The Homelessness Marathon
The Truth About Homelessness
These facts are not part of the national dialog about homelessness (such as it is).
* Other countries take different approaches to homelessness than we do, and some do a much, much better job of preventing it than we do. They do things like keep families in their homes, even if the state has to pay the rent for a long time, because they know that the financial and social toll of homelessness would be far greater.
* For many years now, official homelessness policy in the United States has revolved around encouraging a plethora of local initiatives usually called something like "A Ten Year Plan To End Homelessness." What has been missing from all of these ten-year plans is a date on which, according to the plan, homelessness would actually end. The plans were never more than public relations gimmicks, they have massively failed, and they do not represent a serious attempt to resolve the homelessness crisis.
* Recently, unofficial homelessness policy across the United States has been to criminalize homelessness, like something out of Dickens' time. Homeless people are routinely rousted, arrested and driven from their encampments, which, for many of them (especially women), represent their only place of safety. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development does not withhold funds from communities that treat homeless people badly. HUD simply doesn't care.
* Before the 2007 financial crash, there was one (still unrecognized) group of people sounding the alarm. Homeless advocates tried to warn people that our modern crisis of homelessness was not caused by people gone bad, but by a system gone bad, and that this malfunctioning system would attack more than the poorest of the poor. Sure enough, the global economy nearly collapsed, because of a burst bubble in (not-coincidentally) the U.S. housing market. The message from homeless advocates is still the same: widespread homelessness is a symptom of a cruel economy tricked up to help only the rich.
The 16th Homelessness Marathon is available for rebroadcast
Hour One: Click here
Hour Two: Click here
Hour Three: Click here
Hour Four: Click here
Hour Five: Click here
Hour Six: Click here
WHY NOT DO THE RIGHT THING?
On January 18th,2011, I gave a presentation to the Kansas City (Missouri) Task Force on Homelessness, which is in the process of formulating recommendations for local policy. The theme of our upcoming 14th Annual Homelessness Marathon, originating from Kansas City, is “Why Not Do The Right Thing?” In order to facilitate a dialogue, I wanted to explain to the Task Force what I, and many others around the country, believe is the right thing to do. I think my appearance there aroused varied, and in some cases strong, reactions. One member of the Task Force asked me if I would write up a White Paper in which I laid out the points I had set before them. I agreed to do so, and this document is the result. This is not, however, an exact summary of the words I spoke to the Task Force. Rather, it is a continuation of the sentiments I expressed there, with some exegesis added or subtracted, but in the main faithful to my earlier remarks.
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
At the Homelessness Marathon, we believe that the elimination of poverty is a moral duty for society. We believe that fulfilling this duty makes for a better society. And we believe that there are many ways to fulfill this duty, but that all of them should be guided by these principles... [read more]
POVERTY: IS ANYONE LISTENING?
I remember an episode of the old TV show "Father Knows Best" in which the son brought home a shortwave radio, and the whole family gathered round to listen. Of course, this being television, the situation quickly turned dramatic, and sitting in their suburban living room, the TV family became the only ones to hear the distress signals from a sinking motorboat miles away. They wound up calling the Coast Guard, and the episode ended with a grateful skipper saying something like, "Thank you out there, whoever you are." [read more]
THE DISASTER AFTER THE DISASTER
This year I had the unsettling experience of finding out that I didn't actually know much about something I thought I knew a lot about. I was in rural Mississippi, talking to survivors of Katrina, right near the Ground Zero where the hurricane came ashore. I thought I knew a lot about their plight, because Katrina was surely one of the most covered stories of the last century. What I discovered was that those iconic scenes of hungry, thirsty survivors right after the storm just marked the beginning of the malign neglect that marred the recovery process. One survivor warned me that what happened to them was like a "premonition" of what could happen to the rest of the country if a disaster strikes... [read more]
AS WE HELP THE NEW HOMELESS WE MUST HELP THE OLD HOMELESS TOO
A Statement On Katrina from The Homelessness Marathon
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Top Executive Pay At Selected Organizations Helping Hungry and Homeless People
HAS THE AMERICAN LEFT TAKEN AN HISTORIC WRONG TURN?
There was a time when the struggle for social justice in America was inseparable from the fight against poverty. Is that still the case today? [read more]
When I was a boy, I saw ads referring to products developed at "The Betty Crocker Institute." I imagined an ivy-covered campus around which professors strolled while discussing the finer points of cakeology. It took a while before I caught on that this "Institute" had all the substance of a mail-order PhD, but even so, I think it has more credibility than the "Manhattan Institute." At least what Betty Crocker put out you could swallow. [read more]
LET THE BUMS HAVE A FLOP
"Nobody," the founder of the Homelessness Marathon, gives some of his views on what keeps people on the streets. [read more]
IN MEMORIAM, ROLAND LEE PAIGE
UNEQUAL JUSTICE by Mike Rhodes, Homelessness Marathon Board Member
Imagine that the mayor in your city is beaten almost to death on a downtown street. She is rushed to a hospital emergency room where the police interview her about the incident. Under ordinary circumstances, the police would be under intense pressure to bring the perpetrator of the crime to justice and the hospital would be expected to do everything necessary to provide the mayor with the best medical care available. [read more]
A report by the Western Regional Advocacy Project (executive director Paul Boden is a member of the Homelessness Marathon's board). [read more]