In Your Backyard

In Your Backyard

Shaw: Words are powerful

Words are powerful. They transform everything about us, through us. I remember hearing the phrase “keeping your word” when I was a kid, and that used to really mean something. If you agreed to do something, then you did it, no matter the circumstances. But nowadays, words seem to just be a means of expressing...

Shaw: No one chooses to be homeless in Silicon Valley

There’s nothing good about being homeless. It’s a hard and exhausting way to live. Most people aren’t able to imagine what living on the streets is like. Lately there’s been an uptick in the number of clients residing at the Sunnyvale shelter, as solutions to the pandemic increase. I’ve seen individuals come in from hospitals,...

Martin: Coming to terms with mental illness, addiction, homelessness

Mental illness is not always hereditary. It’s usually a combination of genetic changes and environmental factors that determines if someone will develop a disorder — and this is true for homeless people. Research and cellular biology has shown that about 5% of diseases are genetically determined, whereas the remaining 95% are environmentally based. This makes...

Ponciano: The homeless and recently unhoused just want — and deserve — to be seen as people

In my experience, community organizers, activists and entry-level employees of community-based organizations age like dogs. I’ve been all three, and I feel like a modern-day Methuselah just five short years later. In my time here, I’ve shared in the joy of significant policy wins. I’ve marveled at the absurdity of the inequity in our community....

Shaw: Santa Clara County needs sober shelters

This summer, I was fortunate to be chosen to be on the Unhoused Task Force, whose purpose is to formulate emergency solutions to aid with the homeless crisis Santa Clara County is facing. Improving the quality of life for individuals who are living unsheltered — those in encampments, on the street, in parks, under freeways,...

Eckhart: The painful path to homelessness

I was asked to write a short story about my experience in the military and then take that experience and write a quick couple of paragraphs on my experience as a homeless vet. I can’t do that easily because we are talking about two different times in my life. I went into the military right...

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