Housing

By Tim Schilling

Would anyone like to live next to a sewage plant? No, probably not, which is why we have the technique of zoning. Zoning allows us to map out our cities and towns. It is why many people don’t live near a sewage plant, or why many residential areas are separated from businesses; because we want our space between the smell of a sewage plant and the traffic of people in businesses.
Zoning is a good idea, but when it goes too far, it can hurt more than it helps. Exclusionary zoning is what happens when a zoning plan gets too expensive, making the land or buildings too expensive for many people. Many times they are minorities, as shown in the conflict in Mount Laruel, New Jersey. Segregation occurred between the people wanting to move in the area for a new beginning and the people that already live there. The fear of crime, disease, pollution, increased traffic and low resell value of properties and houses are a few reasons why many residents of Mount Laurel didn’t want this zoning plan to move forward. However, this wasn’t the case here or anywhere else similar events like this have happened.
“Housing is the foundation for opportunity,” says David Fink, policy director of Partnership for Strong Communities. When the houses were built in Mount Laruel and low income residents began to move in, none of the fears of the current residents ever came to be a reality. Schools were improved, as well as an increased number of jobs for its citizens. It was a win-win for “both sides,” whatever that means. Mount Laurel, and all cases similar to it, give the underdogs a chance at new opportunities, and in this case it all started with the building of an affordable house.

Friendship Services Center

Friendship Services Center:
by adam tulloch
During the visit to the friendship center I heard a good amount of stories for the residents of the facility. Inequality can strike someone’s life at anytime when they least expect it. The workers at the facility put in some much time in helping these residents showing me that there are some really good human beings the more in tune they are about everyone’s situation the more they can connect and guide them on to a more suitable lifestyle. Mr. Reggie a life time resident of New Britain was an interesting man, been a resident from the start of the program he had a lot of insight about being a resident. The program is designed to house individuals or family who have come on hard times a temporary place that will help them get back on there feet and them try and make room for another person who also has no where to go.
The director of the program explained about fun raisers that they do to help spread awareness of homelessness. One particular event was hoops for the homeless, my manager at Recentral is apart of running this event and I came to captured that event with photography and videography. Capturing the event I thought I was shooting nothing major didn’t expect to get much for doing it. The friendship center sent me a letter of acknowledgement of the work I had done that day saying that the images was excellent enough to help raise $1000 scholarship for someone less fortunate I prided myself after that thank you letter knowing my images made a difference in someone’s life.
We reached the second building meeting and we met Gary and his story was pretty unfortunate coming from being a teacher then falling into the situation he is in now. Gary’s story made me really think that anything can happen, even with a proper education you can still take a wrong turn in life lose everything you worked hard for. Gary I hope finishes his book and it becomes a big success getting him right back on his feet and he can pick up where he left off. Lauran one of the workers there provided the most details about her job all the different cases along with her feeling of what she thinks when she gets home form work the feeling of is she really making a difference or is her efforts being wasted. What I respect about her a lot is she is still fighting for these people and came off as someone that will never give up on someone even though they gave up on themselves. Overall experience was great it is good to know there are programs like this around fighting for the people people who cant fight for themselves.

Middle Class

Middle Class
By adam Tulloch
The Middle Class is characterized as having a reasonable amount of discretionary income, so that they do not live hand to mouth as the poor do. The Middle class is the beginning at the point where people have roughly a third of their income left for discretionary spending after paying for basic food and shelter. I grow up in the middle class, I wasn’t fortunate enough to have everything all the kids had but made the best out of everything. Most people come from the middle class at some point many who are successful started there. Being in the middle class is not necessarily a bad thing a lot of good can come from living in that class.
The Middle class can get by just fine on the wages they live with they have their privacy, most like to be left alone. It should be a goal to try and move out of the middle class and pursue something that has the potential to help you accomplish that. Being poor there’s limited options to live comfortably your in a bad spot and things are not going to go the way you want it to. As member of the middle class everyone has a chance to change how there social economic status is not holding back on goals. There are a lot of days that pass by and one of things that make a goal worth pursuing is that there is more then enough time to accomplish it.
Living in the middle class I figured out there is more to life then a nine to five job. You work to live comfortable it may not be the something you like but it pays the bills. During the time of a twenty-four hour day your job takes an average of eight hours there is sixteen extra hours to try something anything. As time goes by there is always a new chance of finding more income, pursuing a dream, trying something different, and exploring every inch of a persons imagination.

Trip to Friendship Service Center by Michelle Guerrero

“Arriving at 85 Arch St” said Siri. Brick buildings and quite spartan businesses surround us.

A woman holding a Chucky doll greets me. She smiles; you can tell by her teeth she had poor hygiene.
I stand in front of the “Friendship Service Center” feeling a bit nervous. My perception of the homeless is product of a stereotype. Unhealthy, addictions, no clothes, filthiness are words that cross through my mind when I hear homelessness. I blame myself for such ignorance.

A woman who shows her hard work through her physical appearance introduces us, the classroom, to her diverse staff. We are given a small introduction to the office work that is done. One thing that captured my attention was when Julian, a tall man who has been working there for about a year, tell us he has about 7 clients he is working with. His boss exclaims “Julian you have been trained well, tell them the truth!” So he says “about 16 clients.” Why did he lie? Why is it bad to have more clients? That question still lingers in my mind.

We proceed into an elevator which smell reminds me of Ramen noodles. The place looks clean and it seems quiet. We are welcomed into a man’s apartment. They call him “The Mayor” he was funny and welcoming. What a place this man has, I thought, when I entered his apartment. The man has great taste in decoration. He looked comfortable in fact maybe a little too comfortable. I noticed the Mayor had no intentions of leaving that place “I ain’t going nowhere” he said.

This made me realize that some people who find themselves in homelessness and who have been lucky with governments support, will feel comfortable with the situation they have been put in. They have everything they need and feel no ambition to progress. That is an issue that all human beings have. We get comfortable and we will not take actions that may take us somewhere better because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable.

Not that I disagree with the government providing for those in need, I disagree with those who expect more and more things to be given to them.

We visited another man, he suffers of anxiety and he was kind enough to let us in his home. He gave me a reality check. This man is a Wesleyan graduate student and was a professor at a university in Florida. What is he doing here? He had a breakdown, that’s all it took for him to loose it all. We can loose it too.

I learned a lot about this trip in fact I am grateful I had the opportunity to go. I know I only saw a small part of these people’s lives and it probably is only the best that has happened to them. I can’t even imagine the situation they may have been in before the shelter. Although they are given a push you can tell their minds are haunted with stress and uncertainty of what is going to happen next. Sane or insane there is only a thin thread separating us from falling into homelessness.

Unfortunately, we know the solution to this problem but those with power who tell us what and how to perform will not allow anyone to take action, for the mere fact that it will not benefit them.

Friendship Service Center

By Tim Schilling

Since graduating high school, I have been saving up money in order to move to California, my dream since as long as I can remember, to work in film. When I had a serious talk about it with my parents one night, my father told me how incredibly difficult it would be to not only break into the industry, but to also live on my own across the country and having to deal with “all the things you don’t see on the news.” He said that I have been too sheltered living where I do and how I have been raised my entire life. I brushed it off and thought that with a few friends, we can totally move across country to really start our lives.
I have never really seen homelessness in my life before. The only things I have seen about it are what is portrayed in the movies or on TV (thanks Hollywood. The irony) or what is shown on the internet. After going to the Friendship Service Center in New Britain, I can now see why my dad said that I have been too sheltered my entire life.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first walked into the building. Was it going to be dirty? Was it going to smell? Were there going to be people, kids, asking me for change? That’s what is shown in movies and TV all the time. The stereotype for the homeless, you could say. After given a tour of a few apartments in the building and meeting some of the residents that live there, I realized that almost everything I knew about homelessness was constructed solely on what I have seen in movies and on TV. The building was clean and smelled just like any other building. The staff was friendly and seemed to be always smiling, despite the rather depressing environment that they work in.
The residents weren’t anything I was expecting. Everyone was rather normal. I had expected to see people begging, screaming, for food or for help (again, thanks Hollywood stereotyping). But not much was even going on. Maybe we had gone on a slow day. The dining hall, mostly filled with minorities and a few children, was just as tame. Everyone was in the room, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.
So in the end, my father was right. I am very sheltered, and this was really the first experience I have ever had with something that “you don’t see on the news.” It makes me nervous that in California, where as an aspiring filmmaker, things like this happen all the time to people who have the same dreams as me (or is that just the movies and TV talking again?).

Who is Homeless

Throughout time, homelessness has been, and always will be in the foreseeable future, a tough subject for society to tackle. The negative stigma attached to being homeless gives the homeless little to no chance of changing their situation. Being exposed to the world and business of the homeless in the previous week, I was thrown into a whirl of emotions and empathy. During our stay and our glimpse into the world of homeless, we met individuals whom did not seem “homeless” and could fit into society just as easily as any of us. Previous of actually going to the homeless shelter, having no experience with the homeless, I expected the worse I could imagine.

I expected to see drug addicts and individuals whom looked war torn. What I got were mothers with their children, hard working individuals, and a professor, whom had a Master’s Degree in American History, all down on their luck. I had remember meeting the professor and thinking “Wow anyone can be homeless”, as this thought crossed my mind, a man with an iPhone whom looked like he just got out of work in a construction site happened to pass. As he passed I thought, “Even this random guy”. As the tour continued, the hard working construction worker passed us and proceeded to his room in the homeless shelter, blowing my mind in the process. The whole experience was eye opening. I believed, like many other Americans, that being homeless was solely on the individual’s shoulders and it was their duty to pick up their shoulders and rise from the depths of homelessness. This idea was shattered. The people whom we encountered were not there because they wanted to, because it was convenient or because it was they were lazy; they were aware of negative connotation of being homeless but had no other choice.

Upon our arrival at the sheltie, the workers at the shelter began to vent towards us about how they are grateful that Connecticut is putting homelessness as a priority but the solution is still very young and needed more to mature. For instance, Connecticut has put in a system where any individual can call the number 211 to have an evaluation over the phone so they would be able to put the individual in the appropriate shelter. This sounds like a good system but this system has many problems that are in dire need of fixing. First it requires a phone, the assessment over the phone can take over 45 minutes, and after the assessment, there is a meeting that is required that could take place in a neighboring town and as long as one month away. These are just a few of the problems that have surfaced.

This experience humanized the idea of being homeless and how this is not THEIR problem but its EVERYONE’S problem.

Shelter trip

The trip I went to as a class to a New Britain Homeless shelter was bittersweet in a way. It was educational and informative but on the other hand it was sad and concerning. The educational side was a gray learning experience about how a shelter operates, the internal infrastructure and everyday schedule of staff and residents.
The sad and concerning part that im sure we all felt, especially the parents, was the fact that children call this shelter home and what we visit as a class is a hard reality what they call home. I felt very awkward and embarrassed walking into the dining area, being introduced as a class. I felt like I was being looked at as an observer to a low class facility, like a rich man visiting a poor neighborhood while the community looked on.
My most interesting observation I noticed was a college educated man hold a masters degree which past work included being an educator, renting out a room at a homeless shelter on disability. I know we all were wondering how this could of happened and since no one mentioned it I asked the hard question, how? His answer was not believable to me, i am sure there were many factors besides his answer that the recession brought him to the bottom. In my personal opinion, I suspect Mental Illness and substance abuse being in the equation of his downfall in life.
One serious question I took home with me was how safe are children in a shelter housing all types of people with all types of problems? During the visit I was informed children/families were kept separate where they spent time and slept as opposed to people with no children. Even though they are separated children still come into contact the the general community of the residents and it is very concerning to me.
One thing I learned about this visit is the very surreal effects and results of inequality of our community. It is very easy to go home and forget about this problem but what about the people who constantly live in it and have no immediate escape? This trip defiantly puts into my head the importance of inequality and the strong efforts of many women and men who come to the need of people who are going through a severe struggle. It highlights important facts of the world we live in and what we can do to help.

Pedro R

My trip to the Friendship Center in New Britian CT by Jamoy Thomson

Last week I endured an unforgettable journey. Our class sought out inequality in America. We visited the friendship center in New Brittan CT. The friendship center all in all is a homeless, and a supported housing shelter for families who face economic challenges. This friendship center hosted dormitory services for men women and children. As we were lectured by a case manager of the residents (nameless woman) we detoured the resident’s way to the dining hall to get supper. It was about five o clock in the evening. Was this the last time they would eat for the night? Many thoughts roamed through my head; from being able to have the luxury of walking to your own kitchen barely clothed and grabbing a snack, this was taken away from these people and their families. The most shocking thing were the amounts of regular people you would see daily. A child wanting to ride his scooter, a man with a clean haircut, people with cell phones and I think I may have seen a hand held tablet device. We were prohibited from viewing the dormitories of the building but the building was about five years old in mint condition. While we were invading their living space, the residents (don’t mean to label) carried on as they would usually. There was a little boy about eight years who ran through our little seminar we were having and proceeded to go ride his scooter. The moment that has vividly imprinted my memory was when we all first walked in. A women who was in the dining hall (on her mobile device) felt the need to convince us that we shouldn’t be scared. She made comments that suggested we were judging her. When in all actuality we were just trying to take the experience in.
We proceeded to the next building for supported housing. These modernly designed units proved my expectations wrong! We were welcomed in by a man. This man suffered from severe anxiety, depression and somewhat of a speech disorder. I later learned that he had his master’s degree and was formerly a history teacher. Although I don’t know the exact reason this man had become homeless, I do know that this is an example of the inequality in America. One day you can have it all and at ANY GIVEN MOMENT IT CAN BE TAKEN AWAY. He is one of the few fortunate people to have support. But there are many other people who are in an unfortunate situation, like being homeless.

Unbelievable

Ashleyris Santos
COMM 345-70
10/20/2014
Blog #5

Unbelievable
When you imagine a homeless shelter, do you believe that the living standards are horrible or it’s less of a place? Well I was wrong, it was unbelievable the scenery that I have experienced in the field trip to The Friendship Center in New Britain. I was honored to meet the director of the Friendship Center, Ellen Perkins Simpson and a case manager Julian. Julian gave us a tour of what he does for work, a view of peoples homes, and the different units they work with.
To begin with, before I entered the building I really had a different aspect of how homeless shelter looks like. In all honestly, I was a little nervous. My thoughts of the homeless shelters was totally opposite of what I have seen. I visualized the shelters being really dirty and rooms really tiny. When Julian started the tour we meet Mr. Reggie. Mr. Reggie was a humble, respectable and generous person who allowed us to take a look around his apartment and tell us a little about his story. He even played the keyboard for us as we were on our way out. Mr. Reggie is a member of the program in the Friendship Center and was the first one on the list to get a place to live. As I started to walk in his apartment I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that Mr. Reggie was living in a beautiful and well stabled apartment. Mr. Reggie became homeless because of the use of alcohol.
Secondly, we visited Gary in his enormous apartment. Gary was also homeless and has been with the Friendship Center program for about a year. Gary graduated college with a Master’s degree and taught High school and College English for quit some time. He is now in the process of writing an autobiography about what his life was and what he had accomplished.
Lastly, we went the shelter down the road. Julian introduced us to Jennifer who worked and is familiar with that building. She gave us a quick run around the cafe and spoke to us about the ups an down of the shelter. I have learned in that one hour of the trip that everyone has a different story to why they end up in shelters. It made me value the things I have now, like a roof over my head. This experience was a big eye opener that people can start off strong in life and just lose it all in a heart beat like Gary. I’m grateful to have met Julian, Jennifer and Ellen. They have taught me a lot and totally changed my ways of viewing life.