HOMES WITHIN, COMMUNITIES WITHOUT: AUDREY – A Young Homeless Woman Creates Community

In the economic meltdown, the specter of homelessness looms over many people who once felt secure. So, when PlatteForum and Lighthouse Writers Workshop gave me the opportunity to create a short film exhibit on the theme of community, I wanted to relate that topic to homelessness. We often hear that Americans have lost their sense of community. I wondered, “Have I?” We often hear that homeless people have “fallen through the cracks.” I wondered, “How do they hold onto community?” Homes Within, Communities Without is a pair of digital stories in which a young homeless woman and I each explore our experience of community. Audrey Haynes lives just two miles from me, yet worlds apart. Still, we share one important desire: to connect.

You’ll find Audrey’s brief video below. Next week, I’ll share mine. I hope you’ll watch both, and that they’ll prompt you to share your own thoughts. What connects you to community?

Homes Within, Communities Without: Audrey from Cara Lopez Lee on Vimeo.

7 thoughts on “HOMES WITHIN, COMMUNITIES WITHOUT: AUDREY – A Young Homeless Woman Creates Community

  1. Pingback: Adventure’s Best Lessons: Cara Lopez Lee | Kim Kircher

  2. Cara Lopez Lee Post author

    I loved the way the arts formed a sense of community for both of us, Jen, and also created a point of connection for her and me.

    I hope she’s OK, too. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll try calling her again today. If she finds her way back to the shelter, I won’t know about it, because the shelter never tells anyone who’s there – for good reason.

  3. Jen Reeder

    I loved how art formed a sense of community for her. I am concerned reading the comment above and hope she is OK! She seems like a fantastic person – I love that everyone had to hug her before bed. Sweet!

  4. Cara Lopez Lee Post author

    I deeply appreciate your empathy, Zee. Sadly, no one seems to know where Audrey is at the moment. I think she has ended up on the street again. I went looking for her the other night, but didn’t find her. Here’s hoping your good luck wishes make it to God’s ear.

  5. Zee

    Audrey’s story moved me greatly. I got a real feel for the way she lives and the experiences that have shaped her life. I’ve never been homeless, so I can never truly know the terror of losing everything; but I see that sometimes people get a chance to start over and appreciate life better when that happens.

    Thank you Cara for uploading this account and Audrey for talking about her life with humble honesty. Oh and her artwork is fantastic. I wish her every luck in the future and with her street family.

  6. Cara Lopez Lee Post author

    Thanks for your interest in Audrey’s story, Aundria. Because we were looking at the idea of community, and because Audrey wanted to keep much of her privacy, she did leave some things unsaid… so that we might only guess what prompted her to decide the streets were better than her family’s home. But I thought she eloquently expressed her changing sense of family, community, and self.

    I did check out your blog, and I loved the moving story about Peep. I wanted to leave a comment there, but couldn’t figure out where to do that. Anyway, Peep’s illness as a metaphor for your mother’s passing was so sadly beautiful. And I really felt for that little bird, trying to survive while literally being picked on by all the other birds. Haven’t we all been through moments like that? Your a lovely writer. Thanks for sharing your words.

  7. Aundria Morgan

    Interesting perspective. I work for a human services organization in Minneapolis, MN whose mission is ending homelessness.

    As a writer I am also aware of the disconnect not just of homeless people but many people.

    check out my blog at

    and http:alifelinecreation.tumblr. com

    Thanks for sharing this video I look forward to the next one.

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