Dr. Margot Kushel of UC San Francisco speaks at the University of San Diego for Politifest 2023 on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023.
Dr. Margot Kushel of UC San Francisco speaks at the University of San Diego for Politifest 2023 on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. / Vito Di Stefano for Voice of San Diego

We’re in your podcast feed early this week with another Politifest drop. This episode features one of the most popular and praised discussions from Politifest 2023: “What We Know About Homelessness” with Dr. Margot Kushel.

Kushel, one of the nation’s foremost experts on health and homelessness, sat down with Voice of San Diego senior investigative reporter Lisa Halverstadt to break down an unprecedented study on homelessness.

Led by Kushel, the largest study of homeless individuals ever done included interviews of nearly 3,200 people across the state. It was made to guide California’s investments in homelessness.

Kushel summarized the study’s findings for us in this interview, including demographic breakdowns, behavioral health, substance use and treatment, and supports the state needs. But, Kushel noted, “supports without housing do nothing. We could do the supports … if we had the housing. The answer to this crisis is housing.”

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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  1. Naive woman with naive regurgitation of ideas. Does the state pay her to fabricate interviews with the deranged or is she doing this on her own dime?

  2. Thank you for this interview. This was an incredible study and it’s infuriating how much homelessness could be prevented or fixed with some pretty basic (but politically unpopular for some) solutions – zoning and federal money.

    Addressing homelessness among those 19% who come from instituions such as prison or jails seems like such an easy fix since we do know where they come from, but it’s too bad it’s politically unpopular to want to help people who have already served their time instead of letting them suffer on the streets at the public’s expense anyways.

    1. These things are given homes all the time, they are out within 30 days because they are not functioning human beings and they trash the places. You need to muster whatever strength you have to go outside and become part of reality before you are too far gone.

      1. Calling people “things” just because they’re homeless might make you feel better, but it doesn’t make you right. Despite what you may believe, homeless people aren’t just being handed out homes in San Diego. There isn’t enough shelter for all the homeless people in the county and there are numerous reasonable reasons homeless people turn down shelter, such as the fact that many are temporary and require them to give up essential possessions such as their cars.

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