I was very happy to be invited back to Indianapolis to speak at a public forum about homelessness, organised by students from Dr Larry Zimmerman and Dr Elizabeth Kryder-Reid’s 2011 “Issues in Cultural Heritage” class at Indiana University. The forum was hosted by the very impressive Indianapolis Central Library, a place many homeless people from the city use often.
Speakers at the event included Courtney Singleton whose Masters research focussed on homelessness and poverty in Indianapolis and Jessica Welch who has experienced homelessness herself and has now completed a degree in anthropology and psychology (IUPUI, 2008). A book created by the students that takes in much of Singleton’s research area can be viewed here http://www.bookemon.com/read-book/154505
It was encouraging that so many homeless people attended the forum and interesting to hear their views on homelessness and what might be done about it. What is clear is that although the root causes of homelessness would appear to differ between the UK and America, the survival strategies employed by homeless people remain very similar. Two of the homeless people Courtney worked with most closely, Amanda and Daniel, kindly offered to give us a tour of their camp this afternoon, which I’m very much looking forward to. Amanda and Daniel want to show us how things have changed since Courtney was there last and introduce her to some new members of the camp, people made homeless recently.