157. Signs of Change?



Rescue Mission Ministries Billboard Campaign in Denver.(The word “homeless” is composed of 143 individual portraits of actual Denver homeless,shot over a four week period. Two weeks later, half the faces in “less” are gone.Two weeks after that, only the faces in “Home” are left.Just like what the Denver Rescue Mission hopes to accomplish for its clients; putting them in a home.)


As I was on my  commute this morning I was tuned into the national news on the radio listening to the myriad of problems our nation faces.  The list of problems that America  faces is daunting to say the least. We are facing  economic hardships on the domestic front, our situation in Iraq is without resolution, we have environmental issues that need our immediate attention & a need for healthcare reform, to name just a few. It’s really easy to sit back and depend on our government to be the ones that make the change in so many of the issues that need addressing in this country.The average citizen often feels incapable of making a difference and our complacency or apathy can be further contribute to problems.


Just as I was engaged in such thoughts I glanced up and saw a sign that reminded me of the power that  individuals can have  in making a difference in the needed changes in our country. I usually don’t pay much attention to the billboards along the interstate as they are the all too familiar advertisements that I have seen hundreds of times before, but this one certainly caught my eye. This was a full sized billboard with a picture of a man’s face and the caption “Homeless”. It was an advertisement about homelessness sponsored by The Rescue Mission. Yes indeed, this is certainly a sign of our current economic times and the fact that people were viewing this billboard  along a major interstate brought a smile to my face. Marketing this social issue to the public is a great way to raise awareness about the growing number of homeless citizens throughout our nation….this is a change from the status quo and a step in the right direction.


I don’t really think many people ever give much thought to the homeless population. When people do encounter  someone who is homeless the focus seems to be on the outward appearance of the person without much thought to the actual person behind the clothing. It’s a natural reaction to personalize experiences in life and when we see someone who is living without a home many people’s reaction is a negative one, afterall, who wants to live without a place to go home to at the end of the night?  However, for those who stop to think a bit more about what this homeless person represents the revelations about being homeless can be quite profound. For example, our homeless citizens are often seen sleeping in public or set up camps to survive and this is all too often criticized. But if people actually think about what it would be like to camp out for just not just a weekend but for days, weeks, months, doesn’t this instill a sense of compassion for those who live this way? The demograhic of the homeless population certainly might surprise those who are uneducated  on this topic. We have veterans,friends, mothers,fathers,sisters,brothers and children who face life without a home on a daily basis in this country. When you look beyond the stereotype of homelessness, we can see that these people are just people like the rest of us.When I personalize what a homeless person endures it certainly  promotes my belief in  the need for change in how we support those without a home in our community.


All too often we focus on the negative without giving credit to the positive steps made on various issues. Rescue  Mission certainly deserves credit for this national campaign  in raising awareness about homelessness throughout our country. Who knows who might see these billboards and decide to adopt this as a cause ? It is  ideas like this that get changes started…it’s up to each of us to decide to help with these changes through our understanding  of homelessness  and individual support. There are indeed signs of changes around …please be part of these changes through awareness and support of the homeless in your communities.



















1 Response to “157. Signs of Change?”

  1. June 21, 2008 at 8:05 am

    “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”
    – Mark Twain –

    It is all too easy for us to come to conclusions about the homeless based purely on, either their appearance or stereotypes. Moreover, we tend to pass judgement on all of the homeless because of the mis-behavior of the few who are “troublemakers.” This makes it difficult for us to imagine that there is humanity beneath the often times dishevelled appearance of those homeless we chance to see.

    All the more reason for us to adjust the focus of what we “think” we see.

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