Culture Watch: Jewel Challenges Listeners to Re-think Public Housing

Jewel sings "Home to Me," a song she wrote to raise awareness about the need for public housing. Image from <a href="" target="_blank">ReThink's Facebook page</a>.
Jewel sings "Home to Me," a song she wrote to raise awareness about the need for public housing. Image from ReThink's Facebook page.

Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Coordinator

Jewel, the singer/songwriter who first entered the spotlight in 1995 with her hit single “Who Will Save Your Soul,” recently released a song to support the ReThink public housing initiative. Give it a listen:

“Home to Me” supports ReThink’s campaign to change perceptions about public housing. Jewel’s dedication to this cause is rooted in her personal experience, the Associated Press reports:

Jewel could have used public housing help when she became homeless at 18. She said her boss at the time withheld her check when she refused to sleep with him. She couldn’t pay her rent and lived in her car until it was stolen.

“It was just a very vicious poverty cycle,” she said.

Jewel and ReThink turned to crowdsourcing to create “Home to Me.” Earlier this year, they launched a contest inviting fans to share thoughts on “what home means.” Poems and essays from contest finalists inspired the song’s lyrics.

In an interview with The Boot, Jewel said that she was moved by submissions from single moms who have lived in cars with their children. She hopes their combined efforts will help people understand the need for public housing:

“Really just that people re-think,” she says is the goal. “That they maybe look around and go, ‘Where is public housing trying to get up? Who’s blocking it? How do I feel about it?’

“We need public support. When these things come up for vote in our communities, we need people that are supporting and saying, ‘I’m willing to let this happen in my community.’”

Last year, Jewel appeared in a ReThink PSA, challenging viewers to think about how public housing helps their communities:

What do you think of “Home to Me”? Do you know other songs that address homelessness or the idea of home? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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