Over the last five years, Beyoncé has given $7 million of her own fortune to fund a housing complex for homeless people in Houston. For those years, the Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments has quietly provided room and board for 43 previously homeless people, and Beyoncé hasn’t once taken credit for it.
I have table-flipping-She-Hulk rage over that dude who raised at least $60,000 to make a damn potato salad. There was a 3 day period where I may have needed a trigger warning for talk of potato salad.
Which was sad because I really wanted to eat some potato salad. Since,you know, that’s about all I can eat these days and it sounded like a nice change from soup.
Over the weekend, we had salt potatoes for dinner. The next day, I used the leftovers to make what could only be described as Rage Against the Potato Salad Kickstarter Potato Salad. It was good with only a slight aftertaste of bitterness & rage.
It doesn’t take a genius or $60,000 to make tater salad. You take potatoes
…cut ‘em into chunks. Maybe peel them first. Maybe not. Whatever.
Add some mayo, Dijon mustard,a splash of apple cider vinegar…some herbs (I like dill & lovage). Maybe even chop up some onions, if that’s what you’re into. I like hard boiled eggs in it,too.
That’s it. How much of each? Who knows. I just throw it together until it looks like potato salad. Like I said, doesn’t take a genius. Or someone who has money. I made a huge bowl for probably about $3.00 or so.
So, now that I showed you how to make a decent potato salad for free, do me ONE favor:
If you have money to throw at a cause, please give it to people who need it and not someone who started a fundraiser as a joke. If you don’t trust people on the Internet, go buy some potatoes and other good food to donate to your local food pantry. Thanks.
From the Gregory Project website:
Cities are engulfed with rigid constructions for billboard advertisement which are expensive to put up, maintain and their subsequent renting is a costly venture. The Gregory project brings optimization to the construction of billboard structures in a way that the insides of these, after the extension, could be turned into a living space. Such an object would need just a minimal maintenance cost which could be partially paid through the rental of its advert space.
I like that this is solution oriented.
via OUR TIME
Artists Kenji Nakayama & Christopher Hope have started a “Homeless Sign Exchange”. They pay homeless people for their original signs (I don’t know how much) and then do a sign makeover.
The end result is the homeless person’s words in stylized typography on a shiny new sign. Basically , a sign any hipster would be proud to display.
April 2013, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Feb. 2013, Central Square, Cambridge, MA
Name: Angela Douyon-Previlon
Read Angela’s story here.
Frank, February 2012. I-93 off-ramp near South Station.
“Frank is 74 years old. He has been homeless for twenty-two years in Boston, where he also grew up. Before living on the streets, Frank was in jail for theft. He says that since he has been sober, he “has been out of trouble.” When I told him I would stop by again soon, he told me that it wasn’t necessary—“you don’t have to buy a sign anymore!” He spends his days and nights near South Station. “
So, let’s talk about this.
The signs look great. But how does this work as activism? Are the homeless people benefitting from these “makeovers”?
Initially, I thought the motive of the project was for the signs to work basically as an eye catching ad. With the new signs, people are obviously more inclined to look and read them, possibly motivating them to donate some money to the sign holder. In a post on tumblr, one artist says, “The first phase of this project has never been about “increasing the money” they get from the new signs. We pay them for their original signs, and I help many of them try to find housing and work in the Boston area. But in fact, many of the homeless individual’s original signs in our project are not soliciting for money. The signs become an extension of each individual’s self-expression (since they contribute to the design and we use their original text), and act as an invitation to conversation. We as a society cannot solve homelessness without first humanizing the homeless. This means recognizing they are a historically excluded group that suffers great prejudice, in addition to knowing that the experience of homelessness is dehumanizing itself.
We ask for compassion, as people learn more about the reasons why people are actually homeless. Now, there is a strong possibility that the next phase of this project may explore more direct solution-oriented programming. So please stay tuned!
I don’t know if even Don Draper could create an ad campaign strong enough to change public stigmas about homelessness and homeless people. The personal stories shared on the tumblr page are important to hear and I do hope that some of these people get to tell their stories to people on the street as a result of the sign being a conversation starter.
But still…this idea that we need to makeover any element of the homeless population to “humanize” them is disturbing. Making homeless people look nicer and more approachable in some ways demeans the actual aspects of homelessness that are very ugly.
I see a lot of what I call Ivory Tower Activism and people with saviour complexes involved in “helping” homeless people. They see themselves as compassionate and helpful but are removed from the situation ,and often see themselves as elevated over the people they’re helping, even if they say they see everyone as equal. They themselves do not do a very good job at humanizing the people they are advocating for. When they speak about their activism, they refer to themselves a lot in regards to what THEY accomplished, not what the homeless person gained from advocacy. I know it’s a hard battle to fight in some cities where the policy makers and politicians can’t see that homelessness costs their city more money than if they did the right thing and created more housing and programs that get people off the street. I feel like a lot of people who refer to themselves as activists for the homeless do an incomplete job. They alleviate the symptoms of homelessness instead of focusing on ways to change policies and inspiring others to work to change the system as it is. I don’t want to hear people speak of their successes as a homeless activist if there is still homelessness where they are focusing efforts. Complete activism is hellbent on ENDING homelessness, not just being nice to homeless people and making sure they’re comfortable while homeless. Compassion & basic needs are certainly very important but providing these also has to exist alongside activism that moves towards solutions.
(I’m not saying these sign makeover people are like that. That was just a stray related rant because of very frustrating conversations I’ve had recently with homeless “activists”. )
And I’m glad the artist mentions that she does try to help them find housing but it’s a bit disingenuous. If someone is homeless, they have already tried to find housing and the system didn’t work to help them. People who do not want to be homeless have already tried to not be that way. At least it sounds like this project will hopefully lead to a more complete solution oriented activism.
One of my concerns here with the Homeless Signs project is the language used in reference to people. The most recent post is a memorial to a young homeless woman who died, Colleen. The artist referred to her as “nice but broken”. In an earlier post, the woman’s story is shared. She was a runaway and alludes to abuse as the cause of her running away. She became an addict .
Colleen was not broken. The situation that caused her to become homeless and an addict was what is broken. Society is broken. Colleen herself should be remembered as a nice young woman. Not but.
April 2013, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA *REST IN PEACE
Discussions I have had with other low income folks about dumpster diving, their concerns are primarily being arrested but these are all great tips that point out the privileges associated with dumpster diving. . Low wage earners at grocery stores and big box chains have lost their jobs over taking food from the dumpster and in some cases, the store will even press charges for “stealing”. One thing poor people absolutely cannot afford is being arrested.
There are very few community gardens that exist in commercial zones. In my local “green” city, I walk by so many commercial properties with landscaping space like this bank in Fayetteville, Arkansas that are either poorly tended or just have impractical shrubs and inedibles. Cities and businesses need to follow the Fayetteville example here.
When the article refers to it as a “high end co-op” , that makes me think that it’s another concept that won’t benefit low income people.
[D]oes it really matter who writes the stories, and who makes the decisions about deploying resources and presenting news? Yes, I think it does. Here’s one small example of why: Women who write are more likely, according to the study, to quote at least some women in their articles. That diversity of outlook and that range of voices are worth pursuing because it better reflects the world.
I think it matters,too.
There’s a kickass organization in NYC called The Robin Hood Foundation. Every penny donated goes to charity. Since it’s founding in 1988, they’ve contributed $1.45 billion to homeless shelters, food programs, soup kitchens, education, job training…if it helps fight poverty,they’re on it.
Of all the charities in NYC, they only work with 2%…those 2% being the ones proven to be effective at fighting poverty. The foundation is one every charitable org could learn from. This is how they do it.