The Great Recession may be over, but every night people are sleeping on benches or in makeshift shelters. Here are a few of their stories.
After I went out with Vinny Pannizzo, I began to see things differently. Now, when I drive through Grand Blanc late at night and I see someone sitting in a bus shelter, I wonder if she'll be sleeping there. On park benches and in doorways, I'll look for men and women curled up in sleeping bags, using their shoes for a pillow to keep them from being stolen off their feet. Driving down a freeway off-ramp, I'll notice the tarp strung between bushes or the edge of a tent inside the trees.
It's not that I didn't see these things before. Like most people, I noticed the homeless, especially when people would come up to me on the street and ask for money. And like many of us, I also made it a point not to treat those people as though they're invisible — to acknowledge someone who's obviously been sleeping on the sidewalk or in a doorway as a fellow human being.
But Pannizzo, who is homeless himself and works with the nonprofit group Mission for the Homeless, opened my eyes a lot wider, and got me to listen and look in a way I hadn't before.
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