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Derelict Paradise: Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio

Daniel Kerr talks about his latest book Derelict Paradise at the City Club of Cleveland.

In his latest book, Derelict Paradise: Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio, Dan Kerr shows that homelessness has deep roots in the shifting ground of urban labor markets, social policy, downtown development, the criminal justice system, and corporate power. Rather than being attributable to the illnesses and inadequacies of the unhoused themselves, it is a product of both structural and political dynamics shaping the city.

Kerr is an associate professor of history at American University. Since his earliest work with the Cleveland Homeless Oral History Project (CHOHP), he has sought out ways to bring the oral histories he has collected back to the communities they originated from. The CHOHP project shaped the core themes woven throughout Derelict Paradise.

He is currently working on the Mobilizing Against Homelessness project, which seeks to document and amplify the voices, perspectives, and analysis of those experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC.

Join the City Club as Sam Allard from Axios leads a conversation with Dan Kerr on the history and modern efforts to address homelessness in Cleveland.


  • Daniel R. Kerr
    Author; and Assistant Professor of History, American University


  • Sam Allard
    Reporter, Axios