Homelessness

Christina Broussard was trapped in her grandmother's living room for three days during Hurricane Harvey. Rain poured through the ceiling in the bathrooms and bedrooms.

Broussard's a student at Houston Community College. Her grandmother is 74 and uses a wheelchair.

"We had peanut butter, tuna, crackers, we had plenty of water," she remembers. "We were hungry, but we managed. We tried to make light jokes about it — we said we were on a fast." And to pass the time? "We prayed."

On a recent camping trip, the itinerary for Girl Scout Troop 6000 was full of only-in-the-wilderness activities for these New York City kids. At a campground upstate, the girls — age 5 to 15 — milked cows and roasted marshmallows, and screamed when a moth flew by or someone found a spiderweb in the bathroom.

At the end of the trip, the girls left the cabins where they'd stayed and returned to the closest thing they have to a home: a 10-story budget hotel in Queens, where New York City's Department of Homeless Services pays to shelter homeless families.

Flickr / Matthew Rutledge

A one-night survey of homelessness in Oklahoma City shows overall homelessness rates are down by nearly 10 percent. However, survey organizers say not all of the results show signs of improvement.

This year’s survey, conducted on Jan. 26, finds the number of homeless people counted in Oklahoma City on one night was 1,368. Last year, the number was 1,511.

Photographer and journalist Katie Hayes Luke reported throughout the year on an innovative school for homeless children in Oklahoma City, Okla. We're not using the first names of students and family members to protect their privacy.

On the last day of school, the fifth grade students at Positive Tomorrows perform last-minute rehearsals for the inaugural "Classy Awards."

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.

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