According to Need: Prologue

Last year, Katie and her girlfriend moved into a new apartment near Berkeley in the north part of Oakland. She was thrilled to find it because it had two bedrooms with a nice big kitchen and a washer and dryer in the unit.  All this, and the place was still under $3,000 a month, which, for the area, was actually extremely reasonable. Insane, but true.

As they settled into the new place and started meeting neighbors, it didn’t take long before they realized that some were homeless. There was a guy sleeping in an old Lexus right in front of their house, and another guy who seemed to be living in the cabin of a boat parked just across the street.

So one day, Katie went to say “hi” to the boat guy…

“Far beyond my block, you can see the effects of these economic and demographic shifts. Almost as if a tidal wave of wealth has washed the poor people of the bay area out of their houses, and into the streets.”

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 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, the people at Roots clinic, and Candice Elder.

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

  1. Alison Berreman

    Heck yes! 99pi is one of my favorite podcasts, and I’m so stoked for this. I’m on shift at the homeless shelter I work at in Nevada right now, listening to podcasts in some downtime, and I went to my old go-to (99pi). Im so stoked to hear something so on point! I don’t hear nearly enough about homelessness or stories of people experiencing it (outside of my direct relationships).

  2. Chris

    Are the interviewees compensated for their time? I understand there might be ethical issues there for a journalist, especially since the story will end eventually. It must be heartbreaking though to hear all these stories and know you could help some but not everyone.

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