Homeless children

There’s a “perfect storm” threatening young, homeless people, according to a member of Rochester City Council. Elaine Spaull has decided not to seek reelection, and part of her decision stems from a desire to help young parents facing homelessness. As the executive director of the Center for Youth, Spaull says she sees young people struggle to find shelter and other resources in an environment where agencies are closing their programs or facing financial challenges. Her dream is to establish “extended host homes,” where community members will offer their love, support, and their homes to young parents who want to stay with their children in times of crisis.

This hour, we discuss the program's goals, and we talk about the critical needs of youth in our community. In studio:

  • Elaine Spaull, executive director of the Center for Youth, and member of Rochester City Council
  • Faith Davignon, assistant director of the Runaway Homeless Continuum at the Center for Youth
  • Sara Volz-Rogers, assistant director of the Runaway Homeless Continuum at the Center for Youth
  • Ma’liyah Davis, advocate on the Street Outreach Team at the Center for Youth

Fashion Week of Rochester is back. Sponsored by the Center for Youth, the annual event celebrates national and local designers while raising awareness of the challenges faced by homeless youth and young people who are at risk for homelessness and human trafficking.

We sit down with Fashion Week organizers and participants to discuss what’s on tap for this year’s event, and how they hope their efforts will help vulnerable populations in our community. In studio:

  • Elaine Spaull, executive director of the Center for Youth, and member of Rochester City Council
  • Joan Lincoln, originator of Fashion Week of Rochester, and owner of Panache
  • Christopher Washington, emerging designer, and Lead the Way role Model
  • Iman Abid, board member for the Center for Youth, Lead the Way role model, and chapter director of the Genesee Valley Region of the ACLU

New research shows that the average life expectancy of homeless men and women in Rochester is more than two decades shorter than that of men and women who are not homeless. There's also a significant difference in the life expectancy of homeless men versus homeless women.

Harry Murray is the Nazareth College professor who did the research using data from the House of Mercy. He published his findings in a new report called "Homelessness as Death Sentence." We discuss the data and we'll talk about ways to help homeless people in our community. In studio:

  • Harry Murray, professor of sociology at Nazareth College
  • Sister Grace Miller, founder of the House of Mercy

After focusing recently on single mothers, we turn our attention to young children in crisis. Our guests from the Crisis Nursery explain how they're keeping children safe when caregivers are in crisis -- poverty, no daycare, housing issues, no healthcare coverage.

The Crisis Nursery provides free, temporary childcare during family emergencies. The long-term goal is to prevent abuse, neglect, or homelessness. In other words: kids are in trouble, and the Crisis Nursery aims to prevent trauma, or make sure kids are not exposed to it. We examine its mission with:

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband a year ago, and on Mother's Day. After experiencing life as a single mother, she offered a kind of mea culpa: she wrote to the critics of her famous Lean In book who said that she had not grasped the challenge for single moms. Her message to the critics: You were right.

Sandberg's Mother's Day post was a tribute to moms who don't have a supportive spouse, and it's gone viral. We discuss the challenge of motherhood for moms who are often trying to do everything on their own.

We also talk to representatives from Sojourner House at Pathstone, which provides housing and support services for homeless women and children. Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a $227,000 cut to Sojourner House programs. We'll talk about the impact of the cut and how Sojourner House plans to work through the challenges to continue to support single moms. Our guests:

  • Erin-Kate Howard, single mom
  • Tabatha Santiago, single mom
  • Dr. Seanelle Tracy, executive director of Sojourner House at Pathstone
  • Tree Clemonds, director of resident services at Sojourner House at PathStone

Representatives from organizations that help the local homeless population join us in studio. We hear how the Open Door Mission, the House of Mercy, and Zion House are improving outcomes for homeless women and children. Our guests: 

  • Michael Hennessy, executive director of the Open Door Mission
  • Anna Valeria-Iseman, director of the women and children’s program at the Open Door Mission
  • Sister Grace Miller, House of Mercy
  • Reverend Kelly Ayer, director of Zion House
  • Melody Nwochka, Army veteran and Zion House graduate and staff member


The rough winter months are coming, and we're looking at the new efforts to help the local homeless population. It feels like a long time since heavy equipment took apart Tent City.

We welcome representatives from organizations with varying approaches to homelessness, and we'll talk about the range of issues, from simply providing warm space, to confronting addiction. In studio: