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The Long, Hard Search for a Missing and Homeless Loved One

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A former workmate of Corey Abernathy's asked his parents for permission to post this on the Facebook group "Missing & Homeless." That's how a housemate of Abernathy's in San Francisco spotted it, and told him, and he called his parents after a radio silence of two years. (Courtesy of Corey Abernathy)

More than 34,000 people are homeless in the Bay Area, according to this year’s annual point-in-time count. There’s not enough housing or resources to help them all. Some have friends or family who have been searching for their loved ones to bring them home, but finding someone who is homeless is very challenging. They’re always on the move. They don’t often have access to a phone. And even after finding that person, they might not be ready to go home because there are many reasons, sometimes invisible, emotional ones, that keep people trapped in homelessness.

In this podcast episode of The Bay, we’ll hear from a woman who, through her long search for her mother, started a  Facebook group to help others search for their relatives and friends that are missing and homeless.

“Our homeless deserves a voice,” says Robin Burton who started the Missing & Homeless Facebook group page. “And the families that are related to the homeless  the mothers, and the brothers and sisters, and the cousins they deserve a voice, too. Their loved one deserves to be looked for just like anyone’s loved one that is missing.”

The group helped a Northern California family find their son who was homeless in San Francisco but not before learning that supporting him meant practicing unconditional love, patience, persistence and even letting him go.

To hear more of this story, click on the “listen” button above in this post to hear the full episode.


Interview guest: Rachael Myrow, KQED’s Acting Silicon Valley Bureau Chief

You can read Rachel’s story about the challenges of searching for missing homeless family and friends and see photos of the families featured in her story.

Subscribe to The Bay to hear more local, Bay Area stories like this one. New episodes are released Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3 a.m.  Find The Bay on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, NPR One, or via Alexa

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