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Photo #34: The kindness of strangers

This picture is #34 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers in the 100 Strangers group www.flickr.com/groups/100strangers/pool/ or at www.100Strangers.com

 

Up until yesterday, I hadn’t approached any homeless people for the 100 Strangers project – homeless people are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of, and I didn’t want to ask anyone who might feel unable to say “No.”

 

However, when I saw the sign, “The kindness of strangers”, I did want a picture of it for the strangers project, so I walked up to Bill, explained the project, and asked if I could take his picture with the sign, making it clear that he could refuse if he didn’t feel comfortable with it. He said it was okay, and we talked for a while.

 

Bill is from Cincinnati – he and his wife are currently camping out in wooded areas. They’ve tried staying at homeless shelters, but Bill said the shelters are filthy and dangerous. Fortunately, a social worker is guiding them through the processes and paperwork that may enable them to live in Section 8 housing in a downtown apartment building.

 

Bill, thanks for taking the time to talk with me, and best wishes to you and your wife for a new home.

 

For more information about homelessness in the Cincinnati area, please see the website of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, whose mission is coordinating services, educating the public, and grassroots organizing and advocacy.

 

homelessness facts

•3.5 million Americans experience homelessness in a given year.

•840,000, or 24%, of the homeless are children. 42% of children who are homeless are under the age of 5. Families are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population. Families with children (as opposed to single homeless people) make up about 30% of the homeless population nationally.

•The homeless population is 49% African-American, 35% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 2% Native American, and 1% Asian.

•From 1999 through 2006, there were 614 documented hate crimes against homeless people, with 189 of those resulting in death.

•In the Cincinnati region, 25,000 people experienced homelessness at some point during the year 2000. Between 1,300 and 1,500 people are homeless every night. 29% of the homeless are children.

•In Cincinnati, The homeless population is 68.5% African-American, 27% Caucasian, 1.5% Hispanic, 0.6% Native American and 0.25% Asian.

•In 2004, Cincinnati was named the 4th meanest city in the nation towards the homeless because of the laws against homeless individuals.

•In the last 15 years, the homeless population in the region has increased 150%.

•18% of homeless women in Cincinnati are homeless as a result of domestic violence, the third highest reported cause of homelessness for women.

 

See more "strangers" in my 100 Strangers Set

 

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Taken on August 7, 2008