Voices of Homelessness: A Testimonial Project

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (2015), 564,708 people are homeless on a single given night in the United States. Though this issue effects over half a million people, our society has built a stereotype that all people experiencing homelessness are drug addicts, alcoholics, or criminals. Because of these stereotypes, we have begun to fear people experiencing homelessness and isolate them from our community. We walk right by them, trying to ignore their presence, ultimately, making them invisible and silencing their voices. We remove the diversity and individual experience of each person experiencing homelessness and replace it with the view of what we assume their experiences are.

Because people experiencing homelessness are often not given the opportunity to voice their experiences for themselves, Voices of Homelessness provides an avenue for individuals to share their personal experiences with the community. The purpose of this project is to dispel the myths that our society has created about what it means to be homeless and those that experience it. By providing a space for individuals and families experiencing homelessness to tell their individual story, this project will show that our homeless neighbors come to homelessness from a variety of different backgrounds and for a number of reasons. The project will work to give back the voice of people who have been made invisible and powerless in our community in hopes of bringing awareness to the misconceptions and stereotypes about people experiencing homelessness.

Voices of Homelessness is a project inspired by other oral history projects that have been completed across the country, such as Not the Other:Oral Histories of People Experiencing Homelessness and Minnesota’s Oral History of Homelessness Project.

***If you have a story that you would like to share and would be interested in participating in our Testimonials Project please contact Reba Gagne at gagne@gwregion.org or Samantha Shoukas at shoukas@gwregion.org to set up a time to share your story. ****

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