A tough part of being homeless and female, besides the more obvious struggles of staying safe and fed, is how to handle your period. Al Jazeera America highlighted just how desperate that time of the month can be for homeless women when Maribel Guillet, who lives in a Bronx shelter, told the publication that her periods are typically very heavy and last about ten days, but that she can’t access shelter restrooms as often as she needs to stay clean. Guillet often needs to change her pads every 20 minutes, but shelter supervisors often restrict how often she can use the restroom. Keep reading »
Last March, Albuquerque police engaged in a five-hour standoff with James Boyd, a schizophrenic homeless man who was camping out in a restricted area in the foothills after city shelters were closed.
Towards the end of the conflict, when Boyd had given up and was about to grab his things and move along, the police threw a flash grenade at him, and went charging at him with a dog. Startled, Boyd grabbed a knife in self-defense, and was immediately shot down dead by the officers. The whole thing was caught on on a helmet camera–but fair warning, it is incredibly disturbing. Keep reading »
Ryan Arcand has been homeless for 30 years. When Roslyn Polard of Edmonton, Canada came upon him playing an outdoor piano in town, she knew she was witnessing something special and pulled out her phone to record the moment. Polard told her that he’d written the piece and that nobody taught him to play music. In the days since the video was posted last month, it’s attracted attention from millions of viewers. However, little was known about Arcand or his story. When CBC News crews set out to find him, it took them three days to track him down. Keep reading »
Look, this might sound terrible, but I’ve got to say it: this time-lapse video of a homeless U.S. Army veteran’s voluntary aesthetic transformation makes the case for vanity if there ever was one. Jim Wolf has struggled with alcoholism since leaving the service and has found himself, like many others like him, without a home. This is where Dégagé Ministries of Grand Rapids, MI comes in. The church-funded non-profit shelter for the homeless and disadvantaged collaborated with Design 1 Salon & Spa and Rob Bliss Creative to clean Jim up real nice and show people — and most of all, Jim — that beneath the scruff and the patina of rough living, he is still a respectable man deserving of a better life. With a shave, a haircut (and color!), and a sharp new suit, Jim liked what he saw when he looked in the mirror. And you know what he did? Post-makeover, he started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the first time ever, and he’s now scheduled to move in to his own housing. Looking good isn’t always enough to make you feel good, but sometimes, when you’re at your lowest point, it can be the first step to lifting your spirits and reminding you of your own worth. [Buzzfeed]
Last night, Boise city council passed an ordinance that will force its homeless to be friendlier when asking you for spare change. The new legislation, which goes into effect on January 2, will make it illegal to solicit for money in certain areas of the city. People will still be allowed to panhandle — but only at sidewalk cafes, ATMs and in roadways. In addition, the ordinance specifies that panhandlers must not be “overly aggressive.” What does that mean exactly? Keep reading »
You’ve always wanted to know what it would be like to be homeless, right? (No, not at all). Wouldn’t you like to pay for the privilege of pretending to be homeless for the night? (No, not really). Faktum Hotel, in Gothenberg, Sweden, will give you the opportunity. For just $10, you can get to be a real live homeless person. (Okay). Says the “room” description: “Feel the city’s pulse from dawn to dusk at Gullbergsvass. This delightful dwelling is just a stroll from the romantic Dreamer’s Quay: a source of inspiration to musicians and artists alike. And all under the noble eye of the Skansen Lion from his centuries old fortress.” Keep reading »