About Me & Contact

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Contact Me

Questions about the Kickstarter or project? Ideas? Criticism? Suggestions to the project? Directions? Relationship advice? Whatever it may be, contact me! Be sure to follow on Insta & Twitter for project updates and stories!

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Who are you?

Me? I’m a nobody, a middle man. These aren’t my stories or my experiences. I’m just the medium through which they are told.


Alright, but how can we trust you are the best person for the job?

If I have to discuss myself in anyway, it will only be to booster confidence that I can in fact pull this off. Afterall, a three month, 13,000+ mile cross country trip dedicated to interviewing homeless people and successfully presenting their stories to the public is no easy task.

In short, I am a recent graduate of Boise State University, majoring in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism. I wrote for Boise State’s newspaper, The Arbiter, and have had a few pieces in other publications. Though I primarily photograph nature, I know my way around a camera. I am fluent in the interviewing process and am confident in my ability to get people to open up about their personal life. Please allow my interviews thus far to quell your doubts.


This idea of traveling throughout the nation to transform the public’s view of homelessness has been waiting patiently on my to-do list for more than six years.  I have had an extreme interest in homelessness, specifically perceptions of homelessness, since I was in high school. Throughout my education, I have taken every opportunity possible to focus my projects on homelessness and the public’s misconceptions regarding the homeless population.

It is not an overstatement to expect this trip to be a major life-changing experience. I like to think my senses for adventure are untamed, restrained only by budgetary measures. This life offers an endless buffet of remarkable experiences and I’m not here just to have a taste. The idea of tossing a mattress in a van and traveling the country with the purpose of getting beat over the head endlessly with culture-shock excites me to no end.


As stated, this idea has been evolving in my head for years, sharpening its nails and scratching at my conscious. This is my project. Everything I have to offer will be put into this. There is no doubt in my mind that I will not be able to succeed and show the collective population that there is more to homelessness than portraits of tattered faces and simplified statistics.

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. Jaime Vega says:

    You are a great human. Most do not understand that we are all here for others. That’s it. Keep on doing what you’re doing. God Bless you and all you meet.

    Like

  2. David Ca Parrish says:

    If you are coming through Colorado Springs, Colorado I know someone who has been homeless for four years living out if their vehicle with their dog you could interview.

    Like

  3. Beautiful way to live life on mission Justin.

    Like

  4. Feed and Grow Rich says:

    beautiful way to live life on mission Justin…

    Like

  5. Kristen Daniel says:

    Justin, please contact me about your San Francisco leg. I am a teacher at a Quaker school in SF where our 8th graders do a yearlong study of homelessness…would love to have you come and speak and also show you the encampments near our school in the Mission.

    Like

  6. Kenneth Engelhardt says:

    How can I get the complete Isabel Rosa Aurujo interview? Can you e-mail it to me?

    Like

  7. I like the project. Keep posting!

    Like

  8. Amy says:

    Justin, I think what you are doing is great!! I hope it sheds light on the ever growing problem America is facing today. Not everyone homeless is just a “loser”. I worked security at a homeless shelter for years and what I experienced was forever life changing. I will go on record to say – a very large percentage have mental problems. Without getting these people the help they really need to function in society – which we don’t – it’ll be a losing battle. And I should mention, it was almost 30 years ago I worked there. And things just have gotten worse. Good luck to your cause. I hope you have some impact.

    Like

  9. tom says:

    good luck with this project but remember the ‘hidden homeless’ rarely get covered…but that i mean those people who work and hide their homelessness- hard to find these people and therefore the general assumption is the homeless are all druggies and lazy beggars- try your best to access these people

    Like

  10. Cosima Lux says:

    Hey there
    Your mission touches me. I am so very glad you are listening. This may have come from dimple curiosity, but your impact will be much greater than those you are already helping by lending your ear and translating their stories.

    It might be interesting for you to check out Humanekind projects;
    doing similiar work to you in a slightly different way 🙂 but with the same goals. If you pass through Denver I’d be happy to bring you to one of our block parties with the homeless or introduce you to our founder Kenneth, whom I think you would definitely connect with.
    Cheers to you, Cosima

    Like

  11. Cosima Lux says:

    Hey there
    Your mission touches me. I am so very glad you are listening. This may have come from simple curiosity, but your impact will be much greater than those you are already helping by lending your ear and translating their stories.

    It might be interesting for you to check out Humanekind projects;
    doing similiar work to you in a slightly different way 🙂 but with the same goals. If you pass through Denver I’d be happy to bring you to one of our block parties with the homeless or introduce you to our founder Kenneth, whom I think you would definitely connect with.
    Cheers to you, Cosima

    Like

  12. Simply wish to say your article is as surprising.
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    Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

    Like

  13. Robin Myrman says:

    At some point in your book I think reference should be made to the families of the homeless. I suppose not in every case, but the ones I know of, the families of the homeless find themselves in a hellish position. It took over 13 years to get my drug addicted schizophrenic brother off the streets by finally being allowed to be his conservator. Because he “wasn’t a danger to himself or others” (even the time he had 6 dead baby possums that he was giving mouth to mouth to “bring them back”) it was impossible to help him. The criteria for getting help is insane. Finally after a complete nightmare he was held and medicated against his will and had 6 very good years on disability, in a home, had great relationships with his family and was so grateful to no longer be living in a nightmare. Until he went off his meds and started to use meth to “lose a little weight and just feel better”. Wonderful 6 years and as of this week he is homeless again and running screaming from his family because we are the objects of his delusions and are torturing him constantly. Wouldn’t it be great if I could call someone and get him picked up and given the help he would again be grateful for? No, it doesn’t work way and down into the trenches we go again.

    Like

  14. Tim says:

    Hey Justin! My name is Tim and I’m a deputy sheriff in Spokane county. I recently read your article in the CD’A press “Humanity for the Homeless” and I was definitely intrigued by your passion for the homeless. I see a lot of it while working my profession and have always had a heart for those who live on the street since I was a kid. You are very true to say it can happen to any of us. I’m fortunate for what I have but it’s only because of God’s grace I have these things. I do see the homeless just as I see everybody I come in contact with. The glory of my job is that I can actually stop and talk with them to give them hope. I know they listen not because I’m in uniform but because I care. I’m a huge advocate for mental health and drug rehab. Keep writing on this subject to bring more attention to the plight of the homeless because.

    Like

  15. Kent says:

    Justin
    Being that your from Boise you should have swung through Couer d’ alene here and then Spokane WA . Their is ton of
    homeless here in Coeur d’ Alene and many in Spokane WA .
    I think its a nice effort,but really people don’t care. Well the vast majority. They believe the homeless to be lazy shiftless
    humans,nay less then human. So they have very little compassion for the homeless.
    My story as a homeless person is –

    I was homeless many many years ago , I was 19 ( I am 59 now ) at the time because of my bad behavior and lack of
    respect for my poor dearly departed mother.I certainly now after all this time and for many years hold no ill will towered her.
    I was homeless for about 6 years. Back before the days of food banks , the homeless would eat out of dumpsters. Now with
    food banks. Their is no eatable food in grocery store dumpsters.
    I did a lot of traveling on my thumb ( Hitch hiking ) during summer months and meet many great people and then some very
    sick and demented people. One I believe killed a kid in KY who was also a hitch hiker . But it is speculation. So I am not sure.
    I found that the working poor and poor are the ones most sympathetic to a homeless human.. I keep using the term human
    as they are and well why is it that we feed and shelter dogs and cats and yet humans we don’t feel the necessity? Why is
    that? Where has human compassion gone , or was their ever a abundance of human compassion.

    I digress – On with my story – I am now homeless and have been for 3 years here in Coeur d: Alene , ID . A town with a 12
    man homeless shelter and estimated ( By Kootenai County figures ) 200 homeless.Since . A city with a very lack of
    human compassion that has made flying a sign illegal ! Sounds unconstitutional to me !
    Back in the late 90’s I hurt my back and was out of work for a year and a half. I went to MD’s , Physical therapists and
    chiropractor.s. My back did get better , but over the years it would get thrown out and I would be bed ridden for a week or two.
    So in 2013 I threw my back out and it never got better. I lost my job at a call center and then because I was barely able to walk
    ,stand or sit for long I was unable to get work. Thus I lost my apartment and all my worldly possessions.Including picture of my
    deceased mother , The only ones I had. .
    I have tried every agency governmental and private in Coeur d” Alene for help.Since Idaho did not take Extended care
    ( also known as Obama Care ) . Single men can not get health care.. Thanks Butch Otter !
    I have a 15 year old son and ex wife here in Coeur d” Alene . So having my son watch me be broken and homeless is very
    embarrassing !
    I have for the last 3 years tried to get Social Security Disability , But them fools keep using excuse that I can sit. How do they
    know that ?
    I have seen Doctors paid for by SSDI , But how can a 15 minute visit determine that?
    So alas I wither on the vine here in CDA and wonder what will become of me.
    This is my story and Its not meant for sympathy from any readers, as I have heard ” Im so sorry to hear of your plight ”
    so many times from social workers and homeless advocates here and that being all their is! No real help!
    Bitter,? Hell ya I am – I paid taxes for many many years and now I need help. Its basically a screw you. BUT I”M SORRY!
    Yet Federal Government send billions in foreign aid to foreign nations And that sense less OIL war in Middle east.
    Just leave them people ALONE . Let them live as they desire. America CAPITALISTS are so greedy they want to make all
    nations consumers for them !
    I digress .. lol

    Happy Trails

    Kent

    .

    Like

  16. Janis Houghton says:

    Justin, I was so touched when I read the article about you in the Cd’A Press. Each time I see a homeless person, I find myself wondering how that person got to that place… I know there’s got to be some incredible stories out there. So much judgement is placed upon people that are homeless, but if they are given an opportunity to tell their stories, maybe we can begin to understand and then truly figure out ways to give them a leg up. I don’t think many people realize how close any of us can be to becoming homeless….sometimes it’s just a phone call away. A life can turn upside down and disintegrate in a heart beat; I’ve seen it happen.
    I will be thinking of you often and wishing you safe travels. I will be sending some financial support as I can.
    I’ll spread the word around your hometown…I’m sure many will be interested in your journey.
    Be smart, be safe…. I can’t wait to hear more. Thank you for practicing such altruism…especially at a time like this!

    Like

  17. William Mowry says:

    I have an idea for a video game and i’m trying to see about getting an indie team created to actually do this; but-
    it’d start as a jumbled mess of puzzle pieces, you have to essentially assemble them to create a picture that depicts a real life experience with homelessness, also the puzzle pieces are in video form so… it also makes it harder!
    I was thinking we need to use mechanics for metaphore too.
    I was thinking, it wouldn’t be that hard… I mean, yeah it wouldn’t be simple but I think it’s doable

    We might even use actual real life images; perhaps as the background or something; if we could get an experience that had a setting we could video tape it and use it

    We could do several individual stories indepth

    – Also if a design team see’s this i’m okay with it being stolen from me! it’s just a good idea; please do it through Fifty Sandwiches 🙂

    Like

  18. L says:

    Justin
    I love what you are doing. Empathy and love is needed always and especially now as we look to the future. When in Portland I’d love to help you. We have one of the highest rates of houseless veterans in the nation. Keep up the great work.

    Like

  19. Stephanie says:

    Hi. How can I help ? I would love to maybe help by giving in my state,and having my boys help as well. This is a fabulous idea.

    Like

  20. Brad Mayne says:

    I want to be a part of your journey.. please tell me how I can help.

    Like

  21. Mark says:

    Remarkable effort to expose the indifference of our govts culture. Should the USA be allowing in refugees and illegal immigrants when 100s of thousands of citizens are homeless? We are homeless, sold our home and left the US high cost of living and crushing taxation. We voted with our feet.

    Like

  22. jordan rudnick says:

    Their stories are real and need to be told. Thank you for telling them. Much respect and admiration for your efforts. Keep up this work. I intend to do the same.

    Like

  23. Brita Austin says:

    Would you like to have a better map, one with pop-ups to include media and information? I can help, free of charge! I am a maker of maps – a GIS Specialist. Here is a link to one of my current projects: http://arcg.is/2apsfr9 (please view on computer/tablet due to size). This example is a mash of designs, constructed to research which works best for increasing participation in sustainability-related activities. Yours can be designed like any of the tabs. Here are the different designs to choose from: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/app-list/
    You could actually put this together yourself, but again, I am happy to help. I support your cause and applaud your efforts.

    Well Wishes & Kind Regards,

    Brita Austin
    brittany.austin030@topper.wku.edu

    Like

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