The Conversation: Wednesday, September 16th 2015

Sep 16, 2015

Home For Good Initiative; Dancer Nikki Guess; USICH Regional Coordinator; Homelessness in Maui County

Home For Good Initiative: Christine Margiotta

In a city of 10,000,000, you might expect a lot of homeless people. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the city has a little more than 44,000. That’s up over 39,000 in 2013. And if you think Kakaako is full of tents, in Los Angeles, tents, makeshift shelters, and vehicles as shelters were up 85% from two years ago. Those statistics and the rest of what came out in the point in time count could be daunting, but there are bright spots, too. Since 2011, LA has had a 38% decrease in veteran homelessness according to Home for Good, the region's initiative to end homelessness. Christine Margiotta is the Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and in 2010, she launched Home For Good. Christine Margiotta joined the show via phone from her office in LA to tell us more.

  • Intro Music: Homeless Poets by Wakey!Wakey!
  • Outro Music:  Homeless Hearts by Frenchy Burrito and The Folk Pistols

Dancer: Nikki Guess

Nikki Guess dancing the calypso with a children's group at Kahala Mall
Credit guessxpresshi.com

Performing artists need to be able to get around as most of the time the work is intermittent, and you have to pursue it. Nikki Guess is a dancer and dance instructor who lives in a tent, using what funds she has to eat, get around by bus, and maintain a mobile phone.   She’s got a determination to pursue her art that cuts through her day-to-day struggles. We spoke to her via phone as she rode a bus to one of her dance classes. 

  • Intro Music: Homeless by Kris Delmhorst
  • Outro Music: Homeless by Curtis Mayfield

USICH Regional Coordinator: Katy Miller

Last year, Seattle’s King County listed 1,021 chronically homeless people. As of this year, the county shows 815. According to Hawaii’s point in time count, 1,372 are chronically homeless statewide. These 2015 numbers don't yet appear on the official HUD annual report to Congress. That report isn’t out yet, but Katy Miller is watching.  She has worked on the homeless issues in her home city of Seattle for 20 years, and more recently, she became the regional coordinator for the US Interagency Council on Homelessness in 12 states including Hawaii. It's a lot of territory with some similar responses to homelessness that are both challenged and working. Katy Miller joined us from her office in Seattle.

  • Intro Music: Homeless by Jaime Villarreal
  • Outro Music: Homeless by Solas

Homelessness in Maui County: Mayor Alan Arakawa

Homelessness on your island likely looks different from homelessness in other places and from other islands. As part of our series on homelessness from the outside in, we've asked for responses from each mayor to the ideas that we're hearing this week. Today, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa joined us for a discussion of homelessness in Maui County.

  • Intro Music: Fun to Be Happy by Love Tractor
  • Outro Music: Homeless by Graham Saber