In the United States, 1.7 million young people, between the ages of 13 and 25, experience homelessness every year. When he was a middle school student, Dizzy Wright, a hit recording artist, counted himself as one of those million plus kids, living in a homeless shelter with his mother and brothers. Since then, Dizzy Wright has released more than a dozen records. His newest record, Nobody Cares, Work Harder, was released this month. Listen to the first track “Self Love Is Powerful” here.
Recently Dizzy Wright joined Clayton Chau, M.D., Ph.D., Regional Executive Medical Director for mental health and wellness at Providence St. Joseph Health, to talk about the time he spent homeless, how he coped with it, and how he incorporates that into his perspective.
Homelessness is a societal failure. Dizzy Wright makes it clear that no matter the circumstances, every human can thrive and has tremendous value. Research backs this up, showing there are vital conditions— from a safe, affordable house in a safe neighborhood to opportunities for good jobs to the chance to learn early and improve skills later to keep up in a changing economy to a sense of belonging and purpose—that help our youngest and most vulnerable excel. Every day that nation turns a blind eye, we allow an unimaginable wealth of human potential to remain a hazard.
Read an excerpt from our Interview with Dizzy Wright:
Do you think living in a homeless shelter has affected the way you see the world now, today?
“Oh yeah, for sure. It just put me in a position to appreciate the little things. I think it just made me a real compassionate, understanding person. Going through that—that life being in the shelter—it wasn’t really about race or color. Everyone was going through a struggle. It made me see the world a little different, like we’re all going through stuff. You know what I mean? And I think that opened my eyes up, to being understanding to other peoples’ issues.”
Has that affected the way you write music?
“Oh, a lot. Yeah, a lot. Because, you know, I just want the world to be a better place, and if I can contribute to that, I’m gonna try.”
- Your community’s Continuum of Care (CoC)
A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals.
- Your communities 2-1-1 Hotline
Available in most communities, a 2-1-1 hotline provides 24/7 service to help people find access to resources like shelter, food, healthcare, and other social services.
The National Coalition for the Homelessness helps direct people in need to prevention or emergency assistance programs in their communities.