Archive for the ‘Homelessness’ Category

homeless

For $2,000, you can live like a homeless person. That’s what 62-year-old Mike Momany, who himself is homeless in Seattle, hopes people will do.

After working as a contract programmer for years, he got into financial trouble when business slowed, and he has been experimenting with new ways of making money ever since. One plan is to launch a marijuana tour that would show people around local pot-growing operations, which have recently become legal in Washington state.

But for now, he is offering a three-day tour that he calls a “private course in Applied Homelessness.”

Upset by the growing homeless population in Seattle, which has shot up by 15% since 2007, to more than 9,000 people this year who are living in shelters or on the streets, Momany claims he wants to get people thinking about new ways to solve homelessness. But he wants to make a business of it, too.

Each tour costs $2,000. Momany says his take is $1,500 (for an hourly rate of $19.76). The rest — about $500 — will be donated to shelters and pay for expenses, like the clothes his clients will wear to blend in.

No one has signed up for a tour yet, but he says he’s in talks with a few interested parties.

Momany said he’ll disguise his customers as homeless people, give them a new name and “a simple life script” to use. Tour-goers would stay at a $15-per-night hostel, in the same building as a homeless shelter and only one notch above shelter conditions. (Since it’s divided by gender, the tour isn’t available to women).

They will visit several popular homeless hangouts, like the Seattle Public Library, talk to other homeless people, panhandle, nap on benches and roam the streets at 3 a.m. on one of the nights.

Not surprisingly, Momany’s venture has sparked debate.

“Homeless people are not tourist attractions. They have enough issues without this company profiting off exploiting them as well,” one commenter on a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story about the tour recently wrote.

MJ Kiser, program director at Compass Housing Alliance in Seattle, said Momany’s tour would use up much-needed resources like housing and food, and that his $2,000 fee “could help a homeless family for two months or provide meals for all [220] of the folks in Compass shelters one night.”

Michael Stoops, director of community organizing at the National Coalition for the Homeless, said he thinks Momany’s intentions are in the right place, but he doesn’t think it’s right to charge $2,000 or for Momany to pay himself such a big fee.

If the experience is really about giving people an inside look at homelessness, then it shouldn’t be about turning a profit, Stoops said.

The nonprofit coalition offers a similar program, called the Homeless Challenge: People can spend 48 hours living on the streets of Washington, D.C., with a guide who is either currently or formerly homeless. The organization asks people for a $50 nightly donation to local shelters if they can afford it.

“It’s not a moneymaker,” Stoops said. “We do it to give [people] the experience and to let them interact with other homeless folks.”

That’s where Stoops and Momany agree. “Everyone could benefit from spending some time on the streets as long as it’s done in an ethical, safe manner and homeless people are involved,” said Stoops.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/0​2/pf/homel​ess-tour/i​ndex.html?​hpt=hp_t3

Phiona-Mutesi-Uganda-ches-007

She grew up in one of the poorest spots on earth. She couldn’t read or write. As a child, she scrounged for food each day for herself, her mother, and her brother.

But a chance encounter with a chess coach turned her into a rising international chess star, the subject of a book — and the protagonist in a future Disney movie.

Ugandan teenager Phiona Mutesi is “the ultimate underdog,” her biographer says.

Those who work with her believe she’s 16. But since her birthday is unclear, she might still only be 15, they say.

Her father died from AIDS when Mutesi was around 3.

“I thought the life I was living, that everyone was living that life,” the teenager told CNN, describing her childhood in Katwe, a slum in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

“I was living a hard life, where I was sleeping on the streets, and you couldn’t have anything to eat at the streets. So that’s when I decided for my brother to get a cup of porridge.”

Robert Katende, a missionary and refugee of Uganda’s civil war, had started a chess program in Katwe. He offered a bowl of porridge to any child who would show up and learn.

“It teaches you how to assess, how to make decisions, obstructive thinking, forecasts, endurance, problem solving, and looking at challenges as an opportunity in all cases — and possibly not giving up,” he told CNN. “The discipline, the patience … anything to do with life, you can get it in that game.”

Mutesi did not become a top player overnight. But from the time she first showed up in 2005, her aptitude was clear.

Her talent is “extraordinary,” said Katende.

Mutesi liked chess, and started training and practicing regularly. “It took me like a year” to get very good, she said.

She walked about four miles a day to practice — and to get that precious food.

Soon she found herself beating the older girls and boys in the program.

Mutesi and her family faced pressure from some people in Uganda who insisted chess was a white man’s game, or at least not something girls should be playing, according to her biographer, Tim Crothers.

But in her slum, so few people even knew what chess was that they didn’t give her a hard time, Mutesi told CNN.

Eventually, she became her country’s champion — and represented Uganda at international tournaments. In 2009, she traveled to Sudan. Then, in 2010, she boarded an airplane to Siberia.

When the flight took off, “I thought that I was maybe in heaven,” she wrote in a letter to her mother quoted in Crothers’ book. “I asked God to protect me because who am I to fly to the europlane.”

Mutesi had also never seen ice before.

This year, she played in Istanbul.

Mutesi is not one of the world’s top chess players. But she is the first titled female Ugandan player. She has a fighter’s instinct to reach the top level — and to achieve much more.

“Chess gave me hope, whereby now I’m having a hope of becoming a doctor and … a grand master,” she said.

A grant from a program called Sports Outreach has allowed her to go back to school. She’s learning to read and write.

Meanwhile, Mutesi is becoming an inspiration to people all over the world.

Some learned about her through Crothers’ article for ESPN, which went viral. Others have seen a brief documentary about her on YouTube.

Crothers’ book about her, “The Queen of Katwe,” was published this fall.

“That she’s from Africa makes her an underdog in the world. The fact that she’s from Uganda makes her sort of an underdog in Africa, because it’s one of the poorer countries in Africa. The fact that she’s in Katwe makes her an underdog in Uganda because it’s the most impoverished slum in the entire country. And then to be a girl in Katwe — girls are not treated as equals to the boys,” said Crothers.

“Every hurdle that the world can place in front of her it has placed in front of her.”

The extreme poverty and deprivation in Katwe is hard for many around the world to imagine. Crothers wrote that “human waste from downtown Kampala is dumped directly into the slum. There is no sanitation.”

Mutesi wakes at 5 a.m. every morning to “begin a two-hour trek through Katwe to fill a jug with drinkable water, walking through lowland that is often so severely flooded by Uganda’s torrential rains that many residents sleep in hammocks near their ceilings to avoid drowning,” he wrote.

In the country of 34 million people, about one-fourth live below the poverty line, according to the CIA World Factbook. About three-quarters of the men in Uganda are literate; only 58% of women are.

Mutesi told CNN she’s never heard of Idi Amin, the so-called butcher of Uganda, who helped plunge his country into economic chaos throughout the 1970s.

She does know the name Joseph Kony, a brutal Ugandan warlord who was the subject of a viral video earlier this year. Kids talk about him, Mutesi said.

“He was in northern Uganda torturing people and could kidnap children. That’s what I know.”

Chess could prove to be Mutesi’s ticket out of a hard life — particularly through a project that lies ahead.

Disney has optioned the rights to “The Queen of Katwe,” and is starting work on a movie, Crothers said.

It’s all too much for Mutesi to fathom.

“I feel happy,” she said when asked about the growing attention. “I’m excited. I didn’t have hope that one time, one day, I would be like someone who can encourage people, and they start playing chess,” she told CNN.

As her world travels take off, she’s in for more and more culture shock.

“I don’t like New York because there’s too much noise in it,” the teenager said with a big smile.

But while it may be somewhat overwhelming for her, Mutesi’s success at the game she loves is bringing joy to her family.

“Some of them cried. Years back we didn’t have hope that … one day it can happen,” she said. “So they are very excited.”

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/10/world/africa/uganda-chess-teen/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

 

 

New York ad agency BBH has teamed up with SXSW this year to present its Homeless Hotspots initiative. The controversial, charitable movement offers a new take on the old Street Newspaper model: Rather than selling print papers to earn money, boost moral and spread awareness about poverty-related issues, the Homeless Hotspots project hopes to achieve the same effects by providing people with the opportunity to sell a digital service, instead.

Homeless Hotspots has “hired” 13 people from Austin’s Front Steps Shelter to participate in the campaign. Donning wireless routers and t-shirts that read, “I am a 4G hotspot,” these “Hotspot Managers” will be around the city offering wifi to festivalgoers.

As the Homeless Hotspots site explains, “SXSW Interactive attendees can pay what they like to access 4G networks carried by our homeless collaborators. This service is intended to deliver on the demand for better transit connectivity during the conference.”

The best part? The “Hotspot Managers” get to keep all of the money they make. Donate at the fest or online at Homeless Hotspots.

 

At 15, Jarvis Nelson should be in high school and even thinking about college.

Yet Jarvis is in seventh grade, and doesn’t know where he’ll go to high school — or even where he will be living — when he graduates from junior high, hopefully next year.

That’s because Jarvis has attended three different schools in the past four months. He’s lived in three different places on the North and South Sides of the city — including his most recent home, a temporary shelter in Lake View.

Jarvis, like thousands of other students in Chicago Public Schools, is homeless.

He is just one of more than 10,660 students who were homeless at the beginning of the school year. That’s 1,466 more than at the same point in the previous school year, according to a CPS tally.

read more:  http://www.suntimes.com/9818290-417/number-of-homeless-students-surges-putting-strain-on-schools.html

Thanks to Kedmobee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.  http://kebmodee.blogspot.com/2012/01/number-of-homeless-students-surges.html#links

 

A Tokyo man had to install video cameras in his apartment, after he found food to be inexplicably disappearing over the past several months.  The security cameras were rigged to send the images to his mobile phone.

One of the cameras spotted an image moving about in the man’s home.  The apartment owner phoned police, believing the image to be that of a burglar.  The cops were shocked to find the door locked and all the windows sealed shut.  Upon entering the house, the police began searching every nook and cranny, until they stumbled across a 58-year-old homeless woman curled up on a shelf closet.

She told police that she had snuck into the home one day, about a year ago, when the homeowner had inadvertently left the door unlocked.  In the year that she was living there, she says she had moved a mattress into the small closet space, taken showers when the man wasn’t home, and helped herself to some food.

The woman was arrested and charged with trespassing.

http://www.katu.com/news/weird/19398954.html

 

Sesame Street is on a mission to tackle childhood hunger and homelessness, premiering a new character whose background highlights children who live in such poverty.

Lily, the newest muppet on Sesame Street, comes from an impoverished family.

Country music singer Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams Paisley, will host the hour-long show, titled “Growing Hope against Hunger.”

“We are honored that Sesame Street, with its long history of tackling difficult issues with sensitivity, caring and warmth, asked us to be a part of this important project,” the couple said in a statement.

The show will air Sunday, Oct. 9. It is sponsored by Walmart.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2011/10/04/2011-10-04_sesame_street_to_debut_new_muppet_dealing_with_poverty_and_hunger_in_the_home.html

 

Frozen In Indifference

Posted: July 5, 2011 in Empathy, Homelessness

“He’s encased in ice, except his legs, which are sticking out like Popsicle sticks,” the caller phoned to tell this reporter.

“Why didn’t your friend call the police?”

“He was trespassing and didn’t want to get in trouble,” the caller replied. As it happens, the caller’s friend is an urban explorer who gets thrills rummaging through and photographing the ruins of Detroit. It turns out that this explorer last week was playing hockey with a group of other explorers on the frozen waters that had collected in the basement of the building. None of the men called the police, the explorer said. They, in fact, continued their hockey game.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20090128/metro08/901280491/Frozen-in-indifference–Life-goes-on-around-body-found-in-vacant-warehouse#ixzz1R5Z1kmW4

Thanks to P.C. for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.