Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Slide Show from Homeless for the Homeless

Check out this slide show that shows all aspects of the event.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

News story on Homeless for the Homeless

This is a package that chronicles the Homeless for the Homeless event all the way from sleeping outside to the next day's service projects.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Experience in Homeless for the Homeless

I kept a "journal" of sorts while I participated in the program "Homeless for the Homeless". I wrote short entries every so often and filmed a few video dialogs. Click on the Video screen to see my thoughts at the time. Hopefully this will give you a more personal look into the experience.

7 pm- I'm running a little behind in getting ready. We're supposed to be there in half an hour, but that's not going to happen. I'm kind of worried about dressing warm enough. All my warm clothes are still at home, not at school. I'm layering up and hoping for the best.

8:15 pm- Finally got here! It's getting a little chilly, but not too bad so far. I heard it's supposed to get pretty cold tonight. Me and my roommate are going ot register.

8:30 pm- I finished registering and getting signed in. Once you signed in, they directed you to a table where you picked up a bag with tommorrow's community service assignment. I'm supposed to be working at the Salvation Army thrift store. Then you went to another table and picked up one of those stretchy rubber band bracelets (you know, the kind Lance Armstrong started the whole fad with?) that say "Light the Way" and write the name of the homeless person we're representing. I'm representing "Harold." I think we're going to find out their story later.

Video Diary 1:

9:30 pm- I've settled in with my friends. We've got a whole group together over near some bushes. There really are a lot of people here today. It's something like 600 or 700 people. It looks like a ton. I can't imagine how many people 1,753 would look like. It seems like a small number in comparison to the whole scope of the world, but when you see all of the people grouped together at one time, it looks like a lot more. It makes you see how many people really are homeless.

We also just got done seeing a video that told different people's stories. Some of them really are touching. All the different groups we're in represent the different types of homeless people: veterans, runaways, parents, children, abused, addicted, etc. Honestly, it's hard for me to feel bad for the people who are drug addicted and choose to use drugs instead of buy food or save up for some sort of housing occasionally. What really gets me are the people who tried to keep jobs, who still are tyring to keep jobs, but never have enough to make mends meet. They don't have family who can help them out. They have children to support that they can't feed. Those are the people whose stories are really touching. One guy said he tried to stay clean because he was more likely to get and keep a job, but that people still knew he was homeless. It's just sad. He really is trying. It's people like this who deserve help. The videos just help remind you that not all the homeless people on the street are addicts.

11:00 pm- You can defined feel it getting colder. I've only got one more layer that I can put on. Luckily, my roommates boyfriend gave us some of those "Hot Hands" that hunters use to keep their hands and feet warm. I think I'm going to use them right before I go to sleep. They put on "In Pursuit of Happyness". I've seen it before, and I feel like while it's very uplifting, it's also so very sad that man who's trying so hard to provide for his child really can't get a break. A few bad business decisions and that was it. I wonder how the homeless beat the boredom. I mean, how could you just be outside all day, every day and not just be bored out of your mind? I think I'd go into the library and read books without checking them out. That is, if they'd let me in.

Video Diary Two:

1:00 am- I'm about to go to bed. I've put on the final layer. I am now currently wearing: a tank top, t shirt, sweater, north face fleece, hoodie, jeans, two pairs of socks, and a scarf. I'm also sleeping in a sleeping bag, two blankets, and I put the Hot Hands in the bottom of the sleeping bag to keep my feet warm. Really starting to be amazed that the homeless can do this every night. How can they do this without all of this? They can't have as many layers as I do. Plus, I'm going to have a night of, hopefully, uninterrupted sleep.

Video Diary Three:

4:00 am- Wow. I'm pretty cold. I don't think my hot hands are working. I came into tonight already having a pretty big cold. I bet this is going to make it worse. I'm not going to lie, I took some nyquil before I went to bed. I thought it would help knock me out, not matter how cold I got, but obviously not. I'm going to try to go back to sleep.

5:00 am- Second time I've woken up. Definitely shivering a little bit. I pulled my pillow into my sleeping bag and getting all the way down into it so none of me is sticking out. I could see my breath in the air. Hopefully this will help keep all my warmth in. Plus, there's a huge bump in the ground under my left shoulder and moving down moves me off the bump. Trying going back to sleep.

6:00 am- Third time I've woken up. Guess that nyquil didn't help much. But then again, maybe everyone else is waking up this much too.

6:30 am- It sounds like two men are singing very loudly. Sounds like some song about Jesus. I wonder if this is our wake up call. Either way, it's 6:30 and we have to be up at like 7 or 7:30 for breakfast, so I might as well get up.

7:15 am- Once I peeked out of my sleeping bag, I saw that other people were stirring too. I quickly put my shoes back on, and start to clean up my space. I am convinced those hot hands weren't working correctly. I am amazed at how the homeless do it every night. I had so many layers and I was still shivering during the night. From what I can tell from talking to other people, I got more sleep than most. Maybe those nyquill did work! There's more than one story of people who only got maybe 2 hours of sleep because they were so cold. Some people gave up and went inside the salvation army, but none of my friends did. I think we all really wanted to tough it out.

Tonight was a real eye opening experience. I could never do this all day every day. I had so many layers, a clean bathroom, and a hot breakfast in the morning. I had a movie to watch and friends to talk to. I get bored so easily as it is, I can't imagine having to entertain myself every day all day. This is all for my journal, I'm off to go do community service. I think this was a great experience, and I hope they do it next year so more people can have this eye opening night out in the cold.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Why Homelessness is an Issue

People talk about why homelessness is an issue in Columbia.

Amos Disasa- Chairperson of Midlands Interfaith Homelessness Council

Alison- USC Student

Lee Cunningham- Leadership Team Midtown Fellowship

Friday, November 30, 2007

Articles about Efforts to Stop Homelessness

Here are some recent articles from different local publications about efforts being done to feed, provide housing, or provide general help to the homeless in the area:

The State: Richland 2 Service Blitz
The State: Interfaith dinner ‘Everything falls into place’
The State: Harpist kicking off homelessness tour
The State:Help for the homeless A night in their shoes (An article done about Homeless for the Homeless before the event occurred)
The State: 600 live like the homeless (An article done about Homeless for the Homeless after the event occurred)
Free Times: City Building Shelters to House the Homeless

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Staying Outside

Click to hear these people's thoughts and experiences while sleeping outside.

Kaitlin talks about why she chose to stay outside.

Ward talks about what kept him warm.

Ryan talks about the experience of sleeping outside.