A homeless postal worker and a 3-year-old who spent last winter living in a tent with his parents are among the people Anderson Cooper meets as he examines the dramatic rise in the number of “unsheltered” Americans in Seattle and other cities. Cooper’s report will appear on the next edition of 60 MINUTES, Sunday Dec. 1 (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network.
“Unsheltered” is a term used to refer to homeless people who do not have a spot in a homeless shelter. They often sleep on the streets or in parks, in tent encampments or in vehicles. Over the past three years, there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of unsheltered people in Seattle and other cities on the West Coast.
Emilee Broll has been delivering mail in Seattle for the U.S. Postal Service for nearly five years. For more than two years, she’s been living in a rickety old RV parked by the side of a road, which meets the federal definition of unsheltered homelessness. She told Anderson Cooper she decided to live in a 42-year-old Dodge Commander “because rent is obscene here. I can’t afford it. I just think I’m working my butt off. And I don’t want to just spend all of my money paycheck to paycheck just to survive.”
For the past year and a half, Josiah and Tricia Wood have lived with their three-year-old son Ethan in a tent encampment known as Tent City Three. Ethan has an enlarged heart and suffers from bouts of asthma and severe croup. Last winter, one of Seattle’s coldest in recent memory, he was sleeping in a tent, sandwiched between his parents for warmth. Tricia and Josiah tell Anderson Cooper they are both in recovery from drug addiction and have been clean for nearly two years. Josiah works full-time, but they say it’s been hard to save up enough money to get into an apartment and to find a landlord willing to take a chance on them.
“We will be out of here by winter,” Josiah says. “I’m not going to allow my family to suffer again in the winter.”
Cooper discusses the causes of the problem and possible solutions with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, former city council candidate Ari Hoffman, professor Dennis Culhane of the University of Pennsylvania, and Jeff Gold, a college graduate who’s been homeless for nearly six years.
The homeless population in the Seattle/King County area went down by eight percent this year, according to government figures, yet an estimated 5,000 people remain without shelter as winter approaches in one of the wealthiest metropolitan areas in the country.
YOUTUBE – Wildly successful but often lit up by controversy, the video sharing site has its pros and cons. Lesley Stahl talks to its CEO about its policies. Shachar Bar-On is the producer.
UNSHELTERED – Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in America and one where the homeless crisis is among the most visible. Anderson Cooper goes there to report on how one city is dealing with what has become a national problem. Andy Court and Evie Salomon are the producers.
BUILT BY ANGELS – Ethiopian pilgrims have been trekking to this mysterious holy site for centuries to visit its rock-hewn churches carved out of the African plateau. Scott Pelley made the trip in time for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas vigil and tells this remarkable story. Nicole Young is the producer.
“60 MINUTES” PRESENTS: GREAT ADVENTURES
SUNDAY DEC. 1
8:30-9:30 PM ET/8:00-9:00PM, PT
ULTRA DEEP – South African miners are going ever deeper to find gold, digging some of the deepest mines in the world. Bill Whitaker descends nearly two miles for this story about extracting gold, and some of the deepest-living organisms on Earth. Heather Abbott is the producer.
FLY LIKE AN EAGLE – Scott Pelley goes to the steppes of Mongolia to profile falconer Lauren McGough, an American who has mastered the ancient art of hunting with eagles. Nicole Young and Katie Kerbstat are the producers.
EASTER ISLAND – Anderson Cooper goes to Easter Island, where the famous stone statues called moai are fading away under the elements. Keith Sharman is the producer.
These three previously broadcast segments have been updated for Sunday’s special edition.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church says the churches were made by angels. But no one knows exactly who made them or why. The 11 churches rose out of a plateau in Ethiopia 800 years ago. They were excavated – meticulously carved out of one huge piece of rock – by people called the Zagwe around 1,200 AD. The King of the Zagwe, Lalibela, from whom the site gets its name, is said to have ordered its construction to replace Jerusalem after the city was conquered by Islam. And pilgrims today continue to make their way there on foot for Christmas as they have for centuries. All of which makes for a fascinating and fitting 60 MINUTES report for the holiday season. Scott Pelley made the trip in time for the Christmas vigil and tells the story Sunday, Dec. 1 (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Fasil Giorghis, an Ethiopian architect and historian, knows the stories and the churches as well as anyone. He tells Pelley the legend of King Lalibela, who is supposed to have traveled 1,600 miles to Jerusalem. “And [Lalibela] came back with an ambitious idea, a vision of creating an African Jerusalem, a black Jerusalem here in the highlands of Ethiopia.”
60 MINUTES cameras capture the spectacle of nearly 200,000 Christians massing on the 62-acre site, many holding candles, on Christmas Eve. “This is considered to be a holy place,” says Giorghis. “Coming here as a devout Christian is a very strong sign of their belief…some people travel hundreds of kilometers here on foot and they have been doing it for several centuries,” he tells Pelley.