“I turn 35 next month and intend to grow old.”

A few weeks ago, I talked about how no one chooses to be homeless. I got the following email in reply that was simply beautiful in its raw honesty. I’m sharing Rebecca’s full email unedited with her permission. Peace, Ryan Dear Ryan, This one resonated with me.  I will still tell people that after college, […]

People who choose to be homeless

“What do we do about people who choose to be homeless?” A lot of people have asked me that question lately. Maybe it is the explosive growth of tent cities popping up around the country. My answer is simple: Nothing. We shouldn’t do anything about people who choose to be homeless because no one chooses […]

How to NOT change the world…

I am liberal. If you do not consider yourself liberal, you can stop reading now. This isn’t for you. Ok, now that it is just us liberals, I need to rant about a trend that seems to be intensifying within progressive circles. We have adopted a dangerous fixation on language. Now, don’t get me wrong, […]

Some homeless people are six months old.

Recently, I was going through a report of people that had just moved out of the shelter where I work. One person in particular struck me: A six-month-old baby who just moved out with his mother. He became homeless AND rehoused all before he was six months old. He won’t even remember having been homeless. […]

WLS Interview with Steve Cochran

Former Executive director at Hesed House Ryan Dowd joins the Steve Cochran Show to talk about how people become homeless, the 4 different types of homelessness he sees come through the Hesed House, and he explains why outlawing homelessness is inefficient. Visit WLS Website

Scripts for people sprawled out sleeping on the floor

Dear Ryan, We are a library in an urban area. A lot of our patrons experiencing homelessness like to sprawl out on the floor and sleep. Do you have any scripts for our staff to address this issue? Thanks! Mary Dear Mary, Thank you for your question! You don’t need scripts. Conflict de-escalation is almost […]

Broken people heal broken people

There is an old saying in social work: “Hurt people hurt people.” If you have not heard it before, it means that people who are hurting often hurt other people. Unfortunately, it is true. The most vulnerable can be the most challenging. Many vulnerabilities (mental illness, traumatic brain injury, etc.) can cause problematic behavior. It […]

Christmas Eve in a Homeless Shelter

The following story is from my book “A Homeless Christmas Story”To see the illustrated version and hear it read by Actor Emilio Estevez, go to https://www.homelesstraining.com/books/a-homeless-christmas-story/(if the URL doesn’t work, type it into your browser) Winter’s crisp darkness settled over the large, brick homeless shelter. Chicago winds whooshed snow across a frozen parking lot. Christmas […]

It is time to end homelessness.

Do you believe we can end homelessness? I do. Homelessness is something I have thought about 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for decades. I ran a large homeless shelter outside of Chicago most of my adult life. Now I travel the world teaching about homelessness. And I believe that we CAN end […]

I try not to be grateful

NOTE This newsletter has some religious references in it. If religion isn’t your thing, please skip this week and tune back in next week! Oh, it is also about Thanksgiving in the United States. If you aren’t in the U.S. you also are free to skip it if you so choose… × Dismiss alert I […]