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.