It’s National Homeless Awareness Week. I recently attended an event at Paperworkers Local called, We Aren’t Disposable, hosted by One Roof: Uniting Central Alabama to End Homelessness. Their mission is to equip and empower our community to prevent and end homelessness through advocacy, education and coordination of services. We Aren’t Disposable: A Single Use Camera Project by Birmingham Homeless Neighbors is a camera project created by the One Roof Junior Board. This photo project and exhibit documents the life through the eyes of our homeless neighbors in our Birmingham community. The photos were taken by individuals who are currently homeless or who have exited homelessness. The only instructions they were given were to take photos of what homelessness looks like through their eyes.

Herbert (75), a leader in the homeless community, said he hopes that this project will let people know that not all homeless people are addicts and not all homeless people fit the common stereotypes.

There are people within the homeless community who have degrees and those who have had held down jobs/careers. I’m talking about doctors, lawyers, businessmen/businesswomen, and leaders within their community before “life” happened. This goes to show you that homelessness can happen to anyone.

With it being National Homeless Awareness Week, I wanted to help bring awareness to what is going on right here in Birmingham, central Alabama, around the world — as well as ways that we can help.

Chatting with Ashley, One Roof Junior Board member, about the We Aren’t Disposable project.

So many heart-wrenching stories.

Reading the stories and seeing the photos from our homeless neighbors here in the Birmingham community will change you. Someone once said, “we are all one paycheck away from living under a bridge.” When I heard that for the first time, it did something to me. It’s truly a wake-up call and serves as a reminder that you never know someones struggle or their story. That we should always extend love, grace, compassion, kindness as we intentionally live with a heart for God. A reminder that loving God means loving ALL of God’s people no matter where they are on this life journey.

Did you know?

  • On a given night, there are approximately 643, 067 people experiencing homeless in America
  • 238,100 of those experiencing homelessness are families
  • 25% suffer from mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression
  • 17% are considered chronically homeless
  • 12% are veterans

As for Birmingham:

  • 125 Birmingham youth (ages 18-24) are homeless every night
  • There are 40 homeless veterans living in Birmingham (let that sink in)
  • 396 severely mentally ill live in homelessness in Birmingham
  • There are 29, 372 unaccompanied transition-aged (16-24) homeless youth in Alabama

Getting involved is a great way to connect with other people who are just as passionate about helping neighbors within the community! One person can’t save the world, but together we can.

 

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Volunteer with One Roof.
  • Volunteer with a One Roof Member Agency.
  • Become an advocate.
  • Find out more about volunteer opportunities here.

Donate

You can GIVE by visiting here

Also for National Homeless Awareness Week, by patronizing Birmingham businesses participating in the National Homeless Awareness Restaurant Week, 10 to 20% of every check will be donated to benefit One Roof Birmingham! You can check out the list below.

You can find out more by visiting One Roof Birmingham at oneroofonline.org. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Paperworkers Local is a resource dedicated to enriching the Birmingham Arts Community through exhibitions, workshops and classes. They provide affordable studio space, access to process-oriented equipment, and professional development opportunities for artist members. This venue allowed our homeless neighbors to showcase their work. You can learn more about them here.