Everyone should be a lifelong learner. I’m a firm believer that in our digital age, we have no excuse for not seeking out new information that will help us live more informed and rich lives. One topic I’m very passionate about is homelessness, and that often comes as a surprise to people who know that I’m conservative. “Conservatives don’t care about the poor,” they say, despite the fact that they meet me when I’m serving at a soup kitchen or spending an overnight shift at a homeless shelter in a church basement.

Conservatism is not anti-poor, but we certainly don’t want people to stay poor forever. However, we can still be active in charity and live helpful lives others. I choose to be charitable in helping those experiencing homelessness so that that experience can eventually come to an end, ideally sooner rather than later. Before college though, I had had very little interaction with people experiencing homelessness. I had a lot of learning to do, and quick. Now, when I introduce someone to the kind of work I do, I recommend these five Ted Talks on homelessness to help them understand some of the issues we are facing.

I hope they’ll help inspire you to get involved in charitable giving and inform your actions in your daily life.

The Housing First approach to homelessness 

The answer to homelessness isn’t soup kitchens and free socks. It’s housing. In this talk, the housing first approach is explained and explored. Yes, people experiencing homelessness often face a variety of issues, but it’s hard to solve them when they are still on the streets.

Watch it here.

How the arts help homeless youth heal and build 

People don’t talk about the homeless youth as much as they should, whether it is kids in shelters alongside their parents or kids kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality. This talk explores some of that and also the important role art can play in the healing and rebuilding process.

Watch it here.

How isolation fuels opioid addiction

Many people experiencing homelessness are also experiencing or will experience addiction, so I think it’s important to understand how addiction does and doesn’t work in our modern world and in dealing with homeless populations. Not everyone who is homeless is an addict, but there is enough of an overlap to merit some awareness.

Watch it here.

The best way to help is often just to listen

I cannot stress this enough: listening is a skill. Being able to listen opens doors, builds connections, and helps foster relationships. Listening is a great tool when you are in a situation you aren’t used to, such as in a shelter, and can help you be a better advocate in the long run. It’s also a form of help in and of itself.

Watch it here.

The year I was homeless

A great way to learn about homelessness is to listen to someone who was homeless. In this talk, Becky Blanton talks about becoming unexpectedly homeless and the way her mental health impacted that. This is a great talk to listen to.

Watch it here.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member