Habitat ECS | Learning About the Homeless Population

March 08, 2019

Habitat ECS group with Ken Cole, Founder of HumaneKind

For our first day of the Habitat ECS, we started the morning with some introductory activities to help us understand what it’s like to be homeless. We learned more about different issues that people experiencing homelessness may be dealing with, including unemployment, addiction, being shut out from their families, and abuse. We also researched organizations in Colorado Springs that specialize in helping different kinds of homeless people such as teens, veterans, and single parents. Through this research, we learned a lot about the ways in which different people can become homeless, some issues that they may be struggling with, and ways in which various organizations are trying to help. We concluded the morning with an activity where groups researched various monthly costs such as rent or mortgage, transportation, and food. These costs were then compared to average monthly incomes for minimum-wage jobs. We found that it is very hard to pay for items that people need every month on low-income budgets. These activities gave us a lot of insight into how difficult it can be to live on minimum wage and made us realize all of the hardships that people who are homeless have to face.

In the afternoon, we had our first guest speaker, Ken Cole, from the HumaneKind Project in Denver, an organization that works to provide homeless people with physical items like clothes and food as well as gives them people to talk to and connect with. We learned about Ken’s story and how he developed the HumaneKind Project. It was very inspiring to learn that he had very little himself, but he still did everything he could to help those who had even less. Ken mentioned that the purpose of HumaneKind is to “feed the belly, feed the soul,” and he emphasized that showing compassion and giving people support systems is just as, if not more, important than providing them with food and a place to live. We learned that it is important not to let our first judgments of people prevent us from starting conversations with them, and how valuable those interactions can be to somebody who doesn’t have a lot of people to talk to. Overall, this first day allowed us to learn more about why people are homeless, some issues that they struggle with, organizations that are trying to help, and what we can do moving forward to make a difference in our community.

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Habitat ECS group with Ken Cole, Founder of HumaneKind