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Homeless America: Creative and Compassionate Responses to a Cross-Sector Challenge

Homeless man sleeping on cardboard

Event Details

Tuesday, March 26, 2024 
11:30 AM PST

California Market Center Rooftop
Los Angeles, CA


For more information about this event, please email sppevents@pepperdine.edu, or call 310.506.7490

Before COVID struck the United States in early 2020, California governor, Gavin Newsom, gave his annual “State of the State Address”, which was focused on addressing the burgeoning homelessness crisis in the state. As the impact of the virus has receded, the issue of homelessness has returned to center stage. A recent survey of Californians by the Public Policy Institute of California found that a full 89% of those questioned view homelessness as either a “Big Problem” or “Somewhat of a Problem”. 

The issue of homelessness draws so many policy domains from housing to mental health services and public safety. It’s also a true “cross sector” challenge, requiring engagement by the government, nonprofit, and business sectors. Through an afternoon of panels and keynotes, we’ll explore how the public sector and nonprofit leaders are taking a variety of approaches to respond to this crisis.



  • 11:30 AM - 11:45 AM: Conference Check-in (Lobby, Building A)
  • 12:00 PM: Opening Remarks (Rooftop)
  • 12:15 PM– 1:25 PM: Lunch Keynote: Stephen Eide, Manhattan Institute, Author, Homelessness in America: The History and Tragedy of an Intractable Social Problem
  • 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Panel 1: Homelessness: The Role for Government
  • 2:30 PM – 2:45 PM: Break
  • 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM: Keynote: Michele Steeb, Author, Behind the Red Door
  • 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM: Panel 2: The Role of Nonprofits
  • 4:30 PM - 5:15 PM: Reflections on the Day: A Keynote Conversation: Dr. Robert Marbut, Professor at Northwest Vista College
  • 5:15 PM – 6:30 PM: Reception (Rooftop, Patio) 


Keynote Speakers

  Stephen Eide

Stephen EideStephen Eide is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal. He researches social policy questions such as homelessness and mental illness. He is the author of the book Homelessness in America: The History and Tragedy of an Intractable Social Problem, which was published in June 2022 by Rowman & Littlefield. He was previously a senior research associate at the Worcester Regional Research Bureau and holds a B.A. from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Boston College.

  Robert Marbut

Robert Marbut HeadshotRobert Marbut has worked on issues of homelessness for more than three decades: first as a volunteer, then as chief of staff to San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, next as a White House fellow to President H.W. Bush (41, the Father), as a San Antonio City councilperson/ mayor-pro-tem, and as the founding president & CEO of Haven for Hope for five years (the most comprehensive homeless transformational center in the USA).  He has also worked in 3 different US presidential administrations, including serving as the executive director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, often called the “Federal Homelessness Czar.” 

In 2007, frustrated by the lack of real improvement in reducing homelessness, and as part of the concept development phase for the Haven for Hope Campus, Marbut conducted a nationwide best practices study.  After personally visiting 237 homeless service facilities in 12 states and the District of Columbia, he developed "The Seven Guiding Principles of Homeless Transformation," which focuses on root causes and recovery, not symptoms nor short-term gimmicks.  These "Seven Guiding Principles of Transformation" are used in all aspects of his work to create holistically transformative environments to reduce homelessness.  

Since his national best practices study, Marbut has visited a total of 1,412 operations and has worked in all 50 states, plus Washington, DC, and Mexico.  He has helped hundreds of communities and agencies to dramatically reduce homelessness.  Marbut has consulted on issues of homelessness with more communities and organizations than anyone else in the USA.  He is the executive producer of the No Address movie starring Billy Baldwin, Beverly D’Angelo, Xander Berkeley, and Ashanti, the senior executive producer of Americans with No Address documentary, and Author of the No Address Inactive Study Guide. 

He earned a PhD from The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas in international relations (with an emphasis in international terrorism and Wahhabism), political behavior, and American political institutions/processes from the Department of Government.  

He also has two Master of Arts degrees, one in government from the University of Texas at Austin and one in criminal justice from the Claremont Graduate University (affiliated with the Peter Drucker School).  His Bachelor of Arts is a full triple major in economics, political science, and psychology (Honors Graduate) from Claremont McKenna (Men's) College.  He also earned an aviation technology level 1 certificate from Palo Alto College.  

Marbut also has completed three post-graduate fellowships, one as a White House fellow (USA's most prestigious program for leadership and public service), one as a CORO fellow of Public and Urban Affairs in Los Angeles, and one as a TEACH fellow in the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Qatar (1 of 13 USA educators selected).  He was also a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Joint Civilian Orientation Conference 2000 class (JCOC-63) which is DOD’s premier civic leadership program and focused on special operations.

  Michele Steeb

Michele Steeb HeadshotFor more than 12 years, Michele Steeb served as executive director of Saint John’s Program for Real Change, transforming what was once an ordinary 30-day emergency shelter into a robust, comprehensive, 18-month program supporting homeless women and children in their battle to overcome the very root of the ongoing cycle of poverty. She worked tirelessly to incorporate, not just a roof over their heads, but mental health services, educational assistance, and extensive hands-on employment training in an effort to bring about real and lasting change.

In 2012, Steeb was appointed by California governor Jerry Brown to serve on the Board of California’s Prison Industry Authority. Her passion for helping those trying to gain a solid foothold and re-enter society quickly led her down a broader path, becoming an outspoken voice in the face of the growing crisis of poverty and homelessness in California. Serving on the Policy Board to End Homelessness, she led the effort launching numerous programs such as Sacramento Steps Forward and the Stepping Stone Task Force.

For her undying commitment and exemplary work, she has been honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Difference Maker Award, recognized as a Regional Social Equity Leader, Women Who Mean Business Award, Non-Profit Visionary of the Year Award, Sacramento’s People of the Year Award, and the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Al Geiger Memorial Award. In 2013, congresswoman Matsui presented Steeb with the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Allied Professional Award for her work as a victim’s advocate. She was also named one of the Top Execs of 2013 by Sacramento Business Journal. In 2014, she was named Woman of the Year by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson for District 7she was named one of the Top Execs of 2013 (Sacramento Business Journal), and in 2014 was named Woman of the Year by assemblyman Roger Dickinson for District 7. In 2015, she received the Women Helping Women Award from Soroptimist International, and in 2016 was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from APSEA’s Navigating Leadership Program. She is the recipient of the prestigious Santa Clara University Ignatian Award and most recently was recognized with the 2019 Community Service award from the American Society for Public Administration.


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