The numbers are sobering. On any given night, there are more than 500,000 people in the United States who are looking for a place to shelter for the night because they do not have a place to call home. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, more than 200,000 of those are families and more than 47,000 are veterans.
The most recent Point-in-Time (PIT) count for Faulkner County recorded 189 of our neighbors without shelter.
My family began volunteering at Bethlehem House in 2010. It was through our time serving meals to residents and those who come for the nightly soup kitchen that I began to hear their stories. Some are stories that could be our own. So when Aimee Prince approached me about doing portraits of residents, former residents, employees and volunteers where those stories could be shared with a wider audience, I gladly accepted.
The great thing about this project is being able to highlight how each person is working to grow from a difficult, sometimes dark, period in their life and turn things around. Being able to tell their story has been empowering for those who have volunteered to share. In addition to giving them the opportunity to share their story, my hope is the photos and their stories show the people behind those sobering numbers and maybe move us all toward a better understanding of our unsheltered neighbors.
To learn more about Bethlehem House and its mission, you can go to http://bethlehemhouse.net/ or find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BethlehemHouse/?fref=ts) and read more of the stories of the residents.