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Diving Into The Homeless Crisis In America

California has the highest number of homeless encampments in the United States and holds more than half of all unsheltered homeless people. In an effort to resolve homelessness, major cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles, Portland, Austin, Houston, and San Francisco, are passing bills that will effectively ban homeless encampments from certain areas. However, homeless advocates argue banning and sweeping homeless encampments is inhumane, doesn’t solve the problem, and will ultimately create even bigger issues. Dr. Phil speaks with Donald Whitehead, Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, on his Phil in the Blanks podcast to dig deeper into this crisis. “If we give them a hand-up – not a handout – we can really change the direction of this country,” says Whitehead, who has worked for years advocating for systemic change to end homelessness. New episodes drop Tuesdays.


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The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission: To end and prevent homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights are respected and protected.

We envision a world where everyone has a safe, decent, accessible and affordable home.

NCH affirms the following Guiding Principles/Values:

  1. We can end and prevent homelessness.

  2. People who are currently experiencing or have experienced homelessness must be leaders in all the work of NCH and in the movement to end homelessness.

  3. NCH believes in the dignity of all people: housing, healthy food, quality health care, education and livable incomes are basic human rights.

  4. It is morally, ethically, and legally wrong to discriminate against and criminalize people struggling to meet their basic needs.

  5. Public policymakers and elected officials at all levels must be held accountable to end the systemic and structural causes of homelessness.

  6. Structural racism and discrimination are root causes of homelessness and violate human dignity.

  7. Collaboration between NCH and its diverse stakeholders is critical in directing NCH’s work.

Donald Whitehead, Executive Director

Donald Hugh Whitehead Jr. is recognized as a leading expert on homelessness, having served as the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, Assistant Director at St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, Program Director at Ohio Valley Goodwill, Grant Manager at Goodwill of Greater Washington and Director of Communications at Greenpeace Ohio. Donald served two terms as President of the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for the Homeless, two terms on the Board of Directors for Faces and Voices of Recovery and two terms on the Georgetown Center for Cultural Competency.


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