Tom Brokaw warns right away that tonight's NBC News special about the homeless is a program about "despair and humiliation and anger," and he keeps his promise (Channels 4, 36 and 39 at 10 p.m.).
"The Homeless" is a depressing one-hour tour of a grimly familiar national nightmare led by Brokaw and co-reporter Lucky Severson, who introduce various street people whose problems all appear unsolvable.
Some are de-institutionalized mental patients who obviously are too ill to be on their own but have nowhere to go but the streets because there aren't enough halfway houses or shelters. We meet social workers and homeless advocates who try to help them.
We see barely teen-age runaways or "throwaways" who live in groups in abandoned houses and support themselves by begging and prostitution. And we meet street-living Vietnam veterans still crippled psychologically by their war experiences and Iowa families who've lost their farm homes.