When we launched The Homeless Project on July 28, we didn’t know what to expect: indifference, success, anger, solidarity, happiness. We simply knew, both from our own observation and other people’s reports, that homelessness is a serious problem that’s maybe a little too easy to overlook or ignore. It’s easy to pass by a homeless person on the street and casually dismiss him or her with the thought “they must have made some serious mistakes” or, simply, “not my problem.”
We prefer to believe that life is a little bit more complicated than that; we all make mistakes, but everyone deserves a safe place to sleep, and what befalls another human being affects us all. So, we committed to telling their stories with the hope that someone would connect with them and reach out with an offer of shelter, food, a job, or even advice. And, for many of the people we’ve profiled, that’s exactly what has happened. Some of them have found jobs, others have a place to sleep at night, and some now have both. Others are still searching for these basic amenities, and hoping someone more fortunate will intercede on their behalf.
But, in order for The Homeless Project to succeed, we need more than offers of shelter or food. We need homeless people to step forward and tell their stories. We can’t make a connection between the haves and the have-nots without the benefit of knowing who they are. So, if you have a story to tell, if you’re in need, come to the New Times office at 1010 Marsh St. in downtown SLO on Thursday mornings between 11 a.m. and noon. Messages concerning this project can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.