I visited a local agency for help on my homeless journey. Every church in the area at least mentioned it, most of them saying they support it and that’s where I must go for any help.
This is another journal entry. I am using the name of the agency, as you would be able to guess it. They are doing good things there, and like all other agencies, they’re under-resourced.
A trip to the food pantry
I feel the need to go someplace familiar. I think I’ll go to the library next. Or better yet, I’ll go to Frisco Family Services. I’m not expecting much, but I need to see what all the hype is about. When everyone in town is sending you to the same place, is there really any choice? I need to eat for two weeks, and this is looking like my only option, besides dumpster diving. I am reluctant to go, as I know they’ll have lots of paperwork and that makes pretending a lot more difficult. I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Pretending to be homeless is stressful. I can’t image how awful homelessness really is. I took a deep breath and walked inside. Continue reading →
I wrote so much on my homeless journey, but even with the 100+ handwritten pages, I feel like I just scratched the surface of simply understanding the difficulties of it. I don’t have a clue what it’s like to really be homeless, yet learned enough to know it’s horrific.
Every homeless person I’ve met or talked to has a different story, yet most of our working class sees homelessness as a place they’ll never be. ‘Those people’ have addictions, they’re lazy or have some other type of dysfunction. No matter what their situation, they’re prejudged by many as being a drain on our society.
When asking for assistance, I never said I was homeless because (a) I didn’t know what would happen and (b) it’s somewhat embarrassing. In suburbia, to look homeless is to not look homeless. I looked and dressed like I always do, yet I didn’t have access to the same hygiene routines. Continue reading →
Here’s a journal entry about depending on the kindness of strangers from a homeless perspective. I visited 20+ churches, asking for assistance with food and gas money. This journal entry details my first three church visits, encompassing the best and worst experiences.
Please understand where I’m coming from with this. As a Christian, I believe we should help people when we can and never pass up an opportunity that’s in front of us. I’m not trying to reveal the good, bad and ugly of churches, however I am trying to shed some light on procedural opportunities and how our practices are perceived by people in need. How can we help if we don’t have the big picture, or all of the picture?
Depending on the kindness of strangers [journal entry]
My first stop was to a large mega-church. Even posing as a homeless person, there is not a single part of my being that wants to go inside and ask for help. Did I even bring a shirt to change into? I can’t go in with this one, as it has a large coffee stain on the front. I found another shirt in my car and quickly changed into it. (Yes, in my car) I sat there for a while longer, getting really hot. I’m stalling. This is so uncomfortable. “Open the door,” I keep saying to myself, over and over. Finally, I did. Continue reading →
Another journal entry from day one of studying homelessness. That is what I was doing, I guess. There’s no good politically correct name for it. If I call it a project, that seems to distance me from anything I feel or learn. An experiment would make it sound like I’m joining a pack of lab rats. Posing as a homeless person for 2 weeks will never give me an understanding of what it’s like, as I’m not and I have an exit date. I’m glad I did though.
What am I doing here?
Again, this is not feeling right. I can’t quite pinpoint why. Maybe I shouldn’t have told anyone what I was would be doing. I have now placed these expectations on myself through this process. Can I really make people rethink homelessness? Why not focus on the things I know or things I can do differently, like change my shopping habits or downsizing my material possessions? What if God didn’t really call me to do this? I could have made it up. I make up stuff all the time. This whole thing feels uncomfortable. Not from the standpoint of being homeless, but from the fact I’m faking it. I didn’t expect this feeling. I guess homeless people should be offended at what I’m doing. I don’t know, maybe I’m just too close to it right now to be objective. Is this much different from the guys that did this in the book Under The Overpass? Continue reading →
My rent payment is $286. My utilities are $190 this month. I don’t own a phone, I don’t have a job and I have a baby to take care of. My name is Iris Isaacson… but only in this temporary make-believe world. This world I’m speaking of is a poverty simulation, a game to teach people what it’s like to live in poverty.
I participated in this event last night. At first, I thought it seemed like a lot of work and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there. In the middle of it, I was thinking, “…what a chaotic game…”, but also realizing much of it was like real life. At the end of it, I was worn out. I couldn’t pay my bills, the ones I did pay were late, I had to pawn my jewelry, sold my camera, and after all the hardships and paying everything late, I got evicted anyway. Here’s a description of the simulation.
The Poverty Simulation is a simulation experience developed by the Missouri Association for Community Action. During the simulation, participants pretend to be members of a low-income community attempting to survive four 15-minute weeks of poverty. The simulation relies on role playing techniques and extensive props to help participants understand the day to day challenges faced by families living in poverty. Continue reading →