Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon thinks former President Ronald Reagan is to blame for America’s reluctance to discuss the issue of homelessness.
In an appearance on Tavis Smiley’s PBS talk show to promote her son Jack’s new AMC documentary Storied Streets, Sarandon said that the national “conversation” about homelessness “changed around the Reagan era, where everything was your fault.”
And then I think as the economy got tougher for so many people it’s understandable – it’s the same thing that happens with immigrants. You know, you are trying to hold on to your house. People – there are so many people in this country that are one paycheck away of being on the street, and if they can’t couch surf long enough, they are homeless.
So when you have so many people working so hard. Two jobs per family, three jobs per family, they don’t want to think that that’s them. And there is also compassion fatigue. So people see it and it doesn’t get solved, and they just don’t want to see it any more. And everyone is fighting so hard. And I think it’s been a number of things that have happened, that have made us not want to deal with this issue. But hopefully what Jack’s film does is it humanizes the issue and it puts a face on that. It shows you the hidden homeless and it shows you how many different ways you can end up on the street and how difficult it is to get a job once you’re on the street and you don’t have an address and you don’t have a phone number.
Sarandon won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in Tim Robbins’ 1995 crime drama Dead Man Walking. The actress is well-known for her liberal activism; last month, Sarandon joined other celebrities in a call to boycott the state of Indiana over Gov. Mike Pence’s signing of the state’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.
Watch the clip of Sarandon’s comments on the Tavis Smiley Show above.