struggle. And since homelessness in the U.S. isn't going away and is even rising in some cities, more charitable groups and individuals have been stepping up the past few years to share food with these vulnerable folks in their communities.

But just as more people reach out to help, cities are biting back at those hands feeding the homeless.

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