Blog Takes 'Humans of New York' Approach To Stories About Boise Homeless

Apr 8, 2016

Recent Boise State University media studies graduate Justin Doering has set out on a unique cross-country journey.

Through a blog he's calling "Fifty Sandwiches," Doering has set out to interview people experiencing homelessness. The blogger says the idea is to "close the gap between perception and reality" when it comes to what homeless individuals experience.

"I will be traveling city to city, offering to take homeless people out for a casual lunch in exchange for an interview. The interviews will begin with the telling of the ‘who’ the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. These interactions will be informal, resembling intimate discussions rather than an interview. As each chat progresses, these talks will evolve into a dynamic collection of life struggles, stories, and philosophies from a population that is rarely given a voice.

Each of our perspectives is formed through a lifelong road of challenges and obstacles experienced first-hand. With that said, the goal is not only to unveil these unheard perspectives, but to capture the story and reasonings behind them." - Justin Doering, Fifty Sandwiches blog

Although his goal is to interview people across the country, Doering is paying extra attention to those in the margins in Boise. One of the interviews on his blog is with a 44-year-old woman named Camille.

Camille recounts her battle with mental illness, which she says was triggered in part by sexual abuse she endured about 10 years ago. The blog interview highlights a barrier many homeless people encounter: Camille says she's saved up enough money for a deposit, but is unable to find rental housing because of her criminal record. But despite these significant roadblocks, Camille says she tries to stay positive. She's also active in civil life, campaigning at the Idaho statehouse for things like Add the Words.

In an email, Doering says he's been inspired by the popular Humans of New York blog. He's launching a Kickstarter campaign April 13 to fund the rest of the project, culminating in a book with voices from homeless people all over the U.S. Read more about the project here, and check out KBSX News coverage of homeless issues here. 

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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