‘Nomadland’ author to speak at Ventura County homelessness event

The award-winning author of “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” will be the guest speaker at a virtual homelessness symposium in Ventura County on Friday.

The event is the second annual conference hosted by United Way of Ventura County for its homeless initiative.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the shelter crisis,” said Mitchel Sloan, the nonprofit’s vice president of resource development, of the United to End Homelessness initiative.

“We’re so thrilled to have Jessica Bruder,” Sloan added, referring to the author whose bestselling book was made into a 2020 film. The film won three Oscars, including Best Picture and an Oscar for director Chloé Zhao, a resident of Ojai.

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On Friday morning, Bruder will kick off the three-hour event with a keynote followed by a Q&A. A discussion on homelessness will follow, with panelists including U.S. Representative Julia Brownley, Ventura County Executive Director Mike Powers and others.

Participants can learn more about ways to help and participate in a virtual community conversation.

“We want people to know more about how they can get involved” in the initiative’s owner engagement program, Sloan said. The program assists individuals, families, seniors, and veterans with housing vouchers and grant programs.

Since launching the initiative in December 2019, United Way has partnered with approximately 30 landlords who have housed more than 130 people across the county.

Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin will close the event by leading a community conversation where attendees can submit questions via chat.

“Two years after launching our United to End Homelessness initiative, we’ve seen firsthand the critical importance of working to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home,” said Eric Harrison, President and CEO. management of United Way, in a press release.

The symposium begins at 9 am on Friday and will continue until noon. General admission tickets are $30. A limited number of premium tickets, which include a signed copy of Bruder’s book, are available for $100.

To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.unitedtoendhomelessnessvc.org/.

Cytlalli Salgado is a breaking news reporter for the Ventura County Star. She can be reached by calling 805-437-0257 or emailing [email protected].

Lola R. McClure