When Sleep Deprivation Compounds The Struggle Of Being Unhoused
Illustration by Olivia Schanzer

When Sleep Deprivation Compounds the Struggle of Being Unhoused

Lori Yearwood had never thought much about sleep, until she found it almost impossible to catch a wink. After a series of tragedies in her life, including losing her home in a fire, Lori was suddenly catapulted into homelessness. The shelters Lori found herself in were a nightmare, and the streets were hardly better—for two years, Lori struggled to get through each day without ever getting a full night’s sleep. The trauma of homelessness was compounded by the trauma of involuntary sleeplessness.

On this first episode of Going for Broke with Ray Suarez, the new podcast from The Economic Hardship Reporting Project and The Nation, Lori talks about the soul-deadening effects of sleep deprivation, and the solutions she wants to see to make sure no one goes through the same experiences as her. That’s what Going for Broke is all about, hearing directly from the people who know about hardship the best: those who have lived through it. Each of the six episodes in this first season will give a platform to one person who has faced the prospect of losing their home, or their job, or their sense of meaning, and will offer lessons on how we make our society work for all of us.

Now that Lori is back on her feet, and finally able to get a good night’s sleep each night, she’s sharing the lessons she learned about homelessness through her reporting—she’s now the national reporter on the housing and crisis beat for the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. In the second part of the episode, we’ll also hear from Dennis Culhane, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania, about how just providing adequate, humane shelter to people experiencing homelessness can be transformative.

To be the first to hear all the episodes in this season, subscribe to Going for Broke with Ray Suarez on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes premiere each Monday.


Co-published with The Nation.

Save An Endangered Species: Journalists

Ray Suarez was a senior correspondent for “PBS NewsHour” and host of the public radio show “America Abroad.” He co-hosts the program and podcast “WorldAffairs” for KQED-FM and the World Affairs Council.

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