Chapter 1: Tulicia

When we think about homelessness, we often have a certain image in our mind—people pushing shopping carts, or big sprawling tent encampments.

But for the vast majority of homeless people, the experience is less visible. Many people who are unable to afford a place to live end up sleeping on a friend’s floor or inside their car.

This is what Tulicia did for years, until finally, she reached out to the system for help.

“Cars are good as studios. They’re quiet, they don’t have an echo. They are less good as homes, but many, many people in Oakland are using them that way”

The way homelessness has exploded in California over the last decade, you’d think there was no system in place to address it. But there is one – it just wasn’t designed to help everyone. According to Need is a documentary podcast in 5 chapters from 99% Invisible that asks: what are we doing to get people into housing?



According to Need was produced by Katie Mingle, with associate producer Abby Madan and managing editor Whitney Henry-Lester. Further invaluable editing from, Roman Mars, Lisa Pollak, Emmett FitzGerald, Delaney Hall, Christopher Johnson and Joe Rosenberg. Sound Engineering by Kevin Ramsay. Fact checking by Amy Gaines. Beautiful music by the beautiful Sean Real. Branding and Design by MUCHMORE. Kurt Kohlstedt was our digital director. Additional support from Sofia Klatzker, Vivian Le and Chris Berube. Special thanks to everyone who was interviewed for this series as well as Marisol Medina-Cadena, Alison DeJung, and Chelsea Miller.

According to Need is a project of 99% Invisible which is distributed by PRX.

  1. Kathleen

    How can I help
    Tulicia and her son ? I live in Canada . Although we also deal with poverty and social inequality here there is no child homelessness . Housing should be a basic human right .

  2. Rhubarbjin

    …man, this series is going to be super-depressing. Thank you for making it anyway.

  3. R M

    Is their an episode transcript or some sort of list of links to resources? Like the term for school district homelessness coordinators? I didn’t catch what it was.

    1. 99pi

      The transcript is available at the top of the text. Just click on the icon on the right-hand side of the menu bar.

  4. Brad

    I am trying to help someone that is homeless and needs help saving money. They do have an entry level job but struggle to consistently make decisions that allow them to save money for rent. For example, spending money on cosmetics, new clothing, cellphone, etc. is preventing them from making financial progress. What programs exist that teach those in poverty how to stretch the money they earn?

    Also, are there programs that help people in poverty relocate to areas with more employment and housing opportunities?

    Last, what resources are available to help those in poverty with mental health and emotional trauma? I have benefited from counseling and mental health services but the resources I used would be expensive without private insurance.

  5. Mary Dowd

    Thank you so much for this narrative of a system that is failing daily. These screening tools need to be addressed systematically. The only way that can hapoen is through public pressure. Thank you for unveiling this truly broken system

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