Posted by: joshjasper | September 14, 2009

Hope House

Last night I was given the opportunity to share my work with members of the Hope House in Dubuque.  The Hope House is an organization that provides “hospitality” for men that are homeless.  The last time I met with them there were 16 men living in the house.  Last night it looked like they had about 10 regular residents.  Before given the opportunity to present, I was asked to have dinner with everyone.  A group of Loras College students prepared the meal (tacos) and fed approximately 20 people.  A community meal is provided on specific nights throughout the week.

After dinner I sat on the porch with a few guys talking about sports, the economy, and I even managed to get in a little violence prevention into the conversation.  As I listened to the guys stories I was reminded of the misconceptions that are easily formed about the homeless.  I quickly remembered my work in Los Angeles down in Skid Row, (homeless community of about 70,000 people) and how I met so many people who simply did not have a support system, lost a job, and found themselves on the streets.  It was frightening how quickly things unraveled for some, and how that process could happen to so many. 

It was interesting to hear the guys talk about the frustrations they have about getting and keeping jobs.  So many of the things I take for granted when it comes to ensuring that I can get to work everyday were things that at times were the causes of these guys getting fired from their jobs.  For example, it’s fairly easy for me to run to the store and get some cough drops and NyQuil when I get a cold so that I can get into work the next day when I’m not feeling well.  Extra money for those remedies do not exist for most of these guys.  Their hope is simply that the common cold runs its course and does not turn into something more serious. 

I realized last night that the things that I often “hope” for are often vastly different than others.

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