Lloyd Pendleton, a former Bridges Out of Poverty certified trainer, gave a talk at TEDMED earlier this month. In his presentation, Pendleton detailed his journey from failing to understand homelessness to reducing homelessness in Utah by 91%.

From Christina Farr’s original article at Fastcompany.com:

Lloyd Pendleton grew up on a ranch in rural Utah, an upbringing that taught him values like rugged individualism and self-reliance. When Pendleton saw a homeless person on the street during visits to Salt Lake City, he recalled wondering why they didn’t just get a job.

This kind of thinking is so prevalent in the United States, a country with more than 500,000 homeless people, a quarter of them children, that it was once named the most pervasive myth about homelessness. Pendleton’s thinking didn’t budge until later in life.

After a stint at Ford Motors, he got a job with the Mormon church, where he was offered the opportunity to help out with the state’s largest center for homelessness. He eventually became the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force. “I became aware of this new approach called the ‘harm reduction model,’” Pendleton told the audience at TEDMED in Palm Springs, CA, last week. “They were passing out clean needles and condoms, which I initially thought was a stupid idea.”

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