Comments & Corrections please!

Anitra Freeman (anitra@speakeasy.org)
Tue, 23 Feb 1999 03:08:13 -0800


Here's my "Homeless Homepage Review" article.  If I got anything wrong or
missed anything urgent, please correct me quick! :)  [Note: This is a local
article, which is why I haven't explained what Speakeasy and the StreetLife
Gallery are.  For everyone not from Seattle, Speakeasy is a combination
internet server and cafe, and StreetLife is our own "home of homeless art."]

[begin article]
The Internet is commonly believed to be the playground of prosperous young
techno-geeks and the businesses that cater to them.  But along with the
corporate growth of the Internet has been a large and stubborn movement to
keep the Internet open for people.  Non-profit community networks,
educational institutions, public libraries and community-centered business
organizations like Speakeasy have all worked to make computers and the
Internet accessible to anyone, whether or not they could afford a PowerMac
with a 28K modem and a dedicated phone line at home.

The result is a large number of individual and family webpages displaying
anything from a full education on a favorite hobby to the photo and
biography of each of the family gerbils, along with the webpages of
non-profit organizations, activist groups, UFO societies, and just about
anyone who has an opinion about anything.  (This is often regarded as a
mixed blessing.)

One of the positive results of the accessible Internet is the growing
presence of homeless and low-income webmasters.  There are so many such
sites that I am not allowed to cover them all in this article; it would
take over the entire issue.  I am going to introduce you a few -- I will
have a more extensive review online at
http://www.speakeasy.org/~anitra/wall.html for everyone who is tempted to
explore the Web for themselves.

Some of these sites are very graphic-intensive, with lots of photographs.
Others are almost all text, with a "basic black" background.  All are fully
accessible and readable with any browser, including the text-only "Lynx"
browsers available in most public libraries.

Tedrico's Page: Homelessness Resource Links  http://4homeless.hypermart.net/
Webmaster: Theodore Latham
Good content, easy to navigate, and visually attractive, with lots of
photographs.  Tedrico spans all the categories, offering survival resource
information, public education, a spur to activism, the photos and
biographies of people on the streets, quotes from poetry and essays by
other voices on the Internet (in the Voice of the Homeless Award), sheer
fun (Pass-Times: Things to do when the shelter's closed), a discussion
board and even a chat room.

The Poor People's Guide to More Than Just Survival
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/2045/guide.html
Webmaster: Remona Cowles
A library of pages on finding housing, employment, food, clothing, a phone;
how to use the library, how to find service agencies, and how to avoid
scams and ripoffs.  Remona also has a section on having fun, public
education tips on how to help the homeless, and opportunity for visitors to
post their own opinions.

SHARE: Seattle Housing and Resource Effort
http://insideshare.hypermart.net/
Webmaster: Anitra L. Freeman
In an attempt to keep this objective, I turned over the review of this site
to Dr. Wes Browning: "SHARE's website offers a history of the organization
and its projects, beginning with the Goodwill Games and going on to include
Tent City 2, the BunkHouse, and WHEEL. It is very clear and readable, with
more information than anyone could absorb. Some supposedly current
information is not; Tent City 2 is not up now, Meal of Fortune has moved.
But most of the website is remarkably up-to-date,  Including a useful list
of activist links." [Note from Anitra: By the time you read this, the Tent
City and Meal of Fortune entries will be updated!]

Homeless People and the Internet  http://members.tripod.com/~bmdavidson/
Webmaster: Mike Davidson
Mike Davidson has compiled a great deal of information on using the
internet, including access at local libraries; he has also created a
community-building webring for useful pages about solving homelessness,
whoever they are created by.  (A webring is a way of easily linking similar
pages.)  His site is very simple and well-laid-out, with the fanciest
graphic being the dancing picture of himself that opens the page -- one of
the few times I approve of using an animated graphic.

PCHELP4U  http://www.speakeasy.org/~pchelp4u/
Webmaster: Jim Green
"Emerald Jym" died last summer, but his brother and friends have kept his
website going.  Jim offered help to other homeless people in using the
Internet and designing webpages.  Most of his help was in person, but his
site still provides a link to Seattle Public Library, a search engine, the
resources at BeSeen.Com  -- and encouragement to make your own place on the
Web.

Recovering Humanity  http://members.tripod.com/~Norsehorse/trilogy.html
Webmaster: Morgan W. Brown
The activist portion of Norsehorse's Home is in overhaul, but his poetry is
still up and running, and demonstrates, as Adrienne Rich does, that simply
talking honestly about human life is political.  The link above is to a
trilogy of poems about "The Human Spirit; Humanity; Spirituality;
Oppression; Repression; and, Transcendence."  There's more.

Homeless Homepage and Forum  http://members.tripod.com/~agkaiser/
Webmaster: Greg Kaiser
This is one of the most ambitious sites technically, making extensive use
of frames.  It is also one of the most ambitious in intent, as the subtitle
of Greg's opening page says:"NETPOWER FOR ECOLOGICAL SANITY AND ECONOMIC
JUSTICE."  Greg will take you on a tour of the ecosytem and the solar
system, and *demand* your comments.  A good place to visit if you find
yourself slipping into apathy.

NH ADAPT & MA-NH Not Dead Yet Home Pages
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6482/
Webmaster: Tom Cagle
ADAPT stands for American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today.  Tom
Cagle, a fellow member of the Homeless People's Network, is a vigorous
advocate for the rights of the disabled; the site has a number of
informative and impassioned essays, links to other websites on disability,
a discussion board and a chat room.

StreetViews http://www.vcn.com/~wch/wchsv.htm
& Art from the Streets http://www.vcn.com/~wch/wchafs.htm
Webmaster: Virginia Sellner
Poetry, art, and now [soon] photography from the artists and writers on the
streets of Wyoming. The sites are laid out very simply and are easy to
navigate, and include community-building links to both homeless-run art &
writing sites and general Wyoming art & writing sites.  The site is
regularly updated, so it repays frequent visits to see what's new in the
selections.

StreetWrites http://www.realchangenews.org/StreetWrites/
& StreetLife Gallery http://www.realchangenews.org/StreetLife/
Webmaster: Anitra L. Freeman
Tom Boland of Homeless People's Network <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn> on
StreetWrites: "If you want to know what's on the mind of writers who've
been homeless, this is the place.  You'll find the range of interests
common to those of us afflicted with the 'writer's curse', plus musings on
homelessness, poems, personal stories -- and some of the funniest jokes
I've read.  A lot of the best writers in Seattle's street newspaper Real
Change are here, and some of their best writing."
Anitra Again: And what more can I say about StreetLife Gallery?  This is
the most unique gallery in the world besides Art from the Streets.

Poems from Street Level http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Cafe/1509/
Webmaster: Bonnie Briggs
Bonnie is a poet and an activist who also has a website memorial for those
who have died homeless in Toronto, Canada.  Poems from Street Level is her
personal website posting many of her original poems about life and people
on the streets.

Homeless People's Network http://www.aspin.edu/hpn/
Webmaster: Tom Boland
The home of an email list of homeless and formerly homeless people who talk
openly with each other about their lives, problems and solutions.  The
archives are open to anyone who wants to learn more about the realities of
homelessness.

Rosaphilia's Page http://www.users.interport.net/~rugosa/
Webmaster: Anna Yamada
Another cross-category site: "Rosaphilia" shares pictures of the vocational
rehabilitation center where she lives, information on roses and wines, a
wonderful webpage on Graffitti Baptist Church -- and one of the most
extensive and best-organized link pages I've seen, on mental health issues,
politics, and just about everything else interesting.  It looks like Anna
has had a lot of fun creating this site, and I think you'll have a lot of
fun exploring it.

My Journey Through Life  http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/7566/
Webmaster: Ernie Martin
This is basically a long, heartfelt and well-written essay about one man's
experience with homelessness, with links to some opportunities to help the
homeless.

One thing to remember: homeless and low-income people are not a monolithic
block.  We are all individuals, with individual opinions -- and not all of
them agree.  Some of the pages above condemn panhandling and praise
organized charities; others condemn all "harass the homeless" laws,
including panhandling ordinances.  Some pages are earnestly Christian and
others are earnestly pagan.  They all have a great deal to offer anyone who
wants to learn the realities of homelessness from the homeless themselves.
[end article]

Write On!
___________________________________________________________
Anitra L. Freeman, Dances With Dragons, http://members.xoom.com/Anitra/
See http://www.speakeasy.org/~anitra/invasion.html for a full list of
websites and webrings, because if I list them all here you are going to be
*so* mad at me...
Check http://www.speakeasy.org/~anitra/current.html for current projects if
you wonder what I'm up to lately