One of the most important hallmarks of my new book HOMELESS is that it is a reflection of ethnographic work, which includes the people who stood beside me during this journey. It was hard at times, and at other times it was worse, but we kept our heads above water in order to survive the onslaught of government cuts to social service programs, but especially the effects of unintended consequences from legislation on people from the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum; some programs were meant to help, others were passed without care for this particular group. The following are the heartfelt acknowledgements contained at the beginning of HOMELESS for without these people beside me, the journey would never have been so sweet.
Many thanks to the dear friends I made as the Executive Director of St. Henry Community Center, Nature Coast Ministries, but especially Daystar Life Center of Citrus County. While directing these agencies I was afforded the unique experience of sharing daily challenges with people who were hit hardest by the downside of life. Some faced the horrible state of homelessness, but others faced the exhaustive battle to make ends meet on minimum wage and job loss. They became, in my eyes, real warriors who fought against economic injustice day in and day out while managing to keep their dignity intact. Their struggles made them kind and loving beings beyond their own recognition.
I also must thank and remember my fellow advocates, Kathleen, Nora, Marianne, Linda, Bonnie, Beverly, Marty, Nancy and Charles, along with the countless volunteers who walked with us every day. Your love and respect for humanity made this journey an adventure of a lifetime and I am deeply grateful.
I would be remiss if I neglected to mention in this article the three men who were the primary inspiration for Homeless, and to whom this book has been dedicated. They are (and I will only credit them by first names and if you read the book you will find out why) Mike, Mark, and Mac. These men struggle with homelessness, but continually give back to the homeless community by volunteering for various social agencies. Their stories are humbling and inspiring and I thank them for accepting me into their circle. With all my love and respect, guys, this book is in honor of you.