It’s safe to say that students, faculty, and staff within CHER programs have been going full steam ahead on promoting student learning and action on housing and homelessness issues this semester. From the Trinity Homelessness Project’s weekend trips to work with Journey Home, Professor Stefanie Chambers’ Community Learning Urban Politics students working on creating a digital version of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center’s Hartford Fair Housing History Tour, to the Liberal Arts Action Lab Homeownership project with community partners at Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, we have seen a real commitment to understanding how people are living and the conditions that make it this way.
Last week, Trinity Homelessness Project and the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement along with Amnesty International, Chapel Council, JELLO Community Service Organization, Trinity Young Democratic Socialists of America, Women & Gender Resource Action Center, and the Asian American Students Association brought Hands on Hartford’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau to Trinity’s campus. The Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau travels around the state to share their experiences of homelessness and educate others on the causes of homelessness and ways they can contribute to creating change.
I assumed that people who were homeless all had substance use disorders or mental illnesses. Then I learned that there are so many people like me, who simply can’t earn a living wage. At shelters in Hartford, we have waiting lists as long as 600 people. Shelters are not the answer— people need to be housed and there is simply not enough affordable housing. When you think about jobs and housing, it’s not that surprising.” – Anne Goshdigan, Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau
Speakers Anne, Joe and Sal discussed their experiences while homeless including the factors that led to it and the difficulties they had navigating various systems to get help. Joe said,
“I had tried everything and I ended up getting to the point where I called Senator Blumenthal’s office because I didn’t know who else to call. It was his office that cut through all the red tape to help me get on my feet, and I kept thinking how hard that is for the average person. We’ve come a long way since then in Connecticut, but there is a lot more to do.”
You can listen to more of Joe’s story in the video below, and learn more about Hands on Hartford’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau on their website here.
Thank you to Hands on Hartford, the Trinity Homelessness Project, the Office of Community Service & Civic Engagement, Amnesty International, Chapel Council, JELLO Community Service Organization, Trinity Young Democratic Socialists of America, Women & Gender Resource Action Center, and the Asian American Students Association for making this event possible.