The Problem

We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve – Linda Lingle

Homelessness is an aspect of the human experience that is often overlooked and profiled by the general public. The issue of homelessness is too often dehumanized into statistics and considered a simple consequence of the social food chain.

National perceptions of homelessness regarding criminal tendencies, willingness to work and substance abuse are greatly skewed. This is because homeless families and the working homeless are much harder to recognize. The plastered man panhandling on the street corner catches far more eyes than the family sleeping in their minivan at Walmart. As with any other social group, the loudest and most visible members take precedence in terms of public judgement.

Even in circumstances where stereotypes prove to be evident, only a sliver of the story is known. One cannot possibly know the depth of a person’s story simply by profiling them with an all-encompassing judgement. A person is more than their addiction, more than their living situation, and more than their current struggles. Though this book is an attempt to capture more to the story a face on the street, it cannot possibly incorporate the deep complexities of a person’s lifetime in just a page. By displaying the true stories and experiences of America’s homeless, these profiles hope to foster the realization that there is more to being homeless than being without a home.

According to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report To Congress, an astounding 578,424 people were homeless on a given night in January of 2014.

These statistics can talk and they all have a story to tell.

How can we address a problem that is not properly understood?

Though it is just a single step in the equation, Fifty Sandwiches aims to raise awareness and understanding of the issue of homelessness on a national scale.