name is Glenn H Austin.
That's me on
State Street. I am a professional photographer and for for about 30
years I have done weddings, portraits and all the other stuff that studio
photographers do. I am currently semi-retired and I am doing the kind of work that I always wanted to do. That
work, like the State Street Family project, is aimed at making
a difference, at doing some good in the world.
Last summer I was walking
down State Street and, as usual, I started to cross the street to avoid
Peace Park. It suddenly occurred to me that I was prejudging those people
in the park. I didn't know anything about them, I just knew that I found
it embarrassing to be panhandled. I walked into the park and sat down.
I discovered a whole world that I hadn't known existed.
I spent last summer learning that
hardly anyone likes to beg in the streets, that there is a welcome for
anyone who wants companionship, and that there are a lot of poor people
in Madison. I discovered that the city wants them to go away, that the
police hassle them, and that they are mostly really nice people.
I have a lot more photographs of
the State Street Family than are on this website and I would
like to do a book. Of course I don't have the vaguest notion of how
to go about that, so if you are an expert in the publishing field I
would appreciate any help or advice you can offer.
have any comments or criticism on this website that you would like to
give, I would enjoy hearing from you. My email address is email@example.com.
If you need pictures, and
can use what's here, and if I agree with your politics, and you ask
before using them, I will probably give you permission.
Give money to panhandlers.
Our society doesn't do much for the poor so give them the money directly.
No they don't just use it on drugs and alcohol, they mostly use it to
buy food. Consider it a small tax.
basic information about the poor and homeless in America.
the past year, over 3 million men, women, and children were homeless.
The population of the United States is 300 million. What that means
is that 1 out of every 100 people in this country are homeless.
32.9 million people living in poverty in America. That's nearly 1 out
of every 8 people. The official poverty line is a family of 4 with $18,100/year
income. On the Poverty
USA web site I found this amazing piece of information: "Many
experts believe a more realistic poverty threshold for a family of four
would be in the area of $30,000 a year - and that a more accurate estimate
of the poverty rate in America would be 30% of the total population.
(Economic Policy Institute, 2001.)" That's nearly 1 in 3. Think
of that; almost a third of Americans are in or near complete poverty.
Read a few pages
USA and take the tour there. You will begin to think that America
is in the third world. Actually the United State is one of the richest
countries in the world. One poor person said it best, "It's
like going hungry at a banquet".