Wisdom from the Streets: Unhoused, Criminalized, and Hospitalized

The CAFÉ TA Center recently hosted Wisdom from the Streets: Unhoused, Criminalized, and Hospitalized, a conversation about the lived experience of being unhoused in America while experiencing mental health and substance use challenges, what helps and harms, and alternative solutions to hospitals and jails.

View the recording here!

The intersection between mental health, substance use, housing, and race is a pressing issue, with some communities defaulting to criminal penalties and incarceration, others to forced hospitalization and “sweep the street” policies, and some focusing on outreach, services, and access to housing.  According to SAMHSA data, 21 percent of unhoused individuals have reported having a “serious mental illness.” Included among the narratives about these individuals are assumptions about their unwillingness to seek services due to lack of insight, requiring policies and approaches rooted in force.

Where does the peer support and recovery community fit into the equation, and what wisdom from the streets can and should lead change?

Join a conversation with several peers that have lived on the streets with labels like “felon,” “addict,” “homeless,” and “schizophrenic,” and now work to reclaim the narrative around being unhoused through street outreach, policy change, and challenging the status quo. They will share their honest thoughts about peer support and outreach, what they needed and what the system provided, the role of treatment, both voluntary and mandatory, and their ideas about solutions.

If you want to gain practical insight into the intersections of mental health, poverty, race, and houselessness from people that have lived grassroots experience, and also understand the big picture, this is the conversation for you!

View the recording here!

This webinar is the tenth in a year-long series of monthly conversations about innovative peer-centered, recovery-focused practices in mental health facilitated by national peer leader, CEO of Promise Resource Network, and 2022 Bazelon Center Innovator of the Year Cherene Caraco.


Throughout the series, Cherene and CAFE TAC will introduce attendees to leaders with lived experience who have launched alternative ways to advance recovery, voice, and healing in their communities. Join us as we learn about innovative approaches, concepts, models, and programs throughout the US and become inspired to perhaps launch your own!