This Friday I had my regular breakfast with the Executive Director of Green Doors, the non-profit I’ve been involved with going on 6 years now. He and the staff took part in a poverty immersion exercise recently in Dallas and he shared some of the things he experienced. I’ll recount some of those things and I’m sure they will be putting together a more comprehensive update.
Of their group of five people each person was classified as homeless or in extreme poverty. The difference was in what you got to keep with you for the 24 hour period. For those that were “homeless” they were only able to keep their underwear, yes that is it, no shoes, no money, no ID. And during the time in the exercise were given tasks to complete. They had to get some clothing, scrounge for food, find somewhere to sleep. This weekend was the weekend there was a lot of rain and the two that were classified as homeless slept outside, as it was described to me sleeping in mud with water collecting in their ears. Out of the 5 of them one looked “scary”, he could only find a wife beater to wear, is 6 foot tall and was dirty with mud so when they begged for money he had to stay out of sight. Those in “poverty” were able to stay in a shelter and had some money to use during the exercise. Their descriptions will be much better as well as the lessons they learned and the thoughts that went through their heads.
Helping those that are homeless already is one thing to focus on. The other is preventing people who are at risk from becoming homeless in the first place. If you’re curios about who the homeless and at risk of homless are in the US and Austin are and what types of programs can help them visit the Green Doors web-site.