“Top Saratoga California Photographer” “Headshot Photographer” “San Francisco Photographer” “Best Saratoga CA Photographer” “Best Cupertino Photographer” “Saratoga Photographer”

What does Homeless Look Like? Tina Case Volunteer Photographer

June 06, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

What does "homeless" look like?   Do homeless people look different than you and me? You might think that homeless people are lumped into one big group.  That they are all derelicts, drug addicts, drunkards - or that they are helpless, penniless, uneducated, unmotivated.  But in the two months that I have been working with HousingONE.org I have learned a lot.   I have painted over my own misconceptions and learned the following:

  • Homeless people do have choices, but they often choose to be homeless rather than burden a friend or relative who is also going through a rough time of their own.
  • Homeless people look like you and me. If you did not know someone was homeless, they would look like the colleague in the cubicle next do you, or the clerk you just purchased something from, or the waiter at the restaurant where you last ate, the mailman that just delivered your bills, or your kid's teacher.  They look like you and me.
  • Homeless people are often born into conditions they had no control over.  One man we met was only 2 years old when his father was killed in a motorcycle accident. His mother went into a deep depression which forced the children into foster care.  Home after home, school after school left an indelible scar that has made it difficult to succeed.  
  • Homeless people are often extremely humble, grateful and sincere.  They are grateful for the food they eat, the roof over their head and the help that is extended to them.
  • Homeless people have dreams.  They need the guidance to help get them there.

There are indeed homeless people who fit the generalities we have formed from quick judgement.  And there are those who had a series of unfortunate events and are down on their luck. 

A few weeks ago I wouldn't give a second glance at a homeless person.  Now I see them in a new light.  This man in San Francisco was kind, smiled, and didn't mind that I took his photo.   I believe he said his name was Brent. 

IMG_2771 Recently I visited a homeless shelter.  I was there with a writer and social worker.   We were scheduled to meet two men who have been homeless off and on for over six years.  They are well groomed, articulate and well-mannered.  When the dice was rolled to determine their fate they happened to be born into a life of misfortune.  They have worked most of their adult life, have friends and family, but they became homeless because of a difficult economy, bad health and bad timing.  The goal of HousingONE.org is to get them back on their feet and whole again.  Their lives are being transformed.

It was my first time being in a homeless shelter.  There are rows of single beds and bunk beds divided by a low wall, the men's side and the women's side.

IMG_2825 The cafeteria is nice and clean, and I even had lunch with a few of the folks that were there that afternoon.

IMG_2791 A wall of lockers span one end of the room where folks can secure the few belongings they have.

IMG_2790

The photos that follow are of the two men who are slated to be housed soon.  Below, "L," is imagining what it would be like to have the "keys to success" - meaning the key to his own place.

IMG_2821 And below "S," reminded me of a school teacher,- a PE coach.   He's fit, incredibly polite and smart.  He just got his degree as a medical technician.

IMG_2847 - Copy It was an enlightening experience.  When I sat down to have lunch with "S" he said he rarely eats with anyone.  We had a great conversation.  I learned that good, well-meaning people sometimes have unfortunate circumstances.  I look forward to sharing photos when when "S" moves to his new apartment. 

signature TCP


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Family Photography

Get a free gift when you buy a bag!

What's in my favorite Thinktank Bag?

What's in my camera bag?What's in my camera bag?Where can you buy what's in my camera bag?

Thumbtack Best Pro of 2015
My work on

On Getty ImagesOn Getty Images

 

 


I've been newly minted

Art Prints
Certified Photographer for
A Little Rae of HopeA Little Rae of HopeA Little Rae of Hope
Like me on Facebook

Instagram #tinacasephotography

Do you Instagram?Follow me, I'll Follow You

.. Find me on Flickr

FlickrFind me on FlickrI'm on Flickr!

.. Interview on Housing 1000

Housing the HomelessHousing 1000Photographer for Housing 1000

Popular Blog Posts

Archive
January February March (3) April May June (1) July (2) August (1) September (1) October November December
January February March (1) April May (1) June (1) July (1) August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December