There are many different ways in which the Internet and the world wide web can be used to build a greater community for all, including people who are currently homeless.
VoiceThe internet provides everyone a place to speak out and, at least sometimes, be heard. With free access, free email and free websites becoming increasingly available, more and more homeless and low-income people are finding a forum that is more accessible than their local newspaper, city hall or community center.
Homeless discussion lists
Resources for speaking out and getting heard
InteractionOn the Internet, people can meet and mingle more freely than anywhere else. The absence of face and voice and body language may raise some barriers to understanding, but it lowers others. Many people who feel rejected for their appearance elsewhere feel more comfortable on the Net. Email, chat rooms and other web communication tools are a new channel to community for people who have no phone or mailing address. And there are simply MORE people in Virtual than you can ever come in contact with in the flesh -- far more chances of hooking up with someone who shares your interest in rhymed haiku meditation mantras referring to eastern Mongolian rug-weaving techniques and that blue guy in those Hindu paintings and the haka "Te Mate Te Mate" as performed by the All-Blacks.
Forums & chat rooms
Getting HelpYou've spent your last dollar getting to Seattle to land one of those fishing-boat jobs, and the boat left without you. You don't know anyone, you don't know where anything is. If someone steers you as far as a free public terminal in the library, you can find a meal, a bed, more realistic leads on real jobs, and a lot more.
Seattle Crisis Resource Directory
Resources and information compiled by Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless
International Shelter & Program information from the CSF archives
Homeless OnlineA work in progress: "Our ultimate goal is to provide resources, training, and jobs to the homeless."
HUD: If you are homeless ... " resource links
Other resource links for people in need
HelpingJust as the world wide web can connect lacemaking hobbiests from all over the world with the suppliers of lacemaking tools, the web can also connect people in need with people who have resources and want to help. People in need help each other, also.
Opportunities to help
ChangeThere was once a village beside a river. Every day a flood of babies came floating down the river. The villagers hauled them out, doctored and fed and adopted them. One day they sent an army uphill to find out who was throwing babies in the river.
It is very necessary to feed the hungry person in front of you. It is very necessary to help that person learn how to keep themselves fed. We mustn't forget to keep the 1 out of 100 people in America who are hungry and homeless from getting to that state in the first place. At least a part of this will involve changes in our social systems.
Working on social change
FactsHow many homeless people are there in your town? How many of them are children? What programs are currently serving homeless people? How are they funded? How can you learn more about homelessness?
Libraries of information
Vision & InspirationHuman creativity and change usually starts with a vision of what could be, a dream. The people who express such visions so that others can see and hear and touch them not only inspire us, but keep us perservering.
Visions on the Web
Activist Art Webring
Art from the Streets of Wyoming
StreetLife Gallery in Seattle
Floaters Homeless Art Project
FunOur homeless/low-income writer's group, StreetWrites, was once told after a public reading, "A lot of us felt awkward when you read something funny. We didn't think we were supposed to laugh about homelessness." Humor is the strongest survival tool we have. Poor people laugh about poverty a lot -- and about a lot of other things. Laughing and playing together is as important a part of building community as working together, helping each other, and fighting injustice side by side. Laughter is an excellent tool in doing the last three, too.
Come play with us
© Dr. Wes Browning's Bad Art Show
Hobson's Choice: The Game You Just Can't Leave
Homeless Columns ed. by Anitra L. Freeman