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Everyone has a story.

Task For ce for th e Home less

The Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau




3.5 million people will experience homelessness in the United States this year. 1.35 million of them will be children. !" Tonight 842,000 people will be homeless. 200,000 will be children. !" Over 40% of homeless people are women with children. This segment of homelessness is rising the most rapidly. !" 400,000 veterans were homeless last year. !"

Myths/ Stereotypes Because those who experience homelessness are often seen as the cause of their own misfortunes, the socioeconomic conditions that result in homelessness are too readily ignored. W h a t Ca u se s Homelessness?

Lack of affordable housing: A lack of affordable housing and the limited scale of housing assistance programs have contribute to the current housing crisis and to homelessness. Loss of employment and inadequate wages: Lack of income or inadequate income has put housing out of reach for many individuals: in every state, more than the minimum wage is required to afford a one or two bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent. Lack of affordable healthcare: For families struggling to pay the rent, a serious illness or disability can begin a downward spiral ending in homelessness, by beginning with a lost

job, depletion of savings to pay for care, and eventual eviction. Domestic Violence: Nationally, approximately half of all women and children experiencing homelessness are fleeing domestic violence.

Criminalization of the Homeless An Alarming






You can make a difference by learning more about the causes of homelessness and its solutions. Also, you can provide relief by assisting service providers in your community, like Metro Atlanta Task Force, who are addressing the housing and social service needs of men, women, children and families that are experiencing

unfortunate trend in cities around the country over the past 25 years has been to turn to the criminal justice system to respond to people living in public spaces.

homelessness. You can do this through

This trend includes measures that target homeless persons by making it illegal to perform life-sustaining activities in public. These measures prohibit activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and begging in public spaces, usually including criminal penalties for violation of these laws.

promoting awareness.

In terms of criminalizing homeless people, Atlanta is ranked as the 4th “meanest� city in the United States.

Task Force Coalition Forum, or the

Violence Against Homeless People

Contact information for these organizations

Since 1999, 774 homeless people have been violently attacked by housed individuals. These attacks range from general harassment to kicking, setting on fire, being beaten to death, and even decapitation. Of these attacks, 217 resulted in death.

can be found on the back of this brochure.

It is imperative that preventative measures are taken to stop the violence against homeless people and that communities begin to understand that people experiencing homelessness are human beings.

volunteer service as well as through advocacy work by educating others and

You can learn more about homeless issues by contacting a local Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau, The National Coalition for the Homeless.

Awareness is the first step toward change. Public perceptions and attitudes toward homeless people must shift if positive, long-term solutions are to be realized. Without individual awareness homelessness will continue to be viewed merely as an abstract social problem rather than as a close-to-home issue that requires urgency in solutions and commitment to relief efforts. The Task Force’s statewide Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau educates the public about homelessness and what can be done to end it. The speakers on the panel are homeless or formerly homeless individuals. Being a member of the group provides opportunities for the speakers to advocate for themselves as well as others and to build bridges within their communities. Using their own experiences, speakers put a human face to homelessness and dispel the stereotypes many people develop. By fostering an environment of respect and understanding for our speakers, the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau challenges the community to believe that it can and must end homelessness.

Sp eak er s’ Bure au Presentation

The mission of the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau is to increase public awareness about homelessness.

The standard “Faces of Homelessness” presentation includes a short video about homelessness, up to three homeless/formerly homeless panelists, and a moderator to facilitate the discussion.

Presentations typically follow the outline below: 1. Greetings and Introductions 2. Statistics and stereotypes 3. Video Presentation 4. Panelists share experience 5. Questions and Answers 6. Ways YOU can get involved

Each panelist typically speaks for 10 to 15 minutes. The length of time is dependent on: the type of group we are presenting to, the time allotted, and the number of speakers requested. Some panelists talk about their lives before they became homeless, what life was or is like while homeless, what they are doing now and their hopes and dreams for the future. Others discuss what they have seen, their opinions about poverty and homelessness, and what they think should be done about it. In order to keep our presentation current, we are continually re-evaluating the information we present and the manner in which we do so. Prior to the speaking engagements, we encourage groups to supply us with information they think will be relevant in planning their event and to give guidance as to specific topics that may be of importance to them.

Speakers’ Bureau Sponsors

This project is supported by AmeriCorps*VISTA and is a joint project of The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless and The National Coalition for the Homeless.

Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless 477 Peachtree Street Atlanta, GA 30308

National Coalition for the Homeless 2201 P. Street NW Washington , DC 20037

Phone: 404-230-5000 E-mail: Website:

Phone: 202.462.4822 Email: Web:


Atlanta Faces of Homelessness Brochure