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Meet the Homeless Teacher

Thomas Rebman is a middle school teacher and a veteran who has been traveling across the country to raise awareness about homelessness by living as a homeless person. You may have already read about him as he’s appeared in local news outlets several times during his tour. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to speak with him while he was living homeless in Skid Row, an area Los Angeles that is notorious for its high concentration of chronic homelessness.

Where are you right now and what’s it like there?

I’m about two blocks east of Skid Row on First. I’ve been on Skid Row for about four days. I came here to highlight mental illness among the homeless, because I knew there was a lot of it here. But I had no idea how much. Los Angeles really is a completely different animal than any other city I’ve visited. The amount of mental illness I’ve seen on Skid Row is shocking.

The State of Homelessness in America: Trends in Populations at Risk

Why do people become homeless? This is a complicated question with numerous, complex answers. For some people, it may be because they lost a job or had an unforeseen medical crisis. For others, it may be because the cost of rent rose and they were unable to afford the payments.

Every person who experiences homelessness has a unique situation. However, research shows that homelessness often is a result of two factors: economic problems and/or housing problems. Economic problems include poverty and unemployment. In other words, if you don’t have the money to pay for housing, you’re vulnerable to homelessness. Housing problems include severe housing cost burden—in which a poor household pays over half of their income in rent—and living doubled up—in which people live with family or friends. Housing problems generally stem from a lack of affordable housing.

We’re Demystifying Data on Homelessness

How many homeless children are in there in America? This may seem like a simple question to answer. I bet some of you are thinking, “Just look at point-in-time count data,” while others are musing, “That can be answered from annual shelter counts.” Others, still, may be thinking, “The number can be found in a report from the Department of Education.” With so many data sources to choose from, this question isn’t as straightforward as you might assume.

Every time we at the Alliance rely on data, we have to decide which data source will give us the best approximation of the figure we seek. This involves a high level of knowledge and understanding about how each of these data sources collects and compiles numbers. For example, we used five different data sources in our most recent report, The State of Homelessness in America 2015, because no single source captured all the information we needed.

Veteran Homelessness

This veteran homelessness fact sheet presents information on the number of of veterans experiencing homelessness, the demographics of the population, causes of homelessness among veterans, and federal programs that address the issue.

Could Shelter Policies Increase a Youth’s Vulnerability to Sexual Exploitation?

Last month, the Urban Institute released a report that examines the experiences of young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth who have engaged in “survival sex” in New York City. Survival sex is a term frequently used to describe the exchange of sexual acts for money or goods that people require to live (e.g. food and shelter)

Of all the findings in this compelling report, “Surviving the Streets of New York,” one in particular should give homeless service providers pause: “Many [youth] … credited the instability and rules associated with emergency housing with driving them back to the street [and sexual exploitation].”

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