Client: The Brookings Institution

After we edited their book, “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America,” Brookings scholars Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube asked us to author regular blog posts on their new website. The book and blog examine the new reality of metropolitan poverty and the fact that suburbia is now home to more poor residents than city centers.  The website points to promising models for addressing suburban poverty, stressing the importance of collaboration, and regional planning. The research has been featured in the New York Times, on PBS NewsHour, in the Los Angeles Times, and in other major media outlets.

HiredPen works miracles! They created a lively and appealing website for our group.  Through engaging twice weekly blog posts and tweets she connected our research to current urban issues providing a terrific draw to the website.  One of the best decisions I made was to hire HiredPen.”

Margaret WeirProfessor of Political Science and Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

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Student Homelessness is No Longer Just a Big City Problem

By Sarah Jackson

Fourteen-year-old Drew—who lives with his parents in a Ramada hotel in suburban Denver—is not who most of us think of when we imagine the homeless in America.

Drew, recently profiled at the American Prospect, does his schoolwork on the bed or at one of the dozen tables in the lobby where guests have breakfast in the morning.  His parents cook the family’s meals on a hotplate, and they keep their clothes stacked between the walls and the beds.  He’s lived in hotels for more than a year, since his family lost its home in the mortgage crisis.

Drew still attends middle school in suburban Denver, a region where the number of suburban poor grew by 138 percent between 2000 and 2011, compared with 61 percent growth in the city.  As in Denver, suburbs across the country are now home to more poor residents than central cities.


Increasingly, as poverty spreads to the suburbs, homelessness is spreading too.

But unlike “traditional” homelessness, this is not just single individuals living on the streets. More often than not, the new homeless are families like Drew’s.  These families live in hotels, or have moved in with friends in temporary arrangements that have turned permanent, or live in transitional housing or shelters.  Often they’ve recently lost a job, suffered an illness, or are members of the working poor who couldn’t pay that last big medical bill or property tax increase.

For children like Drew, success in school can be challenging.

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