Several months ago I attended a Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce-arranged meeting with Downtown Streets Team (DST) to learn about their business. I was impressed! DST provides a practical approach to helping the homeless take charge of their lives by providing supportive services, helping them find jobs, and helping them find a place to live. That can include assistance with bus transportation, free basic cell phones to facilitate online job applications, and finding medical care. I wanted to get involved. Since I am a videographer, I volunteered to take videos of the members so they could tell their stories. This has resulted in a video series called “This is My Story.”
There are so many reasons that people become homeless. Sometimes it is as a result of a tragic event. Sometimes it is as a result of a series of events. The way people manage to survive shows both creativity and luck. Each story is more compelling than the last. At the DST meetings the video from the last week is shown at the next week’s meeting and the team members are usually surprised and moved to learn of the stories of their peers. And the person who did their video is usually left with a new sense of empowerment.
Below is Lainie’s story. When we finished shooting her video I asked her how she felt. She said “empowered.”