Book Project - Homeless on Haight
We turned this into a book on Amazon!
So this is an idea I have for a book. When I first moved to San Francisco, I chatted with and wrote down a couple of stories from homeless people on this wiki site as "Without a home stories", and in Jan 2023, when I laid off from my job at Google (along with 12000 others), I realized I should have time to compile some of these stories into a book to help humanize the homeless. Working title: "Homeless on Haight".
Unlike my first book where I was the only author, I'm trying hard to get a few homeless people, including James Richardson to be co-authors with me... the book will also feature photos, so I might want people to help me take pictures too!
This is just a draft for the blurb BTW:
Haight-Ashbury, is the lively neighborhood in San Francisco made famous in the 1960s as the epicenter of the hippie movement and home to influential revolutionaries, musicians and cult leaders. Today, Haight street epitomizes San Francisco in a different way. It bustles with tourists and millionaire residents, who drink coffee, buy expensive vintage clothes and frown disapprovingly as they ignore or step over people who sleep on the street in the cold and rain. There are thousands of homeless people in San Francisco. This little book features photos and the fascinating stories of nine homeless people on Haight street.
Through photos and stories, this book hopes to help humanize the homeless. The invisible people of San Francisco. It encourages us all to be kinder and more aware of the fact that homelessness can happen to anyone. Most United States residents are just one or two unfortunate accidents or events away from being on the streets.
We hope you buy this book and help us spread the message of love and understanding. This book isn't about earning a dollar. It's about spreading love. If you have never sat down to hear the story of someone homeless, you might just be moved by what you hear.
How to Help
If you want to be part of this book, I'd love photos and stories from anyone homeless in the San Francisco area - especially if they base themselves near Haight street. Here are the questions I want to ask:
The formalities: Name (just a first name if not comfortable with a full name), Year of birth, City you were born and How to contact you.
- What is your story?
- Can you tell me a little more bit about you as a person?
- What was your childhood like?
- Were there any unfortunate life events that put you on the street?
- Can you tell me about your family?
- What are your aspirations?
- What's the hardest lesson you have learned on the streets?
- What's something you are proud of?
- What tips might you give someone newly homeless?
- Can I please take a photo of you?
... And here is that in a Google Doc that you can print and write it out....
When I first saw to San Francisco, I remember how shocked I was to see so many people sleeping out in the cold and the rain. And San Francisco gets extremely cold during the winter. I first moved to San Francisco in 2018 and started a little project called StrawberriesForSmiles.com where I'd give boxes with strawberries and socks to homeless people on my work to work... just to let these people know that they are not invisible to everyone. Sadly during the pandemic I stopped with the boxed, moved to Hawaii (as a friendly place to work remotely) and published my first books on Amazon (see: My Books). In 2022 I moved back to San Francisco for my job in Google Maps and in January 2023, after being laid off by Google, I decided to continue collecting stories... not a huge number.. but enough to create a book. I hope this book is something homeless people can sell in the streets and with the few dollars of profit from each book can order more books. Sadly I don't have much time to promote the book myself, but maybe it will end up in the hands of someone who decides to write their own book (since it's pretty easy) and make a wider difference. More importantly, for each book that I buy and give people in San Francisco, maybe - just maybe - they'll be a little kinder to homeless people. In a city where very few people smile, you might be surprised how far a "hello" or a basic smile might go to make people on the street feel seen.