credit: Illustration by Sheila White

On #June29, Street Sense collaborated with ThinkProgress and DCist to highlight the complexities of homelessness and its solutions in our nation’s capital. This was done alongside the 80 media outlets reporting solutions to homelessness throughout the day in San Francisco. Our vendors worked on brainstorming creative ways to end homelessness at our writing and illustration workshops. Join the national conversation:


For the homeless sleeping on the street, please make it better. People are dying out here. Please don’t walk past the homeless. Talk to us. Because we are human. And if you start a conversation then you can get to know a person better, before you judge them on what you see.

My voice sends a message when I sell the paper. I love everyone in Tenleytown for your help. I am still waiting on my housing and keeping God close.

Joe Jackson


I would end or solve homeless in D.C. by giving each citizen facing homelessness a particular curiosity for a job. For example, a job in the circus, a low-rung job in a nurse’s office, or working for a senator or congressman, but not as a page.

I would not give the homeless a business or a daily grind. It is too important. It would cost the homeless person lots of money. The homeless would be a victim of circumstance.

Debora Brantley


 

Charles Davis

Church, Love and Housing | Illustration by Charles Davis

My Solution to End Homelessness
By Charles Davis

One of my major solutions to ending homelessness is prayer, spiritual and real. When I pray for things it, comes from my heart. I have been praying for things all my life and have received some of them, such as earning a job, getting through my education and having a successful relationship.

But our governments and our communities have to play a part in ending homelessness too because many homeless people need their help to get off the street. I had been homeless for more than 28 years and I depended on our governments, our communities and even some church organizations. But now I am not homeless because I joined Friendship Place. Their Welcome Center helps people like me to organize ourselves to get off the street and find better jobs.

I have been a member of that organization since the early 1990s. This past April it found me a nice one-bedroom apartment in Northeast. I really thank its members and God for that.

Praying takes time and patience. But believe me, God hears your prayers. You can’t demand them to come true, but you can always put your trust in God. He loves us and one day we will all come face-to-face with Him. I try to pray every day even when I am tired or sick. So, people, let’s hope and pray homelessness will end soon!


In this world of chaos and turmoil, it is surely a blessing to take that first breath in the morning as my eyes fly open. I feel a bit more blessed than most, for I have my own personal angel: the lovely little Lila. I believe God put her here to inspire, encourage and brighten my existence — especially since she was just growing in her mother’s womb when I first returned home to D.C. in May 2012.

She reminds me of the presence of God through the wonderment of her peaceful eyes and joyful smile.

Being in the midst of this homeless epidemic, it troubles me to see persons with multiple issues—such as cancer, HIV, obsessive compulsive disorder or arthritis—attempting to juggle them in the midst of a world where people either don’t care or are too caught up in their self-centeredness to express genuine love, respect and compassion for one another. Have you ever stopped to wonder how it might feel to deal with the obvious external challenges of homelessness and simultaneously deal with not-so-obvious challenges such as illness or stress? Take a day’s journey in the shoes of someone who does.

Think about the issues you have and what a challenge it is for you to go from day to day. Now add that you don’t know where you’re sleeping, eating or performing other natural and necessary functions for living that day. Homelessness is not a joke.

It is quite stressful not to have stable housing. Most illness derives from or is agitated by stress.

I’m blessed to have my stress-reliever in Lila. Find someone to be a blessing to.

Blessings to all.

Robert Williams


 

Illustration by Damon Smith

Wake up the people that are supposed to be helping. | Illustration by Damon Smith


 

Our goal is to conquer Homelessness wherever it is. To defeat It until It dies. To lay and wait for It until no one sleeps outside. To destroy the billion­ dollar business of miseries unknown. To give every woman, man and child a home. We will fight and kill Homelessness from the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows. The hard work may get harder, but we will never let go until Homelessness is no more. We will teach our children about the Human Rights we promise generations to come: that there will never be one Homeless person to see. Will you join us in this fight? Will you believe that Homelessness can end today?

Robert Warren


 

Housing fund. | Illustration by Salodius Hicks

Housing fund. | Illustration by Salodius Hicks


 

Homelessness has been an epidemic for many years. You can look back to ancient times, people were homeless even then.

It is sad, frustrating and emotional to see people out in the streets, hungry, dirty, looking like they haven’t had a bath in weeks. That is a very touching feeling inside to see someone in that situation. By law, they say, if your name’s not on someone‘s lease  then you are homeless. So I consider myself homeless too. I don’t look down on anyone I see on the street struggling to survive. One day I saw a man eating out of the trash can. It was a terrible and hideous moment. I walked over to the man and reached into my jacket. I gave him five dollars and said, “Buy yourself something to eat.” The thing about that situation — it made me feel good helping someone who was hungry and homeless.

If I could buy a lot of land, I’d ask the government to help me help the homeless. I would be happy to do it.

Ricardo Meriedy