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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing personal anecdotes about interactions we’ve had with houseless individuals. A number of themes have come out of those stories including fear, apprehension and invisibility.

Invisibility was especially well articulated by a story one of our team members shared.

On a downtown street, an unhoused woman sitting on a grate for warmth was approached by a man and his dog. The dog playfully stopped and the woman, for a few fleeting moments, enjoyed the interaction. The owner of the dog, clearly unaware, yanked the dog away and the woman’s happiness quickly vanished. This was a simple story, but a touching one. It revealed how a person can become essentially invisible to others. It also revealed how with a little awareness, the situation could have unfolded differently.

After hearing this story another team member created this comic to visualize it.

A comic with three panels. In the first panel, a sad looking woman sits on the ground with a blanket wrapped around her. A caption says "Most of the time I feel lonely in this town". The second caption shows the woman smiling as she pets a happy dog. The caption states, "But there are those precious moments." The third panel shows the woman frowning as the dog is pulled away. The caption reads "That pass too quickly".

This representation of the story became very interesting to us. Could this be a process we develop–one in which we have people share stores and have an artist visualize it? Would this result do anything? The person sharing the story surely experiences something, as does the listener. And from our limited experience, the artist (who could theoretically also be a storyteller or listener) also has shares in this reflection.

Other stories have come to surface that we could try this same process with. It once again feels like things are moving in a good direction.

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