[03/02/06 - 12:00 AM]
Actress Doris Roberts Has the Cure for America's Three-And-A-Half Million Homeless - Homes!

[via press release from The Hallmark Channel]



Roberts Uses Publicity Opportunities for Hallmark Channel Original Movie, �Our House,� to Create Awareness on Homelessness

When Doris Roberts was filming her Hallmark Channel Original movie, �Our House� � about a Beverly Hills socialite who takes homeless people into her mansion after one of them saves her life � she made a promise to herself to learn something about the real-life plight of America�s 3 � million homeless people and to utilize every promotional opportunity to help.

Yesterday, the five-time Emmy� Award-winning actress sat down with Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tem and homeless advocate Bobby Shriver and Corporation for Supportive Housing�s President and CEO Carla Javits, and Director of CSH/California Jonathan Hunter, to see what the average American can do to help. What Roberts discovered was eye-opening.

�The first thing Americans have to do,� Roberts says, �is get angry. Get angry that in America, there are millions of people whose home address is NOWHERE!

�This is not about human behavior. This is about housing! Unlike other human tragedies � like cancer and AIDS � we know the cure for homelessness today. Homes!

�Jonas Salk discovered the cure for polio. Can you imagine not delivering that cure to people? We can deliver the cure for homelessness. You and I just have to get mad! We have to say, �I�m mad as hell, and I won�t let homelessness continue any longer.� Call your politicians. Bobby Shriver reminded me that the will of the people causes our elected officials to act. The American people must demand that we provide enough decent, affordable housing to prevent and end homelessness.�

Roberts is advocating an adequate supply of permanent supportive housing -- a longterm solution that also provides therapeutic services to the most chronically homeless individuals and families.

Roberts continues, �I am grateful to Bobby Shriver, Carla Javits and Jonathan Hunter for helping me understand the scope of America�s homeless problem. It was so big that I couldn�t wrap my head around it at first. But it comes down to these few things: �The primary cause of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. In 1968, a minimum wage worker in Los Angeles spent four working hours to maintain a place to live for one week. Today, that person would have to work 90 hours a week to afford a typical studio apartment. Most of our working poor in Los Angeles need multiple jobs in order to have a place to live.

�Most people think permanent supportive housing will cause taxes to soar. It�s just not true. It costs nearly five times as much for the most chronically homeless to remain on the streets because these are the people who tend to end up in hospital emergency rooms or jails. Four out of five people who get housing stay housed.�

Will the housing be maintained?

�No question it will,� says Mayor Pro Tem Shriver. �No one ever washes a rental car, but when you own the car, you wash it. Permanent housing gives people a sense of ownership and control over their lives.�

No area of the country compares to Los Angeles County, which has nearly 90,000 homeless people on any given day.

Roberts responds especially to the news that in Los Angeles 25 percent of the homeless are families with children. In addition, 5,000 California youth turn 18 and �age-out� of the foster care system each year. Almost two-thirds of these youth will experience homelessness within two years.

Ms. Roberts concludes, �I have quoted my late husband, author William Goyen, during production of this movie. He said, �When we see homeless or infirm people, we turn away from them, we shun them, and we take away their light.� �Don�t be overwhelmed by homelessness. Delivering the cure begins with you and me.�

�Our House,� starring Doris Roberts and Judy Reyes, premieres exclusively on the Hallmark Channel, Saturday, March 25 (9/8 c).

Hallmark Channel is a 24-hour basic cable channel that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming to a national audience of more than 72 million subscribers. The program service is distributed through more than 5,300 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country. Crown Media also operates a second 24-hour linear channel, Hallmark Movie Channel. Through its subsidiary, Crown Media Distribution, LLC, Crown also distributes titles from its award-winning collection of movies, miniseries and films for exhibition in a variety of television media including broadcast, cable, Video-on-Demand and High Definition Television.

For information about how supportive housing works to end homelessness, please visit http://www.csh.org.


  [march 2006]  


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