This week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
A new magazine put together by people who have, or are experiencing homelessness is helping shine a light on the situation locally.
9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Harrison Light spoke to the people behind Street Voices to get more details on their project.
“Make people aware that we’re not just a bunch of losers, dumb people on the street.”
Every Thursday morning, a group of people meet at the Central United Methodist Church.
They all have one thing in common – homelessness.
“It’s like family,” says Shelly Perrault, who is homeless. “Deb’s like a mom, Laurie like a sister, and Randy like a brother.”
The group started a new magazine called Street Voices.
It’s a way for them to share their stories with the rest of the community.
“This will be our first year where Laurie and I will be home for the holidays in almost seven years,” says Randy Parcher, who was previously homeless. “We have spent most holidays in Safe Harbor with others that had nowhere else to go.”
Tracie West has been experiencing homelessness for the last 10 years.
“It separates your whole family and I never believed that would be true, but it does,” says Tracie, who is homeless.
She says writing for the magazine helps her put a positive spin on her situation.
“I needed a connection to the community and that’s what this magazine brings me. That’s what this community has brought me. All these churches, all the people I’ve met, all the amazing people I’ve met,” Tracie says.
The group’s goal is to educate and make people aware that homelessness is happening here.
“It’s bridging that gap,” says Peggy Byland, facilitator for Street Voices. “It’s bringing those people together with an understanding, more of an awareness of what it’s like to be on both sides. And to bring good will to all.”
“The best part of it, in my feelings, when you write a story is when some guy or a woman comes up and says ‘hey I like that story you wrote.’ That’s what gives you the big chill,” says Stephen Thompson, who was previously homeless.
The Street Voices group meets every Thursday morning at 9:30a.m. at Central United Methodist Church, located at 222 Cass Street Traverse City, MI.
You can also email them at .
The group is also in need of sponsors to help the continuation of their magazine.