What We Are Reading This Week: Top Stories about Homelessness

This series of posts aims to provide a brief survey of some of the most interesting stories relating to homelessness each week.  The 24hr news cycle would have one to believe that there is a paucity of stories relating to homelessness, but many advocacy groups, blogs, and other internet resources actively report on the latest news in this area. Below is a blend of stories about people experiencing homelessness and some news on political policy.

The Importance of Housing

Last year, The Wall published an article treating on the same subject as this article: the importance of housing in combating homelessness. Our article surveyed the success of Mercer Alliance’s rapid rehousing program here in New Jersey. The article linked to here presents an alternative approach to housing known as “permanent supportive housing”. In essence, this approach to combating homelessness aims to flip the traditional model of housing assistance on its head by providing the person experiencing homelessness with access to a home first, and then helping them gain the skills necessary to support themselves in the future. The program is funded by the government and its effectiveness has been touted with an estimated 80 percent success rate. Simply described, permanent supportive housing is for those who need significantly more help than people who would otherwise utilize programs such as rapid rehousing.  Like many innovative programs, permanent supportive housing is dependent upon government funding and a steady supply of housing. Without these two essential ingredients, the program cannot function.  So, despite the possible concerns regarding sustainability, this approach to ending homelessness seems to be a promising solution.


Lasting Impact of “Million Dollar Murray”

Students Facing Homelessness

Though often overlooked, many students—in high school and college—have or are experiencing homelessness.  In the article linked to below, Camilla Garner discusses her own personal struggle with homelessness. The second link to the NPR report, discusses Rashema Melson's personal academic success (achieving an impressive 4.0 GPA while also juggling high school sports) in face of homelessness. A very moving story. Here is an excerpt:


Even Melson isn't sure how she's managed to successfully juggle school (a 4.0 GPA), athletics (cross-country, track, volleyball) and homelessness. "I just know when I have a goal, I try not to let anything get in the way," she says.

That goal, even before becoming homeless, has been to graduate from medical school and become a forensic pathologist. She says her father's murder when she was a baby inspired her to pursue the career.

"At The Head of Her Class and Homeless", NPR




Homelessness Policy

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has published its 2014  "State of Homelessness in America" report. It is full of interesting statistics and policy info. Read it online:





The Wall Team Honored by Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness

On April 29, 2014,  The Wall team, consisting of Editor-in-Chief Shayna Innocenti, Media Director Steven Rodriguez, and Business Director Raj Manimaran, was honored by the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness at their annual spring fundraiser. Members of The Wall were recognized for their effort to raise awareness of homelessness in Mercer County and desire to give dignity to the homeless community.


For more info, see the Mercer Alliance website:



Mercer Awards
From left to right: Editor-in-chief Shayna Innocenti, Tarry Truitt, Steven Rodriguez, Business Director Raj Manimaran (Image courtesy of the Mercer Alliance)