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Habitat ECS | In the Footsteps of Homelessness

March 11, 2019

The Habitat ECS group walking downtown on the Urban Experience.

Today our group went on the Urban Experience. The Urban Experience is led by the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission to help people learn about the daily hardships the homeless population has to go through just to make it every day. For example, a person has to get to an interview at 9 a.m. for a potential job. They wake up early at a shelter or anywhere where they are staying to walk to the showers at the ESM, the Ecumenical Social Ministries, where they provide food, medicine, and the only public shower, but since it’s a public shower, they have to wait in line. Every person gets five minutes to use the shower, and if there’s 15 people in line in front of this person, they won’t make it to their interview. They will already be at least 20 minutes late. If they don’t take a shower, they still have to walk a long distance to their interview and by the time they get there, they will be sweaty, dirty, and exhausted. Not to mention, they also have no interview-ready clothing with them, so they will not look presentable. This is one of the most common struggles people experiencing homelessness have to go through. In my opinion, all of these problems that they are faced with everyday are not their fault, so they shouldn’t be penalized for it.

We walked around and saw many different organizations: ESM,:Concrete Couch, an organization that makes temporary homeless camps for those experiencing homelessness; Family Promise, whose mission is to help homeless families with children; the Marian House, a soup kitchen that feeds people hot meals every day if they can’t buy their own food; and other impactful organizations. The biggest part of the tour was the Marian House. We walked in, got some lunch, and went our separate ways to find a spot with the people there. We had very meaningful conversations and learned more about their background and why/how they ended up in Colorado Springs. Katherine and I sat with this gentlemen and this other woman. The gentlemen said he used to live in another small city here in Colorado, but he was kicked out of his house so he moved onto here. Even though he was kicked out, he still gets to see his 15-month-old daughter once in a while despite his circumstances. The woman we talked to said she was abandoned in Colorado in 1998. She made her way here and has made lots of friends with similar experiences and has persevered through each day. When talking to these people, I felt very empathetic, but I was also proud of them. They are very strong people and have made it through the ringer and back. I absolutely respect them because they were joking around with friends and keeping their head high.

Over the course of the day, we learned that it is very hard to get around to the places you need to get to (ESM, interviews, your camp, etc.) without having transportation to get you places on time. We have also been exposed to some people experiencing homelessness and learned more about what they have been through. In conclusion, we have grown an understanding about being “in the footsteps” of people experiencing homelessness on a day-to-day basis.

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The Habitat ECS group walking downtown on the Urban Experience.