Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homelessness: Real and Symbolic

I lived in a tent once. It might have been for a couple of weeks. Or less. Or more. I don't remember. I'd just moved to San Diego after college. I was in a performing commedia dell'arte troupe under the auspices of a UCSD summer program. Apartments in San Diego were expensive. A year or so before that I'd stayed on a friend's dorm room floor for a while after I returned to college before I found a place of my own that I could afford. I suppose you could say I was homeless. But not really. Not in the way that the homeless are homeless in big cities across the U.S. today. 

I spent the morning at the Downtown Women's Center. "Founded in 1978, the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides over 50,000 meals, 71 permanent supportive housing apartments, and a wide array of health, education, and other supportive services to more than 2500 homeless and very low-income women each year. The Center meets our mission by offering a warm, friendly atmosphere that encourages homeless women to commit to their own betterment and healing process." They also provide meals, showers, and a haven from the streets for around a 150 women who drop in during the day.
I'm going to be volunteering at the DWC and hope eventually to do a creative writing workshop there.

After my orientation, I walked over to Occupy Wall Street Los Angeles. There were tents. Probably not inhabited by the truly homeless--but who knows? There was a lot of activity, but nothing very cohesive going on during the time that I circled the perimeter. Still, I was happy to see the involvement.

But the most inspiring part of the day was my visit to the DWC's cafe and gift store called "MADE." 

Many of the items for sale are made by the women of the DWC.

I especially loved these journals/sketch books made from the covers of old books.


Ms. Moon said...

Thank-you for this window into where you are.

Elizabeth said...

OOOO--I want to go with you sometime! Thank you for sharing it with us --

kimmie said...

I called many a friends' floor home at different times in my life. We used joke that it was the futon gospel.

That gift shop is really really cool .... I hope they can rake in some big bucks with their stuff. Maybe Anthropologie could discover them.