Our Stories

My Perspective: by Jose

I’m a deaf man who became homeless through a marital separation. Through a deaf widow friend I was introduced to the Delonis Center, Washtenaw County’s “answer to homelessness.”  Just like a cow being added into a herd at a ranch, an employee put me “into the system”.

I met Jason, also a deaf man, at a cafeteria room. He was a member of Camp Take Notice. He explained to me what it is like being homeless. And  he explained to me what it is like being a member at Camp Take Notice — it is more than just a place to set up a tent – it is a community where people unite together to share their stories, their frustrations, their dreams, and to survive together.

Later Jason showed me the place where the CTN camp was. It was in the process of cleaning up and closing up the tents in response to MDOT’s eviction notice. The community was serene — looked like everyone knew what to do and was doing it, despite of their frustrations.  The temptation to cause chaos was great. Jason introduced me to several people there: Caleb, Tate, Ian and Bill, and a few others which I couldn’t put a name to their faces.  I was impressed that people conducted themselves peacefully.

Still later – Jason and I decided to go to a community dinner/ CTN meeting on a Sunday. We went to Peggy’s house. There were many CTN members present. The foods were delicious — obviously being catered in from a restaurant, food business or a church. I introduced myself and explained how I became homeless. People were polite and accepted me as a member of the CTN community. To my amazement, the meeting was “rolling smoothly” without disruptions or arguments. 

4 responses to “Our Stories

  1. If the camp no longer exists, how can there be campers?

    • Hi Peter,
      In a literal sense, there are some who are still trying to make it on there own in different wooded areas of Ann Arbor. (These people tend to be in a state of constant flux, being moved along by the police every so often.) In a more figurative sense, the camp still exists as those still committed to its success continue to meet every Sunday for socializing and organizing!
      Best, Laila

  2. And how is MISSION helping these individuals?

  3. Hi Peter, Ditto what Laila noted ; there are still “campers” in the literal sense of those camping out in tents or unsheltered in wooded areas, parks, empty lots etc. as we continue to search for a place where the community can be physically together. And yes, importantly, in the figurative sense the “camp” exists in the Camp Take Notice community that continues to come together for weekly meals and meetings, those working to support one another, and those committed to the continued success of this important resources (as well as advocate for the rights of houseless individuals in a community that increasingly criminalizes those with this status. In terms of what is MISSION doing, we continue to work with campers to get housing if possible, to provide resources needed for both those without housing and those newly housed, to look for alternative sites and the means to place a camp there, and to raise awareness of issues of homelessness in general and, more specifically, tent communities as a viable resource. Peace, Sheri

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