Sisters of the Road – voices from the street (web database)

December 30, 2008 at 7:16 am 2 comments

I recently went with our regional organizers, Matt and Robin, and we met with Monica Beemer, the executive director from Sisters of The Road. They are a private non-profit that works with the homeless in Portland Oregon and we had lunch in their cafe. We just got over a snow storm here and it was pretty busy. We talked to a few of their customers, there are so many stereotypes of the homeless and near homeless, but I could not distinquish the people we talked to from anyone else you might talk to in any other cafe around town.

We talked to Monica about the work that they do, based around the cafe and community organizing, and the advocacy work they do and how it can tie in to the work that Bread does. 

They have put together a marvelous resource for anyone who wants to hear and learn from the homeless themselves. They conducted a serious of interviews of hundreds of people and loaded the responses they got onto a free searchable web database. You can browse information by category and issue or lookup specific keywords. After registering for a free account you have access to the experiences, conflicts, fears and hopes of people struggling to get by in a way that few of us can imagine. This resource is a bridge to understanding like none other that I have come across. The home page is at: http://www.sistersoftheroad.org/voices/ click the register tab to sign up for an account to access the database.

They have also produced a book summarizing these interviews called: Voices from the Street. The book has been nomiated for three prestigious awards, check it out on Amazon.com. They also conduct a few other interesting research projects.
As an advocate, I am always looking for stories and the perspectives of real people who live in poverty to give a realistic picture of what life is like and to counteract stereotypes. From the prospective of homelessness there may be no better guide. Sisters is an inspirational organization that has put together an amazing resource that I hope receives wide use.
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Oregon Enews Dec 2008 Enewsletter Jan 2009

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Robin  |  December 30, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Mike,

    What a great post. It was so nice to sit and have lunch at Sister’s and really isn’t the Eucharist about the sharing of bread with everyone and thus sharing Christ’s love? Besides that the food was really wonderful! Normally when you go out to eat you don’t get to share a table with a total stranger but leave friends. Sister’s is a very inspiring and unique place. I’m sure glad we got to experience that together. I agree with you that I hope people will delve into the richness of voice and humanity that Sister’s has put together in the interviews. It takes the idea of poverty out of the realm of a statistic or a cause but into a reality of lived lives. Very nice blog post!

    Reply
  • 2. Random T.  |  April 24, 2009 at 11:21 am

    My fellow on Orkut shared this link and I’m not dissapointed that I came here.

    Reply

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