KEVIN ADLER at Books Inc. Berkeley

Books Inc. Berkeley proudly hosts an important event for anyone who cares about homelessness and housing solutions, with Kevin Adler author of When We Walk By.

Kevin Adler will be in conversation with San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan.

How to end homelessness in America: a must-read guide to understanding housing instability, supporting our unhoused neighbors, and reclaiming our humanity.

A deeply humanizing analysis that will change the way you think about poverty and homelessness--for the socially engaged reader of Isabel Wilkerson's Caste and Matthew Desmond's Evicted.

Think about the last time that you saw or interacted with an unhoused person. What did you do? What did you say? Did you offer money or a smile, or did you avert your gaze?

When We Walk By takes an urgent look at homelessness in America, showing us what we lose--in ourselves and as a society--when we choose to walk past and ignore our neighbors in shelters, insecure housing, or on the streets. And it brilliantly shows what we stand to gain when we embrace our humanity and move toward evidence-based people-first, community-driven solutions, offering social analysis, economic and political histories, and the real stories of unhoused people.

Authors Kevin F. Adler and Donald W. Burnes, with Amanda Banh and Andrijana Bilbija, recast chronic homelessness in the U.S. as a byproduct of twin crises: our social services systems are failing, and so is our humanity. Readers will learn:

  • Why our brains have been trained to overlook our unhoused neighbors
  • The social, economic, and political forces that shape myths like "all homeless people are addicts" and "they'd have a house if they got a job"
  • What conservative economics gets wrong about housing insecurity
  • What relational poverty is, and how to shift away from "us versus them" thinking
  • That for many Americans, housing insecurity is just one missed paycheck away
  • Who "the homeless" really are--and why that might surprise you
  • What you can do to help, starting today

A necessary, deeply humanizing read that goes beyond theory and policy analysis to offer engaged solutions with compassion and heart, 


"A compelling story of rediscovering our own humanity--and a roadmap on how we can make large-scale changes that improve everyone's way of life. Read this book to understand how being connected can save us all."
--Andrew Yang, entrepreneur and former 2020 presidential candidate

"[C]aptivating... People experiencing homelessness are humans like you and me, deserving of the same respect and dignity.... [A] must read!"
--Ellen Bassuk, MD, Founder of C4 Innovations and the National Center on Family Homelessness and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

When We Walk By reminds us of our shared humanity, our shared needs, and how we should promote a political economy of sharing, especially with our neighbors who have little or nothing. Read this, heed the call. No more just walking by!"
--Dennis Culhane, Dana and Andrew Stone Professor of Social Policy, School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania

"[A] masterclass in meeting folks where they are, listening first, and designing and delivering services informed by the experiences of our unhoused neighbors."
--Dr. Michael K. Hole, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Population Health, and Public Policy at Dell Medical School and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

"In a book that explores our national failures and points to common-sense fixes, the authors challenge us to see the humanity of our neighbors, and care more deeply...[it] should guide policy makers, and quickly, as they seek a cure to what ails our nation."
--Tony Messenger, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author of Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Justice

"Highly moving and profoundly enlightening."
--Dr. Gloria Duffy, President, The Commonwealth Club of California

"[E]ssential... Heart-opening..."
--Justin Baldoni, Actor and Filmmaker

"[Adler and Burnes] illuminate a system broken beyond repair and provide the hope that is required for all of us to shift gears, from the ground up, to solve one of the most distressing problems of our times....if only we cared. A remarkable read."
--Heather Hay, Senior Consultant, Foundations for Social Change, creator of the New Leaf Project

"[S]ocial connection is a key element of human survival that often gets overlooked day to day. This book offers a fresh, integrated perspective about the importance of a human response to a complex social problem."
--Benjamin Henwood, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

"A must-read guide for navigating and fixing the broken status quo of homelessness in America...readers of this book will no longer 'walk by' feeling helpless."
--Michael D. Tubbs, Mayor of Stockton, California, and special advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom for Economic Mobility

"The authors brilliantly examine our inequitable systems through the lens of healing our humanity and solving the problem at its root. A must read for us all!"
--Tristia Bauman, Senior Attorney, The National Homelessness Law Center


KEVIN F. ADLER is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Miracle Messages. He holds a Masters in Sociology from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelors in Politics from Occidental College. In his work on homelessness, he has pioneered the concept of "relational poverty" as an overlooked form of poverty severely affecting unhoused individuals. He previously authored Natural Disasters as a Catalyst for Social Capital.

KEVIN FAGAN is a longtime, award-winning reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle, specializing in homelessness, enterprise news-feature writing, breaking news and crime. He has ridden with the rails with modern-day hobos, witnessed seven prison executions, written extensively about serial killers including the Unabomber, Doodler and Zodiac, and covered disasters ranging from the Sept. 11 terror attacks at Ground Zero to California’s devastating wildfires. Homelessness remains a core focus of his, close to his heart as a journalist who cares passionately about the human condition.

Event date: 
Friday, November 17, 2023 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Books Inc. Berkeley
1491 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
When We Walk By: Forgotten Humanity, Broken Systems, and the Role We Can Each Play in Ending Homelessness in America By Kevin F. Adler, Donald W. Burnes, Amanda Banh (With), Andrijana Bilbija (With) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781623178840
Availability: In Stock Now - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Please allow up to 48-hours for Curbside Pickup orders to be processed.
Published: North Atlantic Books - November 7th, 2023