Habitat ECS | 'Homeless people don't just need friendship, housing, and food, but also transportation'

March 20, 2019

Habitat ECS

Homeless people don’t just need friendship, housing, and food, but also transportation.”

-Peter’s Bike Shop

Today we were going to see a speaker from the Pikes Peak Library District. Unfortunately, our speaker had to cancel due to the aftermath of the blizzard on Wednesday. Instead, for about an hour and a half we had the opportunity to do some research for our final proposal project, due at the end of our ECS, which challenges us to come up with an idea to help prevent or end homelessness.

We then went Peter’s Bike shop where we talked with the owner of the shop for several hours. Peter started working in the bike shop in 1993, and his rent is paid by Criterium Bicycles. He moved down from Canada in the 1970s because he believed that the United States had problems that needed to be addressed. These issues were “war, justice, and poverty.” Peter is dedicated to helping those in need. He believes that everybody is equal and that people shouldn’t be defined by skin color, social standing or wealth. He repairs and builds bicycles from scratch so that he can give them out to people in need. Peter does all of his work for free and relies on donations and his personal money to keep his shop going. Peter also believes that by allowing people who are experiencing homelessness to help in repairing their bikes, they become dignified. Being able to help give people a sense of responsibility, as well as a feeling of usefulness, is very important to him. It was easy to tell Peter is very passionate about his life’s work and believes that he should help people in every single way he can. He is very honest, and he wasn’t afraid to share his opinions with our class.

Peter’s shop is cluttered with tools and the walls are littered with handwritten quotes that display his outlook on life. For example, one read, “The oppressor’s most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed,” and another said, “No flag is big enough to cover the shame of killing even one person.” Though the room seemed messy, Peter seemed truly at home in his workspace. Though this small workroom was not the most established place we’ve been to, it is the most personal. Peter’s shop seems to represent his personality as well as his work. Peter was comfortable with telling us that he believes he is a world citizen and that “everyone has red blood.” I think that Peter provided such a different view on the homeless population of Colorado Springs. Many of our previous speakers have had plenty of statistics to share with our class, like the average age of homelessness is 9 years old, and 1 in 4 homeless people are veterans. Though these statistics are staggering, Peter’s ideas about what is important in life and how to help people were mind-blowing and shocking in their own way. Peter spoke from his heart and used his emotions and thoughts to support what he was saying.

After lunch we met up with our book groups to discuss the chapters we read. During the book group time we also met with our final proposal partner and had a meeting with Ms. Taylor and Ms. Abrahams to discuss our progress. Mia C. and I then proceeded to lead a discussion about food insecurity, when a household lacks access to sufficient food, and some of the statistics involved. For example, 1 in 8 Coloradans struggle with having enough money to buy food, and 19 percent of households with children reported food insecurity at one point in 2014. Fortunately, there are many programs to help with food insecurity including: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) , and the National School Lunch Program.

In conclusion, today provided very helpful work time and amazing insights from a speaker. We carried on a discussion about a very important issue that we had not previously studied in depth. I think the best part was being able to hear a different perspective on the topic of homelessness in Colorado Springs!

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