Convert Bus Benches into Homeless Shelters?

By | Apr 20, 2015

Vancouver bench/shelter

A “homeless-looking” man sleeping on a bus bench is certainly one of the many stereotypical images of homelessness in this country.

Of course, if I were homeless, I would look for the most convenient location to sleep at night—like a bus bench made of wood.  A cold, hard concrete sidewalk would not be my first preference.

Some cities, however, view people sleeping on their bus benches as a nuisance. They believe that these benches should be used by people waiting to ride the bus, not for people looking for a place to sleep. As a result, these jurisdictions design benches with metal dividers or with a curved-shape, so that the bench cannot be used as a bed. This removes the need for a sign that states: “No sleeping, only sitting.”

Vancouver, however, has decided to pursue an alternative solution to the dilemma of people sleeping on their bus benches. If homeless people are going to sleep on these bus shelters, then why not make them actual homeless shelters?

A local advocacy group, along with an advertising agency, decided to create a bus bench, which operates as a typical bus bench during the day. But then at night, part of the bench lifts up to become a roof, or a shelter, for people who need a place to sleep. It becomes a pop-up homeless shelter for one. Read More »

Using Stereotypical Images of Homelessness to Raise Money

By | Mar 30, 2015 | Comments Off

Do we market our agencies at any cost—even if it means reinforcing inaccurate stereotypes of homelessness?

By | Mar 23, 2015
For the past five years, the federal government has been implementing a courageous and visionary initiative to end homelessness for this country’s veterans, chronically homeless individuals, and families.
By | Mar 2, 2015
This piece is not about supporting homeless shelter programs over permanent supportive housing.
By | Feb 17, 2015
Years ago, I was part of a small group of leaders who toured the notorious Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail, which was home to 19,000 inmates last year.
By | Feb 9, 2015
Four years ago, I wrote a piece on this country’s bi-annual homeless count, entitled, “Are Homeless Counts Like Counting Sheep?” I have reposted the article below.
By | Feb 3, 2015
I met Sherial in the spring of 2012.