For most people rain is a blessing or at the most a minor nuisance. But for the homeless population rain presents a huge obstacle and health threat. When you are homeless your life because a constant state of survival mode and water everywhere makes things much harder.
There are many ways a simple rain shower can make daily life harder for people experiencing homelessness. Below are ways in which it impacts their daily life and simple ways to help.
Wet clothing is a huge obstacle for people. Not only is it simply uncomfortable but it is a huge health risk factor. Wet clothing can caused infections, colds and other major health problems. Dry, clean socks are always a need for your local homeless community.
What little structures homeless people are permitted to build, or dry spaces they can inhabit are never water proof. Really bad storms can completely sweep away what few belongings they have. Other than this keeping their things dry using makeshift tarps or tents can be impossible. Protecting precious momentos like photos can become a monumental task. Oftentimes, homeless people will choose to pitch makeshift tents rather than go to shelters because they are strictly limited by the amount of belongings they can bring. The decision between keeping what's left of their previous life or a dry bed can be a difficult one to make.
Weathering the elements outdoors takes a huge toll on the human body. The water, wind and cold makes homeless people susceptible to illness.
Austin is prone to flash flooding. Areas most prone to flooding include along river banks which are common camping grounds for homeless people. Quick flowing flooding can wash away campsites and in worst cases sleeping people.
Crystal has been coming to AFTS Open Studio for more than 5 years and tries to attend once a week “so that I feel like I’m doing something - life’s not just passing me by. I have something to look forward to.”
“Life can draw you away from your real talent, and AFTS helped me rediscover an old talent. [AFTS] gave me the opportunity to rekindle that talent.”
During these times of lock down, social distancing and increasingly less human connection, we are determined to bring our artists and others experiencing homelessness an opportunity for self-expression and creative relief to combat the increasing risk of depression and isolation.