🖤 Donations of all sizes power our public service journalism Give Now
Finding Your Place: a special report on the economics of homelessness
Jun 2, 2023

Finding Your Place: a special report on the economics of homelessness

How did homelessness become such a defining and intractable economic issue in America? What are the root causes of the recent rise in homelessness, and more importantly, how do we fix it? In this special report, we delve into six different facets of the fight against homelessness to get a better sense of what people have been going through — and what that can tell us about how to tackle the issue that's been vexing mayors and legislators across the nation for decades. 

Segments From this episode

Biden plan to end homelessness is missing a crucial ingredient: more money

May 30, 2023
Getting an unhoused person into a home can cost $10,000 a year — and more than 580,000 people are unhoused on any given night.
Unhoused people are cleared from a park encampment two blocks from the White House in February.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

How the affordable housing crisis drives homelessness

We're going to need a lot of money and cooperation to address homelessness.
Housing expert Gregg Colburn explains how we can best address homelessness on local, state and federal levels.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Mental illness plays a complicated role in the homelessness crisis

May 30, 2023
Though the affordable housing shortage is key, mental illness increases the risk of losing a home and makes it harder to regain one.
Being unhoused often limits access to treatment for people with mental illnesses.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Inside the push to criminalize homelessness

"The proven strategy is ... to use housing as the base," and then add services, says Ann Oliva of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
"There's a variety of reasons why we shouldn't be criminalizing people who are experiencing homelessness, yet it seems to be persisting," says Ann Oliva of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

There aren't enough workers to help people experiencing homelessness

Jun 1, 2023
That's impacting efforts to get people into housing. But there are some programs trying to increase the number of specialists in the pipeline.
A man sleeps outside the Homeless Help Desk kiosk in the Skid Row community of Los Angeles, California. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Yes, you can be employed and homeless

Jun 1, 2023
Fast-food workers, who are often paid low wages and work limited hours, make up 11% of homeless workers in California, a study finds.
An Economic Roundtable study looks at the fast-food industry in California, which has the "highest rate of poverty employment" in the state, according to author Daniel Flaming.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The team

Leanna Byrne Host, BBC
Kelly Silvera Executive Producer
Meredith Garretson Morbey Senior Producer
Erika Soderstrom Producer
Alex Schroeder Producer
Ariana Rosas Producer
Jarrett Dang Digital Producer (gone fishing)
Jesson Duller Media Producer
Nick Esposito Media Producer
James Graham Producer, BBC
Jo Critcher Producer, BBC
Olie D'Albertanson Producer, BBC