Robert Marbut Interview

Robert Marbut on America’s Homelessness Crisis, Strategies for Uplifting the Homeless, and Effective Government Policies

Wesley J. Smith
Robert Marbut
Audio File (92.49M)

Homelessness has reached crisis proportions. Few issues of human dignity are as heart wrenching as the wretched scenes in our most prosperous cities — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle — where one can drive down main thoroughfares and be confronted with tent encampments lining streets that provide scant shelter for thousands of destitute people.

The crisis is as multifaceted as it is seemingly intractable. What is the role of mental illness in the crisis? What about drug addiction? Is the rising cost of housing part of the problem, and if so, what can be done about it? What protections does society owe these vulnerable people based simply on their humanity and what responsibilities, if any, do they owe to greater society? It’s all such a mess, it is tempting to throw up one’s hands in despair. 

Thankfully, there are people willing to tackle the seemingly helpless cause. Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize, Robert Marbut, Jr., is one such man. Marbut is a renowned expert on homelessness and a senior fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He has a PhD in Political Behavior and American Political Institutions and his career has been marked by bipartisanship having served as Chief of Staff for San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros in the 1980s, as a White House Fellow under George H. W. Bush, and most recently as the Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2019 to 2021 under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic Committee from 1992 to 2004.

Marbut is a tenured professor of government at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, TX.