Try Freedom’s New Project looks at Causes and Solutions to Homelessness

Recent articles on the homelessness crisis in California have run the gamut. Some recent examples include: a recent piece in Slate about LA’s homelessness written by a former homeless woman, Kevin Williamson’s recent piece in National Review urging a sort of “pull yourself up by the seat of your pants” approach, and the typical right-left political blame game. This is in addition to the multitude of daily local news pieces about the human filth clogging gutters and sidewalks. What is left to be said?

Try Freedom Stories is wading into this contentious and emotional issue because there are many important voices being drowned out by the grand narratives painting California as some kind of failed state. True, 55% of all the homeless people in the US live in California. But did you also know that there are thousands of groups providing services to this population? Their stories aren’t being told and there is much to learn from them.

The voices left out of this issue are the many people in California working day and night to help the homeless people of our communities. These people on the front lines have novel ideas and years of experience with what works—as well as knowledge of what doesn’t. This is a crisis that can only be solved by learning from diverse approaches attacking different angles of the problem. The expertise in our local communities is invaluable. And we want to showcase those success stories.

There is a personal side to this issue for me. My parents divorced when I was very young. At one point during bitter custody disagreements, my father kidnapped me and we lived homeless for a few months, bouncing around from campsites to sleeping in a horse stable where he sometimes worked. He was not mentally well and lived homeless from time to time throughout the rest of his life. Yet, he was also resourceful and not embarrassed by his circumstances but rather wore them as a badge of pride.

Because of this experience, I learned at a young age that homelessness is a complex issue. It deserves a thoughtful approach. I hope you will join us as Try Freedom Stories explores the untold and uplifting stories of local organizations that have made a difference in our community to alleviate homelessness. We plan to do podcasts, short videos and provide PR assistance to local groups who work tirelessly on this issue. Try Freedom Stories will support these organizations by ensuring that their voices are heard. Of course, your financial support is greatly appreciated as we create a new conversation on homelessness.

One Answer to the Detroit “Problem”

Detroit is getting a lot of bad press. Recently, the city filed for bankruptcy. While dozens of cities across the country are facing the same bleak road ahead, to see a once great metropolis fall, is troubling. There are two culprits: a ballooning deficit caused by a public sector pension program, which can no longer pay for itself, and an exodus from the city, the “brain drain”. Almost twenty percent of properties within the city sit empty. With an unaffordable pension system eating away at basic services and a flight to the suburbs, both problems compounding each other, Detroit must find a way to lift itself up.

There is not a lot that the citizens can do to help the economic woes of the city, but they can still do one thing: cultivate a community.

“Any neighborhood can become a wasteland,” said William Barlage, head of East English Village Homeowner’s Association on Detroit’s east side. “It takes a community to stop it.”

The Huffington Post reports on one neighborhood taking responsibility for the abandoned homes and in the process, ensuring that nearby homes don’t succumb to the domino effect facing so many neighborhoods across Detroit.

What is the difference between a city and a community? A city should be able to pick up the trash, keep public areas clean, and ensure that the citizens feel safe. Beyond that, there is much more that defines a city. That sense of place, the thing that drives people to make their homes there, and to take pride in what they own, that comes not from the city, but from the community. A city is the government, a community is the people.