Ending Homelessness Among Veterans – Elizabeth Buehler (POY 04)

Ending Homelessness Among Veterans - Elizabeth Buehler (POY 04)

Elizabeth Buehler is Salt Lake City’s Homeless Services Coordinator. In this episode, she describes her city’s heartfelt mission to give everyone a home.

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Transcript

This transcript may differ in minor instances from the audio content. Please notify Josh Morgan of any errors you may find.

Monologue by Josh Morgan

This is The Plural of You, a podcast about people helping people. I’m Josh Morgan.

Elizabeth Buehler is the Homeless Services Coordinator in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is part of coalition that is looking to end all homelessness among veterans in the city within the next several months. Salt Lake City’s compassion toward those experiencing homelessness has been featured more and more often in the news media over the past few years, and the city inspired the Obama Administration to take the campaign nationwide. In June of 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama issued a similar challenge to America’s mayors on behalf of veterans experiencing chronic homelessness, and the campaign has made real progress in helping thousands of people who need it. So far, the cities of Phoenix and New Orleans have declared an end to chronic homelessness among veterans, and more are on the way. I like to think that Elizabeth was involved somehow in making all of this possible.

I spoke with Elizabeth via Skype not long after New Year’s Day. I realized while talking with her that she’s actually working to address some of the most persistent forms of poverty in the United States. Our conversation made me curious about several subjects, like the histories of homelessness and social programs in American society, and where they stand today. Before I play our conversation, I thought I’d summarize some of the things I’ve learned.

About 610,000 people experience homelessness in the United States on any given night. That’s according to data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, which is a homeless policy organization in Washington, D.C. That total has decreased from about 760,000 in 2005, and several indicators suggest that homelessness is dropping across the country. Most Americans who experience homelessness are individuals, but about 35 percent experience it with their families. Too many of them are children.

All told, between 2.2 million and 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness at some point in a calendar year. I’m glad to know that so many indicators of homelessness are improving, but this is an issue that still affects millions of us.

There is, of course, no one explanation for why homelessness is still a thing in the 21st century. There are those who choose the lifestyle, including some in Salt Lake City, but it’s safe to assume that most people experiencing homelessness would prefer to have dwellings of their own. Most who live on the streets are there because of events they could not withstand or circumstances they were forced to escape. Others need assistance to function in society and lack the means to find it. Getting off the streets is rarely as easy as working harder or making wise choices—poverty simply isn’t that forgiving. It requires connecting with people who both want to help and have resources to do so, and that’s been the case throughout American history.

Before Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson established federal assistance programs like Social Security and Medicaid, communities assumed responsibility for those among them who needed a hand, including those experiencing homelessness. In early America, it wasn’t unusual for towns and villages to budget half of their expenditures on poor relief, at least until infrastructure costs took over. Many larger cities built poorhouses to consolidate their services, but conditions in these establishments were usually miserable. This arrangement persisted until the Great Depression, which realigned much the nation’s social safety net toward federal resources and away from local ones.

Immigration and automation in the workplace continue to confuse the debate over what groups should and should not be granted these services. We can hear roughly the same debate our ancestors had on cable news shows today, or read it in comments sections online. This goes back to the theory of in-groups and out-groups that I mentioned in the last episode. I used to seek out discussions like these until I decided they only made me sad or angry, so now I just avoid them. Still, it’s tough to follow current events for long without rediscovering the contempt that some of us have for social programs.

One argument I’ve seen a lot in reference to social programs lately is, “How do we pay for it?” Some ask that question with total innocence, which—I know it’s a practical thing to ask to some extent, but it’s subjective, if you think about it. What really bothers me about it is when someone says “How do we pay for it?” when they really mean to disparage the stereotypes in their own head. Those are biases that can only be softened over time with others doing heartwarming deeds and setting positive examples.

The fact is that there will always be people who experience basic needs that they can’t meet on their own, and every community must choose how or if it will help its members to meet them. I’m happy to report that Elizabeth and the people of Salt Lake City have made that choice compassionately. I feel honored that she made time to talk with me, and I trust that you’ll find what she has to say inspiring. Here’s Elizabeth Buehler, Homeless Services Coordinator in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Interview

JM: Hi, Elizabeth.

EB: Hi, Josh. How are you?

JM: Doing great.

EB: Thanks for moving up this interview. I’d forgotten that I had to run twelve miles this morning, so I was worried I wouldn’t make it back in time.

JM: [laughs] You forgot you had to run twelve miles? That’s funny.

EB: Yeah, I’m training for a half [marathon].

JM: Oh, good for you.

EB: Yeah.

JM: So I’ve never heard of a Homeless Services Coordinator before.

EB: Okay.

JM: What exactly do you do?

EB: So I am Salt Lake City’s point person on homeless issues. I not only administer our funds for Homeless Services, mostly federal grants like Emergency Solutions Grants, but I also work with service providers to coordinate services in Salt Lake City. Also, if there are neighborhood businesses and residents that have complaints about some of the negative externalities of homelessness, I work with them, as well.

JM: What about your background lead you into this kind of career?

EB: I went to the University of Texas at Austin, and I have a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning. After I left school, I went into city administration. I was an assistant to the City Manager in two Texas communities, so I worked on various special projects, things like that.

I came out to Salt Lake about four years ago, and I joined the city’s Planning Department, working on long-term master plans. I decided I wanted to get back into special projects. The city was creating this position, and I was just lucky enough to be tied to it, or matched with it would be a better term.

JM: Oh, good.

I read online that your position didn’t exist before last December, so it looks like you’ve been there about a year. How’s that first year been?

EB: You know, the year has been great. Really busy. We have accomplished a lot but there is still a lot to do. Just to give you a little background: in about April of 2014, we started seeing an influx in issues around Homeless Services [and] also an influx in complaints, as well as police calls to the neighborhood where the majority of our Homeless Services are created. It was really tough to pinpoint what caused that.

The City, besides creating my position—we also started a long-term situational assessment to really look at what was going on in the neighborhood. We talked to about a hundred individuals through sixty interviews, and I should say this was done by the University of Utah’s Law School program, Environmental Law and Dispute Center. They did a really good job of identifying major areas of concerns, and also ways that Salt Lake City—what our role could be.

In Utah and everywhere, not one organization can work on homeless issues. It’s really a combination of a lot of folks, so it’s one, how can Salt Lake City improve what we’re doing, but also how we can better support the others in their work.

JM: So what did you conclude from your assessment? Like, what issues are you looking at?

EB: We have a few things going on. One, we have just a mass of people in one neighborhood in Salt Lake City, where—actually, in Salt Lake County. Salt Lake City is part of a larger county. In Salt Lake City, we have about 200,000 folks, but in the county overall we’re about 2 million. In Salt Lake County—throughout the country, that’s how individuals experiencing homelessness are counted is at a county level, not at a city level—we have about 90 percent of the state’s homeless population in Salt Lake County. The majority of that county population is within a four block area of Salt Lake City, just west of downtown.

JM: What is that neighborhood? What is the name?

EB: So the name is Pioneer Park neighborhood. You might hear of it as Depot District and Gateway. Pioneer Park—it’s actually named for the first Mormon settlers of Salt Lake City, the pioneers. That was actually their first encampment when they arrived in the valley 150 years ago.

JM: Wow, okay.

EB: It’s very historic. That’s also where our two major rail terminals were for eons. What happened was that Homeless Services in the Eighties developed around that neighborhood when it was mostly industrial warehouses. Our main service provider, The Road Home, they provide our largest shelter. They’re also one of our largest housing agencies for homeless individuals. They’ve been there since the Eighties, as have Catholic Community Services, which provides dining services and also a day center. Our medical services are there, as are a separate rescue mission, so that’s really the hub of all Homeless Services, not just in Salt Lake City, but also the state of Utah. It’s a very concentrated area.

JM: I found out about you through your work trying to provide houses for homeless veterans. How’s that going?

EB: That went really well. In Fall of 2013—yes. I apologize because it’s 2015. My years are a little off.

JM: [laughs] That’s okay.

EB: In Fall of 2013, Salt Lake City, with the city of Phoenix, partnered with—it’s called a Race to Zero. It was sponsored by the National League of Cities. Really, what it was is Salt Lake City and the Phoenix areas participated in this great national campaign called 100,000 Homes, and 100,000 Homes was really about creating 100,000 new housing units for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Salt Lake City and Phoenix service providers were already participating in this, and veterans [were] something that had already been identified because there’s a lot of great funding to house veterans. They’re called VASH vouchers, which stands for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing—sort of like Section 8 but for veterans. It’s a great program. It’s wonderful that it’s out there.

Both Salt Lake and Phoenix did a great job of identifying people eligible for these vouchers. I think it was in about August 2013, we realized that each city had about a hundred veterans left that could be housed with these vouchers, so what we did is we created just this little—it’s a fake competition there was nothing on the line for, but it was really to draw attention to this issue and also to this great program. In Salt Lake City, with the Salt Lake City Housing Authority, The Road Home played a huge part. Veterans Affairs and Volunteers of America Utah, they’re our major outreach group here in Salt Lake. We banded together and we placed these hundred veterans. We already had them connected with the vouchers, but we got them into housing. It was just a great thing.

Now these are—I should say these are chronic veterans. We’re currently working on housing veterans who are not experiencing chronic homelessness. That’s actually a program that’s going on right now. It’s called Zero HV 2015, and we hope to have by September 30, we hope that there is no veteran in Salt Lake that experiences homelessness.

JM: That’s so cool.

EB: From what we did, Race to Zero, it’s actually started a mayor’s challenge. The White House picked it up with HUD, and now there are cities all across the nation that are sort of challenging other cities their size that have the same veteran homeless population to see who can house their veterans the fastest. It’s a great thing and we’re really happy to be a part of it.

JM: I’ve heard you mention a couple of organizations already that you work with. What exactly do you do to partner with them?

EB: In Homeless Services, a lot of the funding does come from federal money that comes through the state of Utah, Salt Lake County, and Salt Lake City, so there’s that aspect, that we can distribute funds to different organizations. Frankly, it’s also about meeting with the service providers and working on their needs, as well.

Unfortunately, sometimes service providers are sort of held off as the bad guys. “Why are they providing services to these people in my neighborhood? We don’t agree with what you’re doing.” In Salt Lake City, we try to—we don’t want to criminalize homelessness. We try to work really closely with our service providers. We meet weekly with service providers just on issues that they experience in the neighborhood, but we also, I think, we just step up and show that we are committed to this.

One of our new initiatives we’re doing—Salt Lake City has committed to build 300 new housing units for homeless individuals and families. Really, that’s the only way you can end homelessness is to find people homes. I think that just shows our commitment to folks, that we’re in it for the long haul and we care about this issue.

JM: So I imagine that providing housing is just the first step in a long process to help these people integrate into society a little better. What else is the city doing to help these individuals?

EB: We have this six-point Homeless Services strategy that we unveiled in August. Going back to the assessment. We looked at the major issues in Homeless Services and the surrounding neighborhood. Then we had a two-day retreat with the major service providers and funders, and talked about how can we implement this assessment. “That was very broad, and let’s get into the nitty gritty about how we can positively affect the situation.” We also did a design workshop with Social Agency Lab in June with clients of these services, so individuals experiencing homelessness, they had a two-day design workshop on what they would like to see in Homeless Services.

All of this came together in a six-point strategy. “What can we do in the next 18 months to greatly improve Homeless Services in Salt Lake?” It ranges everything from housing to current services to public safety, so the first strategy, it’s what we call House 20. What it is, it’s based exactly on the Race to Zero. We’ve identified the twenty most vulnerable individuals on the streets in Salt Lake. What we’re trying to do is get them into existing apartments as soon as possible, and then work with case management to help them so they don’t go back into homelessness.

The other thing is, that 300 units I mentioned? We haven’t had a really new, large project open in about five years, so 300 new units would be huge to help our situation. The next is, as I mentioned, our Homeless Services—a lot of them have been in that neighborhood and in their existing buildings for about 30 years. Those buildings are aging, so what can we do to help those providers in both day services and overnight services [to] best serve their clients? Unfortunately [in] Salt Lake City, our zoning ordinances—the rules we have in the books—it hampers them from expanding their buildings or improving their buildings. We want to go back and really look at that and see how we can help them provide the best services possible.

Public safety is huge. There is a criminal element, obviously, that’s attracted to the neighborhood, so we have—our police department has 81 officers in the neighborhood. We have this program called HOST: Homeless Outreach Street Team. In some cities, it’s called HOT, which is Homeless Outreach Team. What it is is we have police officers dedicated to working with social services agencies and sort of identify clients. If they run into someone, instead of automatically arresting them, they work with that person, they try to find out if they need services, what those services are, [and] get them to those services, but also to separate those people—we have a lot of people who come into Salt Lake City [and] into that neighborhood to buy drugs and to sell drugs—to get them out of that neighborhood, because that’s not helping the people who are seeking services.

Also, frankly, the neighborhood where these services are located, it’s also home to our downtown Farmer’s Market, which has been going on for over 20 years now, and also something called Twilight Concert Series, where we bring in a lot of big acts throughout the summer. [We] really try to bring a positive influence into the neighborhood. We have a lot of great things coming in, but making sure that when these events come in, that it’s open to all residents. That includes people who are staying at the shelter and using those other services, because we are all members of one community.

JM: That’s such a good approach.

EB: Yeah. It’s a lot of things to do in 18 months, so we’re pretty busy right now. We actually think we can get it done, which is very exciting.

JM: What do you think is unique about the problems of homelessness in Salt Lake City?

EB: Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s unique to Salt Lake. I think it’s things that happen to every place in the U.S. and Canada and I’m sure elsewhere. We have individuals who, for whatever reason, they’ve dropped into homelessness. For families, that’s different from individuals, because not every person experiencing homelessness has the same story.

In Salt Lake City and our larger services community, we believe in housing first, so our first priority is to help people get into housing. Once you get into housing, you take away your top worry every day, because if you don’t have a house, every morning when you wake up, you have to think about where you’re going to sleep that night. You get that, you get people a place to live, then they have an easier road—getting into counseling, and getting into jobs, and all those other things you can concentrate on. That’s really what we want to do.

JM: Do you have any success stories about the work that you’ve done and how it’s helped people that have been homeless?

EB: Our Race to Zero, obviously. Housing 92 veterans in 45 days was just amazing. We hope to—we have 200 veterans that experience homelessness at some point, which we think we’ll accomplish.

You know, it’s the individual stories of people. We have—and I have to give credit to our police department. They’ve started a job-a-day program where, through this HOST program, they’re connecting people into jobs, and they just had their first successful placement—it’s a brand new program. That’s exactly what you want to see. I just love seeing when folks are able to connect.

What’s great is we—in Salt Lake, we have a lot of people who want to help. We have a lot of people stepping up, and I think that’s a great thing. What the city’s done in this past year is we sort of changed the focus on homelessness. “No, just get Homeless Services out of this neighborhood or Salt Lake City.” It’s really about, “No, these are members of our community, and what can we do to help them?” which is great. We have businesses [and] developers stepping and trying to see how they can participate in Homeless Services, which is just really great to see.

JM: What is it about the culture of Salt Lake City, do you think, that allows this approach to be so popular?

EB: You know, we really do have a giving culture. Obviously, being the home of the LDS Church helps and, really, the LDS Church is a great partner in Homeless Services. In every new homeless housing, they actually give furniture, and they’ll install that furniture into that person’s home, which is amazing. They also work very closely with the Utah Food Bank and other food pantries to get them food, [and] to hand out to folks who need it. We also have other great—I think it’s just that whole culture of giving.

Catholic Community Services is also a major player in this. They run St. Vincent de Paul’s Dining Hall, which is the major lunch and dinner services in Salt Lake. They also run the Weigand Day Center, which is the day services center for homeless individuals.

I think it’s just part of that culture because—it could be because we are fairly religious, that people want to come and help people, and they want to think about their fellow man. It is wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

JM: What are some things that you admire in other cities and their approaches to homelessness that you can comment on?

EB: In cities, we’re always looking at each other. I’ve talked with a lot of other cities about how we accomplished our Race to Zero. On the other hand, I look to a lot of cities. We’ve looked at Denver and how they provide day services. We looked at Santa Monica with how they provide just overall a—how much they engage individuals experiencing homelessness. We have met with folks from Calgary about what they’re doing. San Diego. About a month ago, our HOST officers were in Wichita, Kansas, talking to them about their HOST programs.

We go all over the place. Columbus, Ohio. They do something cool called Collective Impact. What that is is they all come together and work for Homeless Services to have a common vision, and everyone work towards that. In fact, in Salt Lake, and Salt Lake County has done a great job taking the lead on this, we’re moving into that, as well. Just last month, I was in Austin with several Salt Lake City representatives, and we were meeting with Austin folks about what they provide in Homeless Services.

Really, you scour the country for what works, and you try to copy it to the best of your abilities.

JM: Now, I do have one question, because I’ve been reading about this issue over the last few months. This is something I’ve seen pop up in people online discussing different policies. One policy I’ve noticed is that some cities—which I think yours does, too—they require permits to distribute food to those that are homeless.

EB: I know on the NPR story, we were listed as one of those cities. That’s actually—it was slightly inaccurate.

JM: Oh, okay.

EB: In Salt Lake City, just to give you a background, we do ask that, if you’re in a public park for any event, you get a permit. Frankly, that’s because we have programming at our public parks, and sometimes we have multiple groups there. Our County Health Department—that’s Salt Lake County, not Salt Lake City—they do not require permits if it’s homeless outreach. What they do ask is you do let them know. They don’t require food handler’s permits or anything like that. It’s more just a notification. We’re not one of those cities that has set locations where people can hand out food. It is fairly open.

Can I say that—and we haven’t gone to set locations. I do understand the arguments for set locations because we have had problems in the past where people—they are trying to be good, and it’s wonderful they’re trying to help—but sometimes you are passing on germs, unfortunately, if you don’t handle food properly. That does get people sick. Frankly, once someone gets sick when they’re staying in a shelter, that spreads like wildfire.

JM: Oh, right.

EB: On that same note, in Salt Lake City, we do not ban panhandling. Panhandling is allowed. We do try to encourage people instead to use our HOST programs. What we do with our HOST programs is we actually have red parking meters throughout downtown. We ask people to put donations into these red parking meters instead of giving money to a panhandler. In Salt Lake, we have found that the majority of our panhandlers are not actually homeless. Also, the money that goes into these red meters, 100 percent goes to our service providers, specifically our outreach groups and our shelter services, our day services. Our policy is to give a hand up and not a hand out.

Our service providers are so connected to each other that, if someone visits the shelter, they’re being connected to housing services, case management, all that. We don’t want you to help someone get a fix or whatever they may do with it. We really do want to help get people off the street, so we really encourage people not to give to panhandlers and to work with our service providers, who actually can help people long-term.

JM: What’s something that you’ve noticed so far about the problems of homelessness that you feel Salt Lake City has fallen short on, and what makes that issue so difficult?

EB: One thing I can say, and it’s something we’re working on right now, is our aging facilities. As I mentioned, most of them average about 30 years old. It’s just not how you provide day-to-day services right now. We’ve created a Services Evaluation Commission, and this is lead by a former mayor and a major business and property owner, to really look at what are the services that Salt Lake City should provide in day-to-day services. What’s the best way to provide those services?

Right now, we have smaller facilities and we have aging facilities. Everyone has a place to sleep at night. The Road Home especially does a good job making sure everyone has a place to sleep. Unfortunately, sometimes people have to sleep in the hallways on a busy night. We don’t want that to happen to people experiencing homelessness. That’s something that we can improve on but that we’re addressing.

Hopefully in a year, we’ll know what we’re going to do on that. That is a big issue and it’s very comprehensive. You can’t just make a decision in six weeks on that. That’s something you really have to study.

JM: It sounds like it can be a tough job, but I wonder if there are gratifying experiences you’ve had that you like to think about. What would you say has been a gratifying moment that you can point to?

EB: I would say one of the best things is—this is probably going to sound silly. In Spring, we created a new program called SET, which is Street Engagement Teams. We have a lot of great outreach teams, but this was for outreaching to people in the neighborhood with most of our services. Mayor Becker made the request to our Council of Governments, which funded this. It has just been great because, since SET has started going, they’ve gotten over a hundred individuals into services. That’s just—that’s what you want to see.

At the end of the day, we want to get people into services and off the streets. We’re a housing first city, and that is our number one goal, to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness. It’s just, stuff like this and working with these organizations on this Race to Zero and this new Zero HV 2015, that’s the great stuff. You know, that has the permanent and lasting impact on people’s lives.

JM: What’s a common misconception about people that are homeless that you’d like to correct?

EB: You know, I think a lot of people consider—when they think of someone experiencing homelessness, they have a picture of a single type of person in their mind. That is just not true. Individuals experiencing homelessness, they range from possibly trans-gendered teens who need to leave their home environment. You have families who’ve suffered a catastrophic event and, for some reason, lost their homes. You have veterans suffering PTSD. It’s a wide array of people.

I think people need to realize that anyone in our community may at some time may experience homelessness. The most important thing is that these are members of our community. They’re not a separate community. Oftentimes, these are local individuals, and let’s help them. That’s why we’re all here. We need to help each other out.

Don’t turn your way. You can give people a smile. You don’t have to be afraid of individuals experiencing homelessness. Remember they are individuals in your community, and they need your help.

JM: That was well put.

EB: Oh, thank you. I think about this issue a lot.

JM: I’m sure.

What is something that listeners could do to help the problems of homelessness in their areas?

EB: I think there are two really good things. One, there are great Homeless Service organizations throughout the country. They are constantly looking for volunteers, donated items, and, honestly, funding. Find your local provider and just volunteer—do something to help them out. They are really doing great work.

The second, it’s more a big term, but to support funding of Homeless Services. Federal funding is a key part of that funding. Unfortunately, when that funding decreases, it’s hard for private funding and local and state funding to pick up that slack, and there are a lot of individuals out there still experiencing homelessness. This isn’t an easy solution, and it’s not a cheap solution, and these types of housing projects, in the end—it ends up being cheaper than helping people on the streets. Support Homeless Services funding, I would say.

JM: Now what about—there are moral issues around homelessness. Our society tends to be subjective towards those that are homeless. What are some compassionate ways that people can maybe take a different view of people that are homeless?

EB: Our HOST program is sort of our public campaign on how you can help individuals experiencing homelessness. We have ten ways that a person can help. One is to just look at a person and give them a smile. Don’t subject them to lesser thoughts. Also, one as I mentioned is working with service providers with money, time, and donations.

Don’t give to panhandlers. Again, in most U.S. cities, service providers are doing a great job. Support those service providers, because they can provide long-term help. You know what? At the end of the day, the biggest thing to remember is that individuals experiencing homelessness are members of your community. Really, just give them a smile and recognize that they’re members of your community.

JM: Do you have a list of those ten points somewhere?

EB: Yes, it’s actually on our website, slchost.org.

JM: I was going to ask: is that the best way to follow what Salt Lake City is doing with its homeless programs?

EB: It is. Another great way is to visit slcgov.com. That’s the city’s main website, and we post the latest happenings on Homeless Services there, as well.

JM: Okay. I have one last, broad question.

EB: Yes!

JM: Do you feel like homelessness is a problem that can be solved?

EB: You know, I think there will always be individuals experiencing homelessness, unfortunately. I think that we can really shorten the time someone experiences homelessness and make it as least disruptive as possible. I think that’s what our goal is. In Salt Lake City, our average of someone experiencing homelessness is 45 days. We have a goal of dropping that to 15 days, which would be wonderful if we can do it, and I think we can.

What we need to do is just make sure that we have a system in place [for] when someone does drop into homelessness, we get them out of it as quickly as possible.

JM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

EB: No. I appreciate the time. Thank you for allowing me to participate today.

JM: Yeah! I’m glad to have you on.

EB: Oh, excellent! Well, thank you.

JM: Okay. That’s all I have.

EB: Okay, thank you very much.

Conclusion by Josh Morgan

This episode of The Plural of You was produced by me, Josh Morgan, in snowy Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Mike Martinez created our theme music.

Transcripts and show notes for each episode of The Plural of You, including this one, are available at pluralofyou.org. Subscribe to this podcast while you’re there at pluralofyou.org/subscribe, or search for The Plural of You wherever you get your podcasts. If you’re listening on iTunes, please rate and review the podcast to help its presence on the iTunes algorithm.

You can follow The Plural of You on Facebook or Twitter at pluralofyou. You can also email me, and that address is josh at pluralofyou.org. I’d be happy to hear from you.

In closing, here’s a homework assignment.

Check out the list of “Ten Ways You Can Help” that Elizabeth mentioned. It’s on the front page of slchost.org. It suggests many ways that we can improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness, from simple things like being polite to stronger solutions like community organization. No matter what the circumstances are for those without homes, they still deserve to be respected and cared for, and we can all choose to give them that.

That’s all for now. Thanks for listening.