Homelessness

Update: New survey results out today show that the rates of hungry and homeless students at community colleges across the country are higher than previously thought.

The results, published by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, show that one third of community college students go hungry and 14 percent are homeless.

Those rates are up from 2015, when the same research team surveyed 4,000 community college students in 10 states, and found one fifth were without adequate nutrition. Thirteen percent were homeless.

There's no way to avoid it. As the cost of college grows, research shows that so does the number of hungry and homeless students at colleges and universities across the country.

Still, many say the problem is invisible to the public.

"It's invisible even to me and I'm looking," says Wick Sloan. He came to Bunker Hill Community College in Boston more than a decade ago to teach English full time. He says it felt like he quickly became a part-time social worker, too.

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

Curbside Chronicle vendors are getting in the holiday spirit by selling wrapping paper designed by Oklahoma artists.

KOSU's Michael Cross talked with Homeless Alliance Executive Director Dan Straughan about the campaign known as "Wrap Up Homelessness".

You can find out more at WrapUpHomelessness.com

Getting Out The Homeless Vote

Nov 1, 2016

Black Americans cemented their right to vote 51 years ago with passage of the Voting Rights Act. In 1920, women broke down barriers to the ballot box. But only in the last 30 years have homeless Americans done the same.

With upcoming ballot measures in Los Angeles and San Francisco that could have a big impact on their lives, there’s renewed effort to ensure those without a home at least have a vote.

Here’s more from the California Report’s LA Bureau Chief Steven Cuevas.

For Some Seniors Without Housing, A Parking Lot Is Home

Sep 18, 2016

Marge Giaimo makes her way to a picnic table under the shadow of an oak tree. Santa Barbara's trees, like its oceans and mountains, are one thing she says she never tires of here. After losing her senior housing three years ago, this table is where she does her painting these days.

"I feel very fortunate to have my car," Giaimo says. "It's a little cramped, but it's softer than cement."

Of all her once-valued possessions, today her 20-year-old, gold Oldsmobile is her most important one. It is her home, and she keeps it as neat as a pin.

A 2016 Homeless survey count shows a 16% increase in people on the streets.

KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Homeless Alliance Executive Director Dan Straughan about the numbers gathered from the 2016 Point in Time count.

For the full Point in Time report, visit www.CoalitionToEndPoverty.org.

The increase in heat is raising concerns among advocates for the homeless population.

Homeless Alliance Executive Director Dan Staughan says to avoid heat exposure and heat stroke unsheltered individuals are finding relief where ever they can.

"Our numbers, for example, in our day shelter are way up, over 300 a day, because people can come in and be cool and get a shower and that sort of stuff. The numbers at the other shelters are the same."

As a little girl growing up in a lovely house in Kansas City, Kansas, Audrey Cooper knew nothing about life with no place to call home. One day, her family took a trip out of state and her 8-year-old eyes beheld something she never forgot.

"The first homeless person I ever saw was on the streets of San Francisco," Cooper recalls.

Holding the coffee she received at Los Angeles's Downtown Women's Center, Sylvia Welker steers her electric wheelchair toward the curb. It's at this spot every day that she feeds the pigeons of LA's Skid Row.

"The birds are maimed and deformed and beat and dying and hurting," Welker says. "I'm scared for the birds, but for me, I learned not to be afraid. It doesn't do any good. Fear isn't going to change anything."

By taking care of the birds, the 71-year-old Welker keeps her mind off the dangers she and other homeless women face here.

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