Homeless in Carbondale – June 2015 Community Forum

Photo June Community Forum

Community Forum Series “Challenges of Poverty in Carbondale”

June 23, 2015 ~ Carbondale Public Library

“Homeless in Carbondale”

SIU Researcher Josh Phillips interviewed 10 homeless people over several months while working at a local homeless shelter. Phillips found that often benefits being offered or received do not match recipients’ needs. At the June 2015 Community Forum, Phillips shared their experiences and views on solutions to homelessness. Some of the common themes that emerged in his study are losing everything, navigating the system, manipulating the system, and seeking recognition and finding community. These experiences informed a dialogue in which housed and unhoused community members discussed how best to address the challenges of poverty in Carbondale.

Phillips emphasized that the voices of homeless people matter, and that we who are housed should listen carefully. “Dialogue between housed and homeless fosters a sense of mutual respect, personal empowerment, and shared ownership for public policy,” Phillips said.

Listen here to WSIU’s interview with Carbondale Interfaith Council President and Sparrow Coalition Facilitator Maurine Pyle and SIU Lecturer Josh Phillips about the “Homeless in Carbondale” Community Forum. Read coverage by the Southern Illinoisan here.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Community Forum Series Challenges of Poverty in Carbondale is an initiative of the Sparrow Coalition and Imagining Geographies – Civic Soul, in partnership with the Carbondale Public Library and the Carbondale Interfaith Council. Following Civic Soul’s civic dialogue model, these community meetings seek to enable residents, members of ad hoc groups and civic organizations, researchers, policymakers, city staff, and civic leaders to discuss crucial issues of shared public concern.

Previous Community Forum events include a film screening of “The Homestretch,” in partnership with WSIU which follows the lives of three homeless teens; as well as screenings and discussions with homelessness documentarian Diane Nilan during Carbondale’s 11 Days of Compassion in March 2015.

The Forum will continue in September when one of the founders of Eugene, Oregon’s micro-housing development, Opportunity Village, will share the accomplishments of this project.

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