Sylvia Sander, local private investigator, began fielding interviews with the homeless early this year as a volunteer. She said
a common complaint of the many homeless people she met living in the downtown area concerned the issue of photographs, namely those taken by street photographers and tourists who snapped shots of individuals living on the streets without so much of a "may I?"
Curious about what the homeless would capture given the opportunity, Sander gave her two inaugural volunteers 35mm disposable cameras to capture daily life on the streets of Tucson. The results eventually gave rise to the Bright Eyes Project, a venture promoting awareness and compassion through the work of homeless photographers.
The project, supported by The Carlos G. Figueroa Foundation, will be having its first public showing on Sunday July 10 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Monterey Court (505 W. Miracle Mile) in Tucson (details here
). The exhibition will feature the work of the Tucson homeless artists Sander contacted through the project, some of whom have since found residence off the streets.
However, according to a Pima County count
of homeless populations for 2016, there are still 381 persons living without shelter in Tucson, not including the over 1,300 other homeless individuals
moving between temporary, transitional and emergency housing.
A short drive around the downtown and university areas reveal a grim reality for hundreds of homeless Tucsonans huddling under patches of shade in De Anza Park and beyond. With temperatures at a steady one-hundred-and-miserable for the rest of the foreseeable future, it behooves us to lend a hand to those who must endure the heat out of necessity and hard times.
If you can spare a moment, some supplies or even a case of water, take a look at the 2016 list
of summer sun respite sites around town. Points of contact are listed for each site and some may take donations or volunteers during the summer months. Additionally, the Community Emergency Medical Responders (C-EMRs), an organization under the auspices of volunteer MDs, trains street-based medical volunteers to facilitate healthcare for the homeless also takes donations here
For more information on the Carlos G. Figueroa Foundation
or the Bright Eyes project
, visit their Facebook pages or thecarlosgfigueroafoundation.com.