Older folks will remember this, so for our younger readers, let us just say that there used to be a magazine that you would see in waiting rooms of various offices, or on coffee tables of your friends’ parents called “House Beautiful,” and it was an interior design magazine that featured many fancy interiors of many different styles of home that allowed the rest of us to look at the pictures and dream.
Now at first blush, the terms ‘interior decoration’ and ‘homeless community’ may not seem to go together, but the fact is, once people are off the streets, and have taken the time to really and truly believe that they have a place of their own with a door they can lock that won’t be taken from them at any moment, it is at that point that, for many, creative juices start flowing, and delicate hopes begin to emerge.
So why not start to decorate your shelter?
Whether you want it homey, utilitarian, or simply the sort of place you want to hang out, it takes a new and different kind of hope to imagine you might be able to buy, barter for, or scrounge the furnishings and decorations it would take for you to feel like you have a place of your own.
For some it takes literally months of living here to be able even to believe that everything you have won’t be taken from you at any moment. So beginning to set your place up how you like it actually takes a kind of faith, faith in the village and its leaders, faith in the future as a happy and stable place where you can belong. And faith usually involves a kind of courage, courage to believe that life can get better.
We went around asking folks if they felt comfortable sharing what they had done with their shelters. For people in RVs there were less options simply because motor homes are already designed with a certain style. Most of the photos you will be seeing come from our pallet shelters, those wonderful creations from the Pallet Shelter company of Washington State. (https://palletshelter.com/)
These shelters are simple 8 foot by 8 foot cubes with a 9 foot roof. They are designed for two, with bunk beds on either side.
We are very lucky that we have enough shelters so that most of our pallet shelters are inhabited by just one person. So one side is for sleeping, and on the other side, the bunk can fold up, and the space can be whatever you want or need it to be.
So thank you to all the villagers who were willing to have photos taken of their private spaces for sharing with the community. We are respecting their privacy by leaving names out of this update. Never mind. The personality in the pictures is plenty of identification.
Before walking around asking to take pictures, the author literally had no idea what the interior of each shelter looked like, and it was quite uplifting to see all the ways that people’s spaces reflected their personalities.
Hope you enjoy the gallery.
One villager found a cheap used tapestry and some LED lights for ten bucks. He says they lay in his shelter in a bag for months. He just didn’t have the heart to start decorating yet.
But when he did, he transformed his ceiling into a kind of Eastern-Inspired star ceiling.
Pretty much worth the wait.
Another villager shares not just her tastes in design, she shares her heart in a faded saying, the perfect way to end this update:
I’ve seen better days, but I’ve also seen worse.
I don’t have everything I want, but I do have all I need.
I woke up with some aches and pains, but I woke up.
My life may not be perfect, but I am blessed.
Thanks to all who shared.