Should I or shouldn’t I give money to people on the street?

It’s an age old question: do you give money to someone panhandling on the street? I heard Patty Stonesifer, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on NPR recently talking about a Slate article she wrote with her daughter trying to answer this question. She argues that rather than giving handouts, we shouldContinue reading “Should I or shouldn’t I give money to people on the street?”

Report from New Orleans, Part I: A national disgrace and local dreams

I spent a couple days in New Orleans this week learning about the recovery effort from Katrina. It was, in a word, stunning. I was stunned by the endurance of the devastation more than three years since the storms, as well as by the resilience and passion with which residents are rebuilding their great city.Continue reading “Report from New Orleans, Part I: A national disgrace and local dreams”

Rising demands for food and shelter

I attended a session this week on food and housing needs in Los Angeles with a panel of experts from both public and nonprofit agencies. What they had to share was truly scary. According to Miguel Santana from LA County, there has been a 30% increase in homeless families in the past year (which theyContinue reading “Rising demands for food and shelter”

There but for the grace of God go I

Today’s L.A. Times op-ed page had a touching account from Les Gapay, a former reporter at the Wall Street Journal, of how precious a permanent home is.  Les, someone will all the qualifications to be successful in this knowledge economy, found himself homeless 6 1/2 years ago: “It was surprisingly easy to become homeless. AContinue reading “There but for the grace of God go I”

Deep Poverty in the U.S.

The current economic crisis (punctuated with the loss of 60,000 jobs in one day!) is generating financial insecurity for people at most income levels, swelling the ranks of the poor and working poor in this country. What about for the most vulnerable people, those who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness? Several recentContinue reading “Deep Poverty in the U.S.”