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  • Writer's pictureChurch@thePark

HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS


This is Jason.


For those of you that came to our first Humanity of Homelessness Storytelling event, you’ll remember Jason.


On the night of March 28th, Jason awoke to the sound of screeching tires and screams when a drunk driver plowed through his camp of houseless sleeping friends. A tragedy that touched Jason so personally that he organized a memorial among those living on the streets. With assistance from Church at the Park, Jason designed and distributed flyers around camps, parks and local gatherings inviting those without voice to come grieve the loss of the four people who died that night. He gathered donations in nickels, quarters and occasionally dollars until having enough to buy flowers to place among the tree stump memorial.


The day of the memorial, Jason was surprised by the amount of housed Salem community members that showed up. There were Council members, faith groups, caring citizens and more that showed up to offer presence, support and comfort. Having been in a cycle of homelessness, he had lost faith that anybody cared and accepted his caste as fate. Yet, community presence and compassion shifted his belief and inspired him to believe that there are those who care and are willing to embrace those experiencing crisis. Inspired, Jason wanted to not only get off the streets for good but also help his peers along the way.


Since then, he has enrolled in Chemeketa to become a welder, started working at Subway and is months into a new sobriety. He has been volunteering to help others and has been sharing his story publicly to both have voice and contribute to a rising awareness for the humanity of those who live without shelter in our city. While Jason often credits the support of C@P and others for his inspiration, it is we who are inspired by him and his journey.


 

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