ST. PAUL, Minn. (Oct. 9, 2013) — The Wilder Foundation, a nonprofit health and human services organization, invites the community to participate in Under the Big Tent, Wilder Chautauqua on Homelessness, a powerful evening of entertainment, information and community engagement.
The Chautauqua, a traditional adult education movement made popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States, entertains while it educates. The Wednesday, Oct. 23 event is from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul. The theater production includes spoken word, music, storytelling, Wilder Research findings, a performance of “There’s No Place Like Home,” featuring zAmya Theater Project, and special musical guest, Charlie Maguire.
Wilder Research recently released new findings from their 2012 triennial statewide homelessness study. They note the five key reasons people are homeless in Minnesota are the recession, the lack of affordable housing, individual mental and physical health, few resources for youth and racial disparities.
The event highlights the details of this newly discovered data.
“Wilder is committed to raising the visibility and understanding the impact of homelessness in our community, and to also generate solutions to end homelessness,” said Wilder President and CEO MayKao Y. Hang. “This Chautauqua style event will engage people in this community to understand homelessness while inspiring us to take action.”
Wilder’s new findings include deeper connections between homelessness and poverty, family circumstances, catastrophe, mental illness and chemical dependency. The data also calls attention to the devastating effect of homelessness on youth. Results of the 2012 survey indicate that nearly half (46 percent) of the homeless in Minnesota are age 21 and younger, of which 3,546 were children with their parents. The study counted 1,151 youth on their own, including 146 youth age 17 and younger and 1,005 age 18 through 21. Wilder is in partnership with The House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Paul and BEACON Interfaith Housing Collaborative to develop and serve homeless youth at a development called Prior Crossing that will have 44 new affordable studio apartments in St. Paul. Wilder will be the services partner. Wilder’s supportive housing programs serve 30 percent of homeless families in Ramsey County.
The event is free and open to the public. Only 280 seats are available. Register by October 18 at community.wilder.org/register or by calling 651-280-2445. Ample free parking is available in the ramp adjacent to Wilder Center.