National advocate for homeless to speak at KU

The leader of a national organization working with the homeless and poor will speak at the University of Kansas, including a public talk 7 p.m., Oct. 3, the university said in a written statement.

Karen Olson, founder and president of Family Promise, will speak in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union. The talk is free and open to the public.

Olson was a marketing executive for consumer products until a 1981 encounter with a homeless woman inspired her to create the Interfaith Hospitality Network, which became Family Promise, the university statement said.

Family Promise is a network of volunteers and religious congregations in 41 states who help families get out of poverty and homelessness. They provide shelter, meals, housing, life skills counseling and job placement support to more than 49,000 homeless family members annually, most of whom are children, the university statement said.