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This is why veteran homelessness has dropped so dramatically.

No one should be sleeping on a sidewalk — especially our vets.

Good news, America: Far fewer veterans are sleeping on our streets.

Like, far fewer.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.


Since 2010, vet homelessness has plunged 47%, according to data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

That includes a 17% drop just between January 2015 and January 2016.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

Hooray! But really, though ... how did we do it?

Multiple factors contributed to the decline, of course, and no one answer should take all the credit. But here are three of the key variables to note:

The first major player? The first lady.

Michelle Obama has led efforts to encourage mayors to take on vet homelessness at the local level. And it's working.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

Her initiative, aptly dubbed the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, has prompted hundreds of local officials to commit to effectively ending homelessness among those who've served. Since its launch two years ago, the challenge has done just that in 27 communities across the country, including Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Houston.

These cities have shown that, yes, you can get every last vet into stable housing. Heck, even two states — Virginia and Connecticut — proved it can be done.

A second key factor? Opening the door to homeless vets, so to speak.

Ending veteran homelessness has been a big component of the Obama administration's Opening Doors plan — the federal government's first-ever comprehensive strategy to get a roof over every American's head. Key partnerships within the strategy have helped more than 360,000 vets and their families find housing in the past six years alone, thanks to services from HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

And a third reason for the big drop? Housing First.

The evidence is mounting (and has been for a while now) that the Housing First approach to homelessness is the way to go. The White House-backed strategy — which provides a person with a home, first and foremost, and then provides helpful services (as opposed to a person obtaining housing only if certain behavioral conditions are met beforehand) — is being adapted by more and more nonprofits and agencies across the country.

It's how Utah was able to get its chronic homelessness rate slashed by more than 90% in just one decade.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Make no mistake: There's still a lot more that needs to get done before we can consider this work a success.

After all, the president failed to reach his original goal, set six years ago, of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. And as the official point-in-time survey found earlier this year, there are still roughly 40,000 vets sleeping on the street in America on any given night — a figure far too high for any of us to feel OK throwing in the towel.

Volunteers count how many people are homeless in Los Angeles. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

But still — a 47% drop is no small potatoes.

Seeing dramatic progress on an overwhelming issue is great news. It's even better, however, knowing how we did it.

There was no magic fix. No savior swept in and snapped their fingers. No billionaire sighed, wrote a check, and saved the day.

Our country made huge gains helping the homeless who've served because enough people — from the first lady down to the mayors of small towns everywhere — cared enough to make a difference.

And that's America at its greatest.

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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