In Your Backyard

In Your Backyard

Shaw: What’s next for homeless people after the storms?

The atmospheric rivers that slammed California for the past few weeks once again show how vulnerable homeless people are to the weather. High winds, flooding, rain and an evacuation order forced people to seek out safety from the elements, quickly filling Red Cross evacuation sites in San Jose. The storms highlight the type of services...

Shaw: The season of reflection

It’s that time of year again where we begin to gather with family and friends, put on extra pounds and spend way too much money. Its hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week, because the year has gone by so fast. But nevertheless, the holiday season is here, and it’s often when people take time...

Shaw: Homeless people need more care than shelters provide

How is a homeless shelter expected to maintain the health and well-being of individuals with a mental illness or emotional issues, when no doctors are on staff? How is a homeless shelter expected to ensure the safety and comfort of individuals who require respite care, when no nurses are on staff? How is a homeless...

Shaw: One person can make a difference when you’re homeless

Holidays became meaningless to me some time ago when I became homeless—especially the heavily commercialized ones. I saw them as glorified weekends that unrelentingly remind the homeless of what they’ve lost or what they don’t have. Thanksgiving to remind you of not having family or friends to break bread with. Christmas to remind you of...

Shaw: South Bay homeless shelter ignores COVID mask mandates

The best ways to protect people from contracting COVID is through vaccination and mask wearing. Getting vaccinated is your personal choice and no one can make you get it, but not getting vaccinated will severely affect your life if you plan to work and live around other people. However, wearing a mask is something that...

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...