“Did you know that on any given night in this country, there are over 800,000 people living in the streets? Did you know that the fastest growing segment of the homeless are women with children?”  

These were the challenging questions asked in front of a captive audience of over 500 students, teachers and administrators at the Shady Side Academy in the suburbs of Pittsburgh late last year. I was at the private school as part of a panel that also included another Street Sense vendor, John Harrison, and Michael Stoops from the National Coalition for the Homeless. As a member of the NCH’s Faces of the Homeless speakers’ bureau, I get the chance to visit other cities and towns, raising awareness about homelessness.  

In this case, Ethan, a student at Shady Side Academy, had seen the panel in action on a visit to Washington and was so impressed he undertook the task of arranging to have us speak at his school. He also invited us to dinner at his home.  

The previous evening, we spoke with guests and students at the Jewish Community Center in downtown Pittsburgh. The audience there had lots of questions that we eagerly answered. These were just two of the hundreds of appearances by speakers’ bureau participants. Our goal is to ask important questions about homelessness and to answer them as well. The speakers’ bureau is an integral part of the work done by the National Coalition for the Homeless. If you want to know more, please visit our website: nationalcoaltionforthehomeless.org.