Top of Mind with Julie Rose
Housing First, Alone on the Wall
Episode: Housing First, Alone on the Wall
- Dec 4, 2015 10:00 pm
- 49:40 mins
Guests: Benjamin Henwood, PhD, Assistant Professor at the USC School of Social Work; Sam Tsemberis, PhD, CEO of Pathways to Housing National On any given night in the United States more than half a million people are homeless – which means they’re sleeping on the street or in a shelter or a weekly motel or maybe crashing with family or friends. To be homeless in America is to be without a stable housing option. And of the half a million people who fit that category, not quite half are families. About a fifth of the overall homeless population are considered chronically so – in and out of housing and on the street repeatedly, sometimes for years. This hour, we’re about the Housing First philosophy, which has become the approach to dealing with homelessness nationwide. It’s just what it sounds like – offer housing to homeless people first, and then help them work on their other problems, such as addiction or mental illness. Dozens of large cities have made 10-year-plans to end homelessness using the Housing First approach. A few communities – including Salt Lake City – have been lauded for actually reaching that goal with subsets of the homeless community. No community has figured out how to completely and permanently eliminate the problem of homelessness. Throughout this hour, we’ll talk about how Housing First won converts from all political stripes, how it works – and what it’s limitations are.