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
April 6, 2009, Philadelphia, PA - Cheri Honkala is profiled as a "homeless hero" for helping to organize America's poor. (Honkala is a member of the Homelessness Marathon's board)
May 12, 2009, San Rafael, California - Stephen "Walker" Bonspille doesn't see
himself as a hero, but others seem to disagree. Though homeless, he
was given an American Red Cross Heroes Award, for his "everyday heroism" in
helping other homeless people. http://www.marinij.com/
May 16, 2009 - On any given night, only a very small percentage of homeless veterans, often called "homeless heroes," have beds available to them.
December 16, 2009 - Faron Hall, a homeless man, was honored by the City of
Manitoba and also by a Taiwan-based group for saving two people, in two separate incidents, from drowning in an icy river.
April 24, 2010, New York City - Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, a homeless man wounded
while saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker, is left to bleed to death
in a New York City street. http://www.foxnews.com/us/
May 2, 2010, Portland, OR - A homeless man fights off a thief trying to rob a
store (video). http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/
July 8, 2010, El Paso, Texas - Gustas Bozarth, a homeless man, won praise for
braving driving rain and high winds to rescue an American flag that had been
brought down by the storm. http://www.foxnews.com/us/
October 15, 2010, USA - On any given night, an estimated 6500 female veterans
are sleeping in cars, shelters or on the streets. http://www.oprah.com/
October 25, 2010, Florida, Seventh grader, Zach Bonner, is hailed for walking
thousands of miles to help homeless people. http://uspoverty.change.org/
November 19, 2010, London, England - Adan Abobaker, who is homeless, jumped into the Thames to save a young woman from drowning. While he was rescuing her, someone stole his clothes on shore.
November 25, 2010, Tempe, AZ - Dave Talley, a homeless man who found $3300 in
cash and returned it to its rightful owner, ate his Thanksgiving dinner in a homeless shelter despite having received gifts that would enable him to eat elsewhere. http://www.kpho.com/news/
December 1, 2010, Scotland - Keith McGregor, who is homeless, rushed into a
burning building and saved a deaf man who had not been able to hear the fire
alarm going off. http://www.thesun.co.uk/
December 13, 2010, Burlington, VT - Mike Buchanan, a homeless man, tackled a
mugger who had stolen a purse and held him until police arrived. Beth Danon, the intended victim, said her passport and "everything" was in her purse, calling Buchanan, "My hero."