Short documentaries

Director: Zach Weissmueller, Liz Wolfe

Length: 26 minutes

Thursday 11:15am

Today, the Lone Star state counts 90 homeless people per 100,000 residents. In California, the problem is almost five times as bad. Homelessness has been rising in America’s West Coast cities for more than a decade. To figure out why some places are so much more successful than others, we took a trip to Texas where the homeless population declined almost 30 percent over the last decade.

Not only does Texas have vastly different politics and policies from the West Coast, but it’s also home to three large cities with three very different approaches to homelessness. From a privately run village of tiny homes, to a nonprofit with an intensive treatment and skills training program, to a centralized provider that’s streamlined its efforts, what we found in Texas was innovation. What’s also working in Texas is a willingness to give local social entrepreneurs the flexibility to craft policies that best serve their homeless populations, instead of adhering to one-size-fits-all federal policies.