Speaker 1 00:00:06 The Stories This Moment podcast and the S STM Block are brought to you by S STM Daily News and TNC Network. Daily News offers news and articles that inspires, helps heals and educates STM Daily News is the news. You can use this moment. Now, here's your host, rod Washington.
Speaker 2 00:00:27 Hello and welcome to another episode of the SDM Daily News podcast. I'm your host, rod Washington, and I'm gonna say welcome. As I stated before, the reason for this podcast is to talk to interesting people, people who care about the community, and people who are doing things creatively. Today we're gonna talk to John Taylor, who has a passion to help people in need. John is the c e o of Accessory Outreach Services. John will talk to us about community conversations.
Speaker 3 00:01:12 Homelessness in the United States is a major issue that touches many lives. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2019, there were an estimated 567,715 people experiencing homelessness in the US On any given night. There are a number of people experiencing long-term homelessness, which is defined as being homeless for more than one year. According to data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, long-term homelessness in America has increased by 15% since 2020. The causes of homelessness are numerous and complex. The current response to homelessness in the United States is inadequate. Many communities lack the resources to adequately address the increasing number of people experiencing long-term homelessness. There are both individuals and organizations who are working to make a difference. John Taylor of Ancestry Outreach Services in Phoenix, Arizona is one of those individuals who is working for change. John gives his insight on the growing homeless situation in America.
Speaker 4 00:02:11 In the United States, there are over a half million people experiencing homelessness right now. These individuals are in temporary shelter, transitional housing, or they're in places that weren't designed to have habitation, you know, such as, you know, abandoned buildings, uh, cars. I've drilled it down to four different reasons, major reasons why, uh, homelessness is occurring at the rate that it is in our country. And the very first thing is affordable housing. And the second would be, uh, unemployment. Third would be, uh, poverty, people living below the poverty line. And then, uh, fourth, uh, would be low Oasis. I happen to be a, a manager of the Fortune 100 company in retail since Covid. Um, there are several, uh, employment opportunities and, uh, we can't keep employees. So there are jobs, but the problem is the cost of living has gone up so much that, uh, the wages, uh, can't provide a suitable lifestyle for most people. They, they can't, they can't survive. So those four factors, uh, play a major part in why we are seeing a homeless epidemic across the country.
Speaker 3 00:03:30 John shares his insight on the hopes and the possible solutions that could remedy the problem of homelessness.
Speaker 4 00:03:36 Uh, every place is different. What I want to do is focus on Arizona, cause that's where I reside. If, um, you look at the number of Amazonians that experienced homelessness, let's say in 2020, uh, was nearly 11,000 individuals. By the end of 2021, there was about a 30% increase in homelessness from that 11,000. I don't have the data just yet, which is where they go out and they actually try to count the amount of homeless in every community as a result of, uh, an initiative with hud. So I don't have those numbers yet, the data from that, but I would be willing to bet that there's a, uh, a continued increase in homes based on my conversations with, uh, other nonprofits and entities and individuals that I've seen on the streets. So when you ask me about my insights, I would say first and foremost, the government, the states and the communities first have to believe that homelessness is solvable, which I particularly believe it is.
Speaker 4 00:04:44 Like I spoke earlier, the first thing I would probably try to resolve is affordable housing. You know, we hear that all the time. People say affordable housing, we need more affordable housing. But no one's really come up with a plan across the board to make affordable housing available for, uh, all communities. Uh, you know, no matter what demographic or where they fit in, uh, financially, I think that's one of the first things that that needs to be done, is to tackle affordable housing. Second, a lot of nonprofits are refusing to accept government funding or grants to operate. Now, nonprofit, you know, we only exist by donations and grants. I'm meeting more and more organization and, and fellow peers who are refusing to accept grants and donations from, uh, the government because the government is making it adversely impossible to obtain the grant in the first place.
Speaker 4 00:05:39 And then after you get the grant, the expectation that they have in place in order to maintain the grants, make it virtually impossible for you to get the funding. You know, when you have organizations that's built upon people volunteering and their, and, and doing things in kind, and you've got an epidemic like we have in the United States with homelessness, the last thing you need is the government, the quote unquote, uh, assist you in the efforts, but make it more difficult for you to actually do what it is you're trying to do and help those individuals that are vulnerable, that are unsheltered. So a lot of people are trying to come up with private donations and doing fundraisers and applying for grants that have not ties, uh, with government funding that that's a problem. Cause I believe our lawmakers and our, our city officials are trying to put monies aside to tackle the issue, but the support is not really happening because of all the stipulations that the government tends to put on, uh, their grants. And so that's a, that's a problem across the country.
Speaker 3 00:06:51 John talks to us about a new idea that his organization is calling Community Conversations.
Speaker 4 00:06:57 The community con conversation started with the friend from college. She is an individual that's always been dialed into her community and has been a strong supporter of nonprofit work for as long as I've known her. I shared with her my vision two years ago what I wanted to do in the community and what I wanted to do with my nonprofit and what particular audience I was trying to support. And she had came to me with the idea of doing a town hall. We had decided to change it from a town hall to community conversations. And so that's how it started for me. And it, it made sense for two reasons. Every community is different. So you, you need to find out what that particular community needs that you plan on operating in or, or supporting. So the best way to do that is to have a conversation with those residents that live in that particular, uh, community as well as those stakeholders that live in that.
Speaker 4 00:07:54 Second, I thought it would be great to have these community conversations because what it would do is it would put me in a room with other like-minded individuals, uh, other stakeholders as I mentioned, and other organizations that I could potentially partner with, uh, to address some of the same issues that, that I would be addressing. You know, so, so what they, to bring all of these organizations together to provide these different services, uh, and all the individuals have to do is really step through the gate and take advantage of it. To me, it made common sense to start these community conversations, even if I didn't, a series of four or a series of eight. You know, try to, to meet people where they are, hear directly from constituents in those communities, and meet those other individuals. See if we could come up with a, a plan where, you know, uh, and if there's an organization that is offer services that's different from mines, no sense of me recreate the will, we can partner together and attack this issue of homelessness.
Speaker 3 00:09:02 John tells us about the positive outcome that he hopes to see as a result of these community conversations.
Speaker 4 00:09:09 As I mentioned, I'm hopeful that these conversations will lead to collaboration between, uh, organizations and people who are positioned to make change. I'm hoping that the, the the questions and the concerns, uh, that we hear in these meetings will get to the ears of those who are in power and position to, to make change. And I'm hoping to build strong alliances with, uh, other nonprofits and other organizations that are really trying to make a difference in, in the same manner that I am. I think, um, it only makes sense to have conversations with those individuals that, that are homeless, that are unsheltered. And there's many reasons why people are as, as I've stated so many times, you know, there we all are familiar with that adage two mines are better than one. So of course, the more people you can get together in a room, uh, focus on the same cause, you know, you will just multiply that, that that particular adage or five mines will be better than one. So I'm hopeful that that will as a result of, uh, us having these meetings and, uh, talking to the people
Speaker 3 00:10:27 To learn more about community conversations, contact John at Assist History Outreach services, assist history outreach services.com.
Speaker 2 00:10:36 I'd like to thank John for coming and talking with us today, and we're gonna follow up on this story and hopefully there'll be some progress made because homelessness is a growing epidemic in our country.
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Speaker 2 00:11:18 I'd like to thank you guys for coming by and listening to us. We'll see you again next time on the SDM Daily News podcast. Bye-bye now.
Speaker 1 00:11:36 You've been listening to the Stories This Moment podcast with your host Rod Washington. The t m podcast and the S STM blog are both brought to you by TM Daily News, N T N C Network. Daily News offers news and articles that inspires, helps heals and educates STM Daily News is the news. You can use this moment.