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Help Kirti give the Homeless a Voice in California

$570 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 12 people in 20 days
My name is Kirti and I am both a professional photographer and a story teller. During my travels here in  California, I have had to evacuate two wildfires. I was also unable to work for two years following a car accident. I was fortunate enough to have had the family support that helped me get back on my feet. Through these experiences and others I made friends with many people who are currently homeless or on the edge of homelessness for many reasons. Hearing their stories, you soon realize that these are mostly normal people dealing with extraordinary circumstances, who just want to be heard and treated with some respect as fellow human beings.

As we carry out our day to day lives we are oblivious to the struggles of those individuals we encounter. The grocery store cashier, the fast food clerk, the student in the library: anyone of them could be homeless. Anyone of us could be facing homelessness in the near future. The reality of the world we live in is that any one of us is just one day, one moment, one tragedy away from homelessness. Recent wildfires in Paradise are a strong reminder of how quickly this can happen.

My vision is to create a community space in which we can tell the stories of our homeless friends - without judgement or preconception. I am currently focused on telling the stories of the homeless community in Gilroy and Morgan Hill in California. Despite many challenges, including being regularly "swept" out by city authorities, they survive and persevere with hope to stabilize their lives - gathering around the local churches, charities and the Compassion Center, a nonprofit which supports their daytime needs. Many of them work during the day, but are unable to access drinking water, regular showers or restrooms. By night, they have to sleep rough in cars, tents and sleeping bags by the creek or in the Walmart parking lot. It's particularly dangerous for single women. By making the plight of the homeless population visible, I hope to raise awareness and help bring in more resources to improve the safety net available to our homeless friends and help them get back on their feet.

My first goal is to create a photographic exhibit called "Homeless Voices", to be shown at the Gilroy Arts Centre on January 5th-27th 2019 which we need $5,000 to complete. In the future, I hope to bring the same concept to other local cities struggling with the affordable housing crisis that now extends even to working professionals - and this is what any additional funds beyond the first $5k will support. I intend to tell individual stories that encapsulate the struggles of the homeless community in each city around the Bay Area, such as Santa Cruz, San Jose, Monterey, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco - hosting an exhibition in each one that creates compassion and awareness of the issues amongst the general public.

I have already made connections with a good number of our homeless neighbors, starting on-site photography and interviews in my spare time, but I am unable to complete the project without taking on personal debt myself - we are in need of funds to cover my time to complete the on-site photography, portraits, post-production, printing and logistics for the exhibit in January. The Compassion Center itself has a very tight budget which is entirely dedicated to the direct needs of the homeless community, so they are not able to support this project financially, although they are working hard to offer many other types of support.

Any contribution you can offer to help make this vision a reality, will help build awareness and support for our homeless friends - so they are not voiceless and they are heard with respect and compassion. As such we will acknowledge all donors in the exhibit. If you are able to pledge $500 or more we would be very happy to be feature your name and logo prominently at the beginning of the exhibition.

To see more of the photography we have gathered so far, see https://kirtibassendine.com/gallery/homeless-voices.  To find out more about my background, visit https://kirtibassendine.com/about/kirti. To connect with me and follow the project, friend me at https://www.facebook.com/kirti.fataniabassendine.

Many thanks for your support!
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We are treading again this week! Its been a challenging week so far, struggling with flu and capturing the last few images before we get them out to for printing.
Sharing an image of Robert and Angelina, a lovely sweet couple that have been homeless for sometime now living in a tent by the creek and recently in a car. I met them in July, Angelina was struggling health wise, neither were working.
Since November they both have jobs and are working hard, but still not able to afford a place to live with the high rental prices. Its cold this winter and hard to imagine what its like to sleep in a car and then go to work the next morning.
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Many gratitudes to all the donations submitted these last few days. We are trending! This week has been busy photographing and interviewing our homeless friends and editing. Hopeful for more support.
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$570 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 12 people in 20 days
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PB
$25
Patty Belanger
4 days ago
JB
$60
James Bassendine
7 days ago
CV
$20
Cesar Vasconcelos
11 days ago
JH
$50
joanne howell
12 days ago
MG
$25
Melissa Garcia
14 days ago
PB
$35
Peter Burr
15 days ago
$100
Anonymous
15 days ago
$100
Anonymous
16 days ago
JB
$25
John Bassendine
17 days ago
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