Life Stories of the Homeless in Taiwan
In every large city, the homeless are a group of people who are often ignored by your average city dweller. Many people in the city would simply pass by and seldom spend time to talk to them and understand their world. Although they appear in various corners of the city, they are often ignored and treated as invisible by the general public. No one cares about where the homeless individual comes from, or where their destinations are in their walk of life.
In order to promote greater awareness to the general public, the Homeless Taiwan Association (a charity organization in helping the homeless) has together produced and published a book with writer Lee Win-Shine (who’s interest is in the social welfare of the disadvantaged). Through Lee’s interviews with the people, the book documents the chronicles of ten Taiwanese homeless individuals of various backgrounds; including former military soldiers, businessmen and merchants, blue collar workers, convicts, gang members, and people with disabilities. Each story brings to life their journey from “home” to “homeless”, by providing insights to their past, their present daily life on the streets as a homeless person, and what their outlooks and hopes are for the future.
The book also contains accounts from five social care workers who work with the homeless, sharing their experiences and insight of homelessness, and how they view the homeless situation in large cities. Through their accounts, the reader sees the insights on how these workers assist the homeless out of homelessness, and how this work and the homeless individuals they work with impacts them and its significance to themselves and to society as a whole, and also their own personal outlook and values.
Through these stories told from homeless individuals, and the social care workers themselves, the reader will start to appreciate and comprehend the causes and reasons for the homelessness in Taiwan and help provide a better understanding of how social structure and social changes affects each and every one of us.
When we start to take off our tinted glasses and open our minds to understand and listen, only then we can start to slowly embark on a path of change to tackle homelessness.
Author: Win-Shine Lee
Copyright©2016 Homeless Taiwan Association
Photographs©2016 Ching-Wei Lin, Yun-Sheng Yang