Baltimore’s real ‘Faces of Homelessness’

I am a member of Baltimore’s Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau. We are a volunteer collective of homeless and formerly homeless people who tell people our real life stories of what it is really like to be homeless; the good, the bad and the ugly.

We strive to dispel many of the common stereotypical myths some people have about the homeless. We are a lot more than just addicts, alcoholics and lazy ones. In fact, many of us have never abused any substances.

We are people with skills and talents. We are your sisters, your brothers, your mothers, your fathers, your cousins, your nieces and nephews; your aunts and uncles, your neighbors and sadly enough your children and grandparents. We are veterans. We are too many. We are nationwide. We are worldwide. This should not be!

It’s a real conundrum many of us face. Some of you pass by us and shout, “Get a job!” I know many people and families with jobs who are currently on the streets because Baltimore has little affordable housing. You have to work a few jobs to pay market rents here. It’s difficult to get a job when you have to tote your life, or rather what you’ve somehow managed to hold to, when you go to job interviews. If you think the majority of us wouldn’t rather work and pay for a roof over our heads than to stay on a cardboard box, park bench or in a shelter, you are horribly mistaken!

Colleges, schools, church groups and other organizations ask us to come tell our real life stories of homelessness. Sometimes we make a little money at it, sometimes not.

If you’d like one of us to come to where you are and tell our stories; here’s a link to our website.  We also offer an INJUSTICE WALK.

We have an event coming up. I AM: A NIGHT OF MONOLOGUES will be held July 12th at 5:30 p.m. at the YES Drop In Center at 2315 Charles Street. Join us and listen to our stories! Theirs is a $10 suggested donation for this event. Donations go to the Speaker’s Bureau and YES.