Growing up in Portland, Oregon as a young child, Brian Hilliard and his Mom would go to his Grandma’s house, driving through Skid Row on the way, which was where all the homeless people lived at the time. Much to his mother’s shock, he began inviting homeless men into the car with him when they stopped at stop lights, giving them a ride wherever they wanted to go. He felt compelled to do what he could, and it didn’t stop there.
Brian’s curiosity, compassion and commitment to help the homeless grew as he did. He grew up working with “Sisters of the Road” and “Operation NightWatch” in Portland, organizations that he could see really cared. They had dignified dining, barter programs, help with housing issues, approaching the homeless in the doorways, loading docks, and campsites where they were settled in for the evening.
Realizing how huge the homeless problem really is very early on, Brian volunteered as a little kid and now continues to invest his time and money, even living under a bridge for periods of time, shedding his Armani suit for life with the homeless. He has worked in transitional facilities, shelters, big hospitals, mental health facilities and more.
Stating that 40% of the population is 1 emergency away from living on the streets, and that the biggest part of the growing homeless population is single women with children, Brian believes the long term solution – the key – is affordable housing. He continues to go out into the homeless camps, connecting one on one with people directly, with respect and dignity, developing relationships that.
Tune in to hear Brian discuss with Steve, Mary, and Richard discuss the homeless in America, what the root causes are for becoming homeless, how we find the breaking points to prevent it before it happens.
In This Episode
Intro to the homelessness series
Make Wade The Emperor
The homeless population is growing, particularly for single moms
Brian’s initial exposure to the homeless
He used to live under the bridges – by choice – in his 20s
Men and women created the problem.
Men and women need to fix the problem.
Finding solutions to homelessness
Homeless by choice
He has a reason to live
Symptoms vs Disease
The key is affordable housing
The stigmas attached to the homeless
Learn to listen better