Search

The Face of Homelessness

When we think about homelessness, the media, over the years, has put an image in our minds. We carry that image of what homeless people look like with us, allowing it to influence us. But, have you ever stopped, I mean really stopped, to take a look at the face of homelessness?


Maybe it would surprise you, if you were volunteering at Hospitality House, serving a meal in our community kitchen, when a small child (barely big enough to peer over the counter) carries a plate through the line and points at the spaghetti you made. Then, with a big smile on her face, asks for a bowl of fruit to go with it. As you watch that child take a seat next to her visibly strained, exhausted parent, you notice the child is dressed in her pajamas, ready for bed, like most other children her age. Except, she's not sleeping in her own bedroom - or even her own bed.


Then, as you focus once again on the serving line, here come two teenagers pushing, laughing and bouncing up in front of you with plates. They watch as you measure out the next servings, their eyes looking down at the pan, willing you to add just one more scoop of spaghetti to their plates. They look just like the kids your grandson goes to school with.

People continue to stream through the line, some smiling and saying “thank you” as you place the piping hot pasta on their plates, some not making eye contact at all because, in their world, trust is not easy.


As the line begins to thin out, you hear someone say, “hurry up buddy, we don’t have all night.” A man, who looks to be disabled, is pushing his walker slowly through the line, trying to hold his plate and silverware with one hand. He reaches your spot, looks up at you with watery eyes and says, “I will have some, if you don’t mind.” You look around to see who is helping him, then you realize that he is alone. As you fill his plate with spaghetti you wonder, “How did this man, who should be living in a nursing home, end up homeless? What could have happened?”


This is what homelessness looks like.


This is the face of homelessness in the rural mountain counties of Northwest North Carolina.


When you come through the doors of Hospitality House, you will see these faces; the faces of people who have experienced economic hardship, sickness and sometimes mental illness that has gone untreated for years.


You will see teenagers who aged out of the foster care system.


You will see survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking and domestic violence.


You will see elderly men and women, tossed aside by their families for being a burden.


You will see children who are longing for a place to call home again.


And you will see hope. You will see solutions. You will see success. You will see personal victories.


And you will look directly into the face (and eyes and heart) of homelessness.


Come see us sometime,


Tina B. Krause

Executive Director

Hospitality House of Northwest N.C.








116 views

CONTACT 

828-264-1237

Street: 338 Brook Hollow Road

Mail: PO Box 309

Boone, NC, 28607

youtube-subscribe-video-png-29.png
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Hospitality House, a regional nonprofit transitional living facility and crisis assistance resource center, serves seven rural North Carolina counties (Watauga, Wilkes, Ashe, Avery, Alleghany, Mitchell, and Yancey) providing housing, prevention, and nutrition. Since 1984, the mission of Hospitality House has been to rebuild lives and strengthen community by providing a safe, nurturing, healthy environment in which individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty-related crises are equipped to become self-sufficient and productive. Federal Tax ID 56-1442966.

Non-Discrimination Policy: Hospitality House does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, class, income status, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients. As an intern you are expected to represent the Hospitality House and adhere to our Non-Discrimination Policy. 

© 2020 by Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina. Created with Wix.com