UPDATE: Plans have shifted. We’re still doing this project, but we’re going about it differently. Read more about it here.
Here’s the idea: On March 7, 2010, I will head outside in Columbia, S.C. For one week, I will leave behind my apartment, my money, my food — almost everything except the clothes on my back. My purpose? To document the homeless experience in my city firsthand.
Throughout that week, I will share my experiences via computers at the public library. I am prepared to eat at soup kitchens, sleep on park benches, beg, dumpster dive, and generally do what it takes to survive in an urban environment. But this is not about how tough or resourceful I am. It’s about the people who do this every day — 853 in Richland County by the last count.
Other people have done this sort of thing before, and under much more difficult circumstances. The unique thing about what I’m undertaking, I think, is that you’ll be able to follow along daily as my week unfolds. By all means, tell me what to expect. Tell me if I’m ever wrong or casting things in a false light. And if you are or have ever been homeless, tell me your story.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be conducting some interviews and keeping you posted on my preparations, so stay tuned. I think we’re going to learn a lot.