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Your Call

The US homeless crisis: Root causes, what works & what needs to change

Street Sense Media | Photo by Rodney Choice
Creative Commons

On this edition of Your Call, we continue our two-part series on the US homeless crisis.

In January 2020, 580,466 people were homelessness in the US, according to official numbers. Seventy percent were individuals and the rest were families with children. Nationwide, many municipalities have adopted the “housing first” model, which prioritizes permanent housing. How did we get here, what strategies work, how can those successes be replicated, and what needs to change?


Paul Boden, Organizing Director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, a nonprofit supporting the rights of homeless people. He became homeless at the age of 16 after the death of his mother

Chris Herring, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California Los Angeles and Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Inequality in America Initiative

Web Resources:

Howard Center for Investigative Journalism: Two cities tried to fix homelessness, only one succeeded

University of Pennsylvania: The Emerging Crisis of Aged Homelessness

2021 Menino Survey of Mayors: Mayors and America’s Homelessness Crisis

Slate: We Could Solve Homelessness if we wanted to

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.