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Commentary By Isabel McDevitt

The Typical Homeless Person in America Might Surprise You

Culture Poverty & Welfare

The typical American experiencing homelessness is often conceived of as a mentally ill individual living in the subways of New York or an addict on the streets of San Francisco or Philadelphia. Those conceptions capture some of the crisis of homelessness, but not all of it. Among the 550,000 to 600,000 people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. are tens of thousands who are not chronically homeless, nor incapacitated due to illness or substance use disorder. These people are capable of work and ready to integrate into the mainstream job market. They are frequently overlooked in the debate on how we solve homelessness, and also in publicly-funded policy solutions.

Work-oriented programs need to be part of our response to homelessness, because they benefit not only the people they empower but also community stakeholders of all kinds. Investments in these models will break the insidious and expensive cycles of related crises of incarceration, unemployment and addiction.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Hill


Isabel McDevitt leads Work Works America, a capacity-building effort to bring the award-winning Work Works employment-based solution to communities seeking to reimagine their approach to addressing homelessness. Based on a recent MI report.

This piece originally appeared in The Hill