Coming to Terms with Housing and Homelessness in Rural Places with Jess Huff, Erin Carreon, and Mallory VanMeeter

Season #5

In the third episode in our fifth series, Coming to Terms with Housing and Homelessness in Rural Places, we begin our episode with Jess Huff, Reporter for The Texas Tribune. Jess joined the Tribune in 2023 and is based in Lufkin, Texas. She grew up in Utah and has also lived in Arizona and the Netherlands. Her latest adventure brought her to East Texas where she worked for The Lufkin Daily News, leading the publication to numerous awards for investigative reporting in the region.

Michelle and Jess discuss her piece which originally appeared in the Texas Tribune, and reprinted in the Daily Yonder, “From couch surfing to sleeping in a car: What one teen’s story tells us about homelessness in rural Texas.” Jess sheds an important light on the challenges in identifying, counting, and providing services for rural homeless teens, as well as highlights the work that organizations are doing to help rural homeless teens.

In the second half of this episode, Michelle talks with Chapin Hall Researchers, Erin Devorah Carreon who holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago, where she is currently completing her PhD, as well as Mallory VanMeeter a PhD Candidate in Civil Society and Community Research. Carreon uses mixed methods to assess initiatives designed to improve access to quality housing, childcare, and career pathways, especially for pregnant and parenting young people. In their research, VanMeeter looks at how natural supports, like extended family and informal mentors, impact the well-being and housing stability of youth facing homelessness in the U.S. Her work also explores how public resources and policy change might help bolster these informal social safety nets.

Together, they share with Michelle their research and key findings in rural youth homelessness. This conversation includes the invisibility of homelessness, role of community support services, long-term impacts of homelessness, structural barriers, and what rural communities need to adequately address and prevent youth homelessness.

Below are articles and resources from the Reporters and Researchers in today’s episode:

Creating Home in Community: Reframing and Resourcing Informal Shared Housing with Chosen Family and Kin as Part of the Solution to Youth Homelessness.

From Couch Surfing to Sleeping in a Car: What One Teen’s Story Tells Us About Homelessness in Rural Texas.,month%20last%20year%20on%20TikTok.

Rural Communities Need Funding and Support to Address Rural Youth Homelessness