Derrick’s Story of Surviving Stereotypes

When I met Derrick, he wasnt homeless. Even though I wrongly profiled him, and regretted doing so, he told me that I shouldn't and that he glad that I did. Derrick said that that's how he see's the good in people, when they have an immediate impulse to help others. Derrick had been homeless for 15 years of his life, and he's seen how people are taught to think with their head first, instead of their heart, and that's a stigma. A stigma against people like him.

Covid-19 Update

Due to the continuing nationwide pandemic, outreach for Naming the Homeless has been stalled due to health concerns. Although we haven't been able to conduct interviews for new content, we never stopped spreading awareness. Next month on, we will be featuring never before seen interviews from our archives that relate to present day social issues. Thank you for sticking around and continuing to name the homeless with us, one story at a time.

Edwardo’s Story

Edwardo, originally from Detroit, has been homeless for half his life. Now 45, he's traveled the country looking for a better opportunity. Traveling is a lifelong goal for some, but Edwardo feels like he leaves a piece of himself behind with each move. The homeless account for some of America's most vulnerable and overlooked citizens. This is especially true during the COVID-19. Edwardo's search for a better opportunity, and daily survival, comes with the risk of losing his life.

A stigma against people like me

More than one quarter of Philadelphia residents, roughly 400,000 people, live below the poverty line. These are people that are one paycheck, one sick day, one more eviction notice away from becoming homeless. As of January 2018, 1,083 people live on the streets, according to city data. Each of these people has their own reason for finding themselves on the streets, yet a stigma has developed over the years that blames the homeless for their situation. It’s important to remember that each person has a story, and you’ll never know what it is without asking taking the time to ask the right questions.

Michael’s Story

Michael has been homeless for about a year now, and the thing that he struggles with most is the way that he is treated by those around him. He now feels a disconnect from society, which he feels only adds to his disadvantages that homelessness causes. "Honestly, I wouldn't even get into words with that because, it just wouldn't be right," he said. "The words I've got for it are just mean words, because I hate that, I hate the way that they treat people." There are many things that Michael wishes he could change about his situation, one of the most pressing issues being the way that he is perceived by others. "Help one person at a time. Anything helps, it doesn't even matter. Food, anything, that helps. It helps a lot," he said. "And you can't help everybody, but you can help someone." Watch his full story here:

Thank you, Riverfront Cares Club!

From the very beginning of this journey, our community has been extremely supportive of Naming the Homeless. With that being said, I couldn't do this project without the help of all of you guys. The amount of support that we have received from our community is absolutely overwhelming and something that I am grateful for every day.

Turhan’s Story

After graduating high school with a seventh grade education due to a learning disability, Turhan has worked his entire adult life to support himself--until now. "Labor is my only skill," he said, "if I can't lift anything, I can't work." At age 49, he developed an inguinal hernia that caused him constant pain and left him out of work and, because it's technically not an injury that he sustained while on the job, he never received workers' compensation. "That really hurt my feelings," Turhan said, "I'm a loyal employee, I put everything into my work because it's all I have... I couldn't understand why they wouldn't help me." Unable to work and with no other source of income, Turhan turned to the streets, where everyday is a battle with depression for him. "I don't want to hurt myself--I want to recover," Turhan said. Read more to find out what happens next.

Tamika’s Story

Tamika graduated college. In fact, she went to my university, Rowan, and got a degree in business. From there she began gaining more work experience and a thirst to see the world. To celebrate her success she would travel the country with her family and boyfriend of 10 years. In May, her boyfriend passed away. Tamika couldn't believe it. She began to struggle to support herself on her own and found herself on the streets. She used to look down on the homeless and now she is one of them. Read more to find out what happens next.

Mental Health and Our Homeless (pt 4): George’s Story

If you don’t already know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health America has been spreading awareness specifically during the moth of May since 1949. Mental illness is a huge contributor as a cause of homelessness. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, mental illness was listed as the third largest cause of homelessness. In 2017 554,000 people experienced homelessness in one night in the U.S. During 2017 the Treatment Advocacy Center stated that one third of people experiencing homelessness suffer from some form of severe mental illness. Mental health has always been an important topic in my own household. Kathy, my mom, has been suffering from bipolar disorder for the past 28 years. This time last year she was refusing to leave her room. To express the importance of mental illness through Naming the Homeless we decided to randomly interview 10 individuals during the month of May to see how mental health has (or hasn’t) affected them and their experiences of homelessness. We will be posting their stories throughout the rest of this month to share their personal experiences. Here are their stories:

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