Homeless Empowerment Site Reviews

One of the positive results of the accessible Internet is the growing presence of homeless and low-income webmasters. There are so many such sites that I am sure I haven't covered all of them; please let me know of any others.

Some of the following sites -- like Tedrico's and Rosaphilia's -- are very graphic-intensive, with lots of photographs. Others, like Poems from Street Level, are almost all text, with a "basic black" background. All are fully accessible and readable with any browser, including the text-only "Lynx" browsers available in most public libraries.

Tedrico's Page: Homelessness Resource Links

Webmaster: Theodore Latham

Tedrico's Page has good content, is easy to navigate, and is visually attractive, with lots of photographs. He spans all the categories, offering survival resource information, public education, a spur to activism, the photos and biographies of people on the streets, quotes from poetry and essays by other voices on the Internet (in the Voice of the Homeless Award), sheer fun (Pass-Times: Things to do when the shelter's closed), a discussion board and even a chat room.

The Poor People's Guide to More Than Just Survival

http://www.poorpeoplesguide.org/ (Temporariily suspended: looking for a new webhome)
Webmaster: Remona Cowles

Remona has created a library of pages on finding housing, employment, food, clothing, a phone; how to use the library, how to find service agencies, and how to avoid scams and ripoffs. She also has a section on having fun, public education tips on how to help the homeless, and opportunity for visitors to post their own opinions. Now she has her own domain, which hosts the website of StreetRoots, the Portland street newspaper which Remona publishes.

SHARE: Seattle Housing and Resource Effort

http://www.insideshare.org/  — Now has its own domain!
Webmaster: Anitra L. Freeman

Reviewed by Dr. Wes Browning: "SHARE's website offers a history of the organization and its projects, beginning with the Goodwill Games and going on to include Tent City 2, the BunkHouse, and WHEEL. It is very clear and readable, with more information than anyone could absorb. Some supposedly current information is not; But most of the website is remarkably up-to-date, Including a useful list of activist links." [Note from Anitra: The Tent City and Meal of Fortune entries have been updated!]

Homeless People and the Internet

Webmaster: Mike Davidson

Mike Davidson has compiled a great deal of information on using the internet, including access at local libraries; he has also created a community-building webring for useful pages about solving homelessness, whoever they are created by. (A webring is a way of easily linking similar pages.) His site is very simple and well-laid-out, with the fanciest graphic being the dancing picture of himself that opens the page -- one of the few times I approve of using an animated graphic.


Webmaster: Jim Green

"Emerald Jym" died in the summer of 1998. Jim offered help to other homeless people in using the Internet and designing webpages. Most of his help was in person, but his site also provided a link to Seattle Public Library, a search engine, the resources at BeSeen.Com -- and encouragement to make your own place on the Web.

Recovering Humanity

Webmaster: Morgan W. Brown

Morgan's poetry demonstrates, as Adrienne Rich does, that simply talking honestly about human life is political.

Homeless Homepage and Forum

Webmaster: Greg Kaiser

This is one of the most ambitious sites technically, making extensive use of frames. It is also one of the most ambitious in intent, as the subtitle of Greg's opening page says: "NETPOWER FOR ECOLOGICAL SANITY AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE." Greg will take you on a tour of the ecosytem and the solar system, and demand your comments. A good place to visit if you find yourself slipping into apathy.

NH ADAPT & MA-NH Not Dead Yet Home Pages

NEW: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6483/
Webmaster: Tom Cagle

ADAPT stands for American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today. Tom Cagle, a fellow member of the Homeless People's Network, is a vigorous advocate for the rights of the disabled; the site has a number of informative and impassioned essays, links to other websites on disability, a discussion board and a chat room.
StreetViews Magazine http://www.vcn.com/~wch/wchsv.htm
& Art from the Streets http://www.vcn.com/~wch/wchafs.htm
Webmaster: Virginia Sellner

Poetry, art, and now [soon] photography from the artists and writers on the streets of Wyoming. The sites are laid out very simply and are easy to navigate, and include community-building links to both homeless-run art & writing sites and general Wyoming art & writing sites. The site is regularly updated, so it repays frequent visits to see what's new in the selections.
StreetWrites Workshop for Writing Out of the Margins http://www.realchangenews.org/StreetWrites/
& StreetLife Gallery http://www.realchangenews.org/StreetLife/
Webmaster: Anitra L. Freeman

Reviewed by Tom Boland of Homeless People's Network: "If you want to know what's on the mind of writers who've been homeless, this is the place. You'll find the range of interests common to those of us afflicted with the 'writer's curse', plus musings on homelessness, poems, personal stories -- and some of the funniest jokes I've read. A lot of the best writers in Seattle's street newspaper Real Change are here, and some of their best writing."

Anitra Again: And what more can I say about StreetLife Gallery? This is the most unique gallery in the world (besides Art from the Streets). Now Webmastered by Shawn Stein of Real Change.

Poems from Street Level

Webmaster: Bonnie Briggs

Bonnie is a poet and an activist who also has a website memorial for those who have died homeless in Toronto, Canada. Poems from Street Level is her personal website posting many of her original poems about life and people on the streets.

Homeless People's Network

Webmaster: Tom Boland

This is the home of an email list of homeless and formerly homeless people who talk openly with each other about their lives, problems and solutions. The archives are open to anyone who wants to learn more about the realities of homelessness.
Rosaphilia's Page
Webmaster: Anna Yamada

Another cross-category site: "Rosaphilia" shares pictures of the vocational rehabilitation center where she lives, information on roses and wines, a wonderful webpage on Graffitti Baptist Church -- and one of the most extensive and best-organized link pages I've seen, on mental health issues, politics, and just about everything else interesting. Anna has had a lot of fun creating this site, and I think you'll have a lot of fun exploring it.
My Journey Through Life
Webmaster: Ernie Martin

This is basically a long, heartfelt and well-written essay about one man's experience with homelessness, with links to some opportunities to help the homeless.

Homeless Action Coalition in Eugene Oregon

http://www.efn.org/~pro_eco/ (currently down)
Webmaster: Tom Musselwhite

Tom did not deliberately design his site to be Lynx accessible, but it is. There's extensive information about local projects and program services, and an online issue of the Eugene street-newspaper, the 'olkos Journal and News. I hope he can get it back up again soon!
Dee Southard http://csf.colorado.edu/homeless/southard.html
& the Homeless Discussion List http://csf.colorado.edu/homeless/
Webmaster: Dee Southard

Dee manages an international email discussion list on homelessness, with members ranging through currently homeless survivors, homeless activists, service agency staff members and sociologists. A ton of information is archived at the Homeless website.

Dee wrote to me: "I'm formerly homeless, having survived as a homeless teenager and through multiple times as an adult. Hoping to change the circumstances of homeless people was the motivation to return to school. My going to a Ph.D. was a long (12 year) road, and part of that time I was homeless as well. That is why I started the International HOMELESS discussion list and archives five years ago and that is why I still give about an hour every day to the discussion list and the site."

John's Berkeley Page

Webmaster: John Delmos

Take a look at how much can be done from a public library terminal. John has compiled several useful resources for anyone homeless in Berkeley or interested in it, including:
  • People's Park
  • Newspaper Articles Page
  • Articles about People's Park
  • (Some of the) Clinics and Hospitals in the East Bay
  • Info and weblinks to Berkeley community services
  • More information about homelessness

Community < = > Individuality

One thing to remember: homeless and low-income people are not a monolithic block. We are all individuals, with individual opinions -- and not all of them agree. Some of the pages above condemn panhandling and praise organized charities; others condemn all "harass the homeless" laws, including panhandling ordinances; some harshly criticize organized charities and service agencies; others have joined such groups. Some pages are earnestly Christian and others are earnestly pagan. They all have a great deal to offer anyone who wants to learn the realities of homelessness from the homeless themselves.

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