Words & Images © Annette Cortez.
A tent on the sidewalk. A suitcase full of clothes. A tarp sheltering someone or things from public view. These are some of the images we see daily, under a bridge or on the side of a busy street. They’re not unique to one city but are prevalent images of those without homes. The unsheltered in our communities.
We pass by them. glance at them, but don’t really see them. They’re ubiquitous images of the homeless in today’s society. Unsheltered communities tend to form in larger cities and can often go overlooked. They get lost in the background of busy days and become invisible.
It’s a universal desire to have a home. A universal need to feel safe. A universal want for privacy. The universality for the want, need, and desire for a home can resonate with anyone. According to a report from April 2016 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 564,708 people were considered homeless.
For those less fortunate to not have more traditional homes, they make do with what they have, or don’t have. The homes we pass by are almost always in crowded, sometimes dangerous parts of the city, but close to the few resources that can be offered through shelters that are full to capacity and can only offer the very basic of necessities.
We forget that each tent or tarp we walk by shelters someone, or in many cases, more than one person. Families. A father. Someone’s daughter. Someone’s son. Each have their own unique background and story of how they came to be homeless, but despite the hardships they’ve faced, one of the few things they continue to strive to have is a place to call home.
YPA 2016 MENTORING PROGRAM: AMERICAN LANDSCAPES
TEAM LOS ANGELES
MENTOR: David Zentz
MENTEE: Annette Cortez