We commend the good work being done by the Community Empowerment Fund, Habitat for Humanity and others to provide support and transition services for people experiencing homelessness in Chapel Hill.
We especially appreciate initiatives that uplift the voices and work of people experiencing homelessness and help them take a leadership role in determining how the organization’s goals can best be achieved.
This board has also long objected to costumes that imitate marginalized groups. Last week’s Carolina Blueprint event in the Pit, which allowed students to build shacks and live in them for a week, was little better than a college student dressing up as a homeless person and asking for money — to support Habitat for Humanity, naturally — on Franklin Street.
That hypothetical student and the real students participating in Carolina Blueprint are not experiencing an accurate portrayal of homelessness, physically or systemically.
Sleeping outside won’t show someone what it’s like to not have a permanent address or enough money to open a bank account, leading to life outside American financial systems and difficulty getting and keeping a job.