By Rachel Jason
People across the nation, from various communities, joined together to fight against an injustice that our world struggles with—poverty, houselessness, and hunger. Homies4Houseless was a project created by two alumni of Garnet Valley, Victoria Husain and Macawi Thomas-EL. Myself and 25 other people from all backgrounds joined together on a Zoom call one night, only knowing 3 or 4 people that were on the call as well, and ultimately, contributed our support in campaigning this brilliant fundraiser. The goal was to raise $10,000 in 3 days. The fundraiser began on Monday, February 1, with just $700. Even though we extended our deadline, in 12 days, we have officially raised over $8,000, which is incredible. The money has been donated to Mutual Aid and Project Home, two local organizations in Philadelphia.
Something that people have asked me about was why we used the word “houseless.” “Did you mean homeless?” they asked me. The answer is no, we intentionally used the word houseless. “Why?” you might ask? Well, let’s dig further into the meaning of both words. Many people know the meaning of the word “house” as shelter—a place where one lives. Many others would agree that “home” carries the same meaning. However, I (and many others) think that there is a deeper meaning to the word home. To me, a home is where I feel safe and comfortable. A home does not always have to be a house, it can be a person or a memory. So to call someone homeless, you are assuming that they don’t have a community of people or a space that they see as their “home.” Whereas calling someone houseless simply expresses that they lack physical shelter. It is important to distinguish between home and house because not everyone has a house, but everyone has a home.
Furthermore, this past week and a half has been a time of reflection for me. As a community, as a nation, and as a society, we have come together to create change in our world, starting right here in our community. Because we decided to use our voices, we were able to raise money for those who need it the most. We recognized our privilege and used it to help those in need. I can only imagine what else we are capable of doing when we are unified and determined to create the change we want to see in our world. We are powerful when we use our voices, we are powerful when we stand up for what we believe in, and we are powerful together.