This city might have discovered how to end homelessness. And it's sharing the secret.

Of the nearly 600,000 people who experience homelessness on any given night in the United States, more than 40,000 are veterans.

But in the city of Riverside, California, that number has dropped to something known as "functional zero."

The city has maintained functional zero — meaning the number of people experiencing homelessness is less than the monthly housing placement rate — since 2016.


Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey says that as a veteran himself, he had to try to solve this problem. "Some of my own neighbors have become homeless, and they've been erased from society and ended up dying because of homelessness," he says.

Photo via Chris Murphy/Unsplash.

Bailey joined 77 mayors, four governors, and four county officials from across the country in committing to end veteran homelessness.

The movement is a part of former first lady Michelle Obama's program "Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness," an extension of the 2010 program Opening Doors. Opening Doors combined the use of federal resources and local leadership to help communities put a plan in place to ensure homelessness is prevented whenever possible. Or if it can't be prevented, it is a brief, and non-recurring experience.

Bailey attributes Riverside's success to the city's Housing First Policy.

"You can't end homelessness without housing," says Bailey. "Becoming homeless is a vicious cycle our neighbors without homes end up in, and the sooner we can take them out of that cycle the better, the sooner we can place them into housing, the better."

It all starts with the city's Homeless Outreach Team, who first gets to know people who are homeless and help them feel like they are part of the community.

The team assesses health care needs, learns about their family, and builds a relationship of trust with each individual until they are ready to accept help in finding housing.

The policy uses a combination of local, state, and federal resources to create enough affordable housing options to meet the amount of unsheltered persons living within city limits, along with wrap-around support services put in place to help those who battle with substance abuse and mental health issues.

Bailey says the first step is helping homeless veterans take advantage of programs that were already put in place through the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This means taking additional steps that often go overlooked, such as helping veterans obtain valid IDs and convincing landlords and accept housing vouchers. Bailey says the city even offers some landlords annual stipends of up to $250 to cover the cost of any repairs housing units may need.

Photo courtesy of Lechenie Narkomanii.

And the policy seems to be working.

Since the city first identified 80 veterans who were homeless in early 2016, Riverside has consistently maintained its veteran homeless population of functional zero.

"Now that we have this model, we can take it to the rest of the population," says Bailey. "They're all human beings, and we're all neighbors here in Riverside."

Now that veteran homelessness has been greatly reduced, the city is focusing on high school and college students without homes.

Riverside is home to thousands of high school and college students, many of whom have no place to live. Bailey says the city is working with schools to determine which students are currently homeless and create housing projects in areas of need, but with the stigma attached, identifying students in need is sometimes a difficult process.

Now that a potential solution to aiding people who are homeless seems to be working in Riverside, city officials are working with other regional leaders to spread their success to neighboring communities. The Western Riverside Council of Governments is made up of 18 cities, and members of WRCOG are optimistic that what works in Riverside can work in their communities as well.

"It's important for us to work on this together," says Bailey. There's no city limits to homelessness.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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