Doing Away With Needle Exchange Programs Won't Prevent Drug Use
Medpage Today • February 12, 2024
In this op-ed, Ryan Assaf, PhD, MPH, a postdoctoral fellow with the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, highlights the importance of using harm reduction strategies. He outlines the use and impact of needle exchange programs, reducing the transmission of viral infections and acting as a bridge to other services. Dr. Assaf further emphasizes that criminalizing drug use will not make the problem disappear. "These services create a space of trust where individuals who use drugs can seek help, referrals, and navigation to substance use treatment and counseling if and when they are ready for it." Dr. Assaf writes. This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
Housing Should Be a Human Right
Chicago Sun-Times • February 11, 2024
In this op-ed, Kara Young Ponder, PhD, director of community engagement and racial justice at the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, calls for housing to be a human right. She outlines how having a home remains a privilege and the lack of resources to compete in the housing market displaces people into homelessness. Dr. Ponder writes, "Housing is a vital standard of humanity." This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
Most Unhoused Youth Are Invisible. How Do We Bring Them Out of the Shadows?
San Francisco Chronicle • February 4, 2024
In this op-ed, Marguerita Lightfoot, PhD, MA, Associate Dean for Research at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, highlights the need to make youth experiencing homelessness more visible. She outlines that the estimates of youth experiencing homelessness are vastly underrepresented. Youth experiencing homelessness are often not in the locations that are surveyed. Dr. Lightfoot writes, "It falls to HUD and lawmakers to make the invisible, visible — to look for and truly see young people experiencing homelessness." This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
Why Expanding Loan Forgiveness Is Urgent
Common Dreams • January 27, 2024
In this op-ed, Zena Dhatt, a Qualitative Research Project Manager at the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, calls for action to expand loan forgiveness. She outlines the struggles students face, from the high-interest rates to parents also taking out loans. Ms. Zhatt also calls for addressing the root cause of the cost of higher education. "It is urgent to stop imposing unmanageable loans on those who choose education and to encourage those to seek higher education without fear of a significant debt burden, and one that perpetuates disparity." writes Ms. Zhatt. This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
Progressive States Must Become Safe Havens for LGBTQ Adolescents
Washington Blade • January 12, 2024
In this op-ed, Morgan Philbin, PhD, MHS, associate director at the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative and director of the Educations Program, calls for progressive states to become safe havens for LGTBQ+ adolescents. She highlights the various discriminatory policies that have been introduced across the US and how those policies force LGTBQ+ individuals to move, often to more expensive areas. Dr. Philbin writes, "While supportive policies are imperative to counteract the discriminatory legislation enacted nationwide, progressive states must also develop policies and programs to support LGBTQ+ adolescents who are being forced to move there to access healthcare and maintain their physical and mental wellbeing." This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
Unfair “Fair” Housing Act Requires Reform
Visible • January 9, 2024
In this op-ed, Jesica Giannola, one of the CASPEH Lived Expertise Advisory Board members, calls attention to the unfair polices in the "Fair Housing Act". She outlines the issues and the need for reform, calling for young-adult and high school students to also be included under the same protections of families with minor children. "While it’s absolutely fair to ensure tenants can reliably pay rent, it’s incomprehensible that the same screening conditions applied to adults are also required of their 18-year-old high school students." Ms. Giannola writes. This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
When College Students Have No Home, It’s Up to Their Schools To Step Up
Chicago Sun-Times • January 5, 2024
In this op-ed, Cheyenne Garcia, senior research analyst at the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, calls for colleges to step up in helping students who experience homelessness. She outlines the how the school breaks disrupts the lives of students, as not every student has a place to go once classes are over. "The chronic stress of finding short-term housing break after break and year after year can take a toll on the mental and physical health of already stressed students." Ms. Garcia writes. This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
A Doctor's Obligation as a Private Citizen
MedPage Today • January 5, 2024
In this op-ed, Maria Raven, MD, MPH, associate director at the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, outlines the civic responsibility physicians have, even as private citizens, to be thoughtful in how they share their views. She explains that free speech protections are crucial for physicians regarding their practice of clinical medicine, but physicians should take care to not create an environment that could cause patients harm. Dr. Raven writes, "While hate speech from a physician's private social media account may be protected by the First Amendment, it stands in stark contrast to the ethical embodiment of 'first do no harm.'" This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
Study Veterans To Understand Rising Homelessness | Opinion
Newsweek • December 26, 2023
In this op-ed, Tom Murphy, the Senior Director of Communications for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, calls congress to fully fund and expand veteran homelessness programs. He highlights the rise in veteran homelessness while also acknowledging the sterling track record of the federal government's veteran homelessness programs. "It is wholly unreasonable and inappropriate not to invest in resources that would protect veterans and the citizens on whose behalf they served. This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.
California Will Keep Struggling With Homelessness Until Federal Leaders Step Up
Cal Matters • December 20, 2023
In this op-ed, Margot Kushel, MD,  professor of medicine and director of the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at UCSF, calls attention for the need of federal investments in affordable housing. She outlines that the federal governments disinvestment in affordable housing has forced local governments to use general funds to provide assistance, further highlighting it will take a coordinated effort between agencies to solve the crisis. "Increased federal funding is necessary, but not sufficient. Yet without it, it will be difficult to end homelessness. This crisis is solvable. Ensuring that people have housing that they can afford – through higher income, lower rents and dedicated rental assistance, as well as access to appropriate services – is essential." Dr. Kushel writes. This op-ed was published as part of the Public Voices Fellowship in partnership with The OpEd Project and funding from the California Health Care Foundation.