Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Paris Hilton of the Homeless

August 18, 2009
If you haven't heard I received an inquiry from a news reporter about doing a story (do they call it that for tv?) on Angels of the Road. I was too late getting his email for the story to run last night. Which was perhaps a blessing because it gave me a chance to think the matter over. If I had been faced with a Yes or No... now or never situation I probably would have declined. My fear is of being outed... much of what I am doing requires anonymity. I believe there is validity in the Schrodinger Principle, that a thing being observed is fundamentally changed by virtue of being observed. People will act differently if they know they are being watched.
Staff at facilities see me as a homeless middle-age woman. They treat me like everyone else that comes through the door. If they knew there was a researcher in the room their attitude, demeanor and interactions would all be affected. For the better I imagine, remember when some adult from the superintendent's office sat in the back of your classroom "to observe"... we all behaved a little better.
As for the clients, I always felt when surveys were taken, much of the information given was skewed by what the respondent thinks the researcher wants to hear. By living as one of the population, reactions, opinions and behaviours are not monitored or modified for my benefit. The reactions and interactions I am encountering are genuine.
A news story would be wonderful to raise public awareness of the homeless situation. It would also help boost donation to Angels of the Road... as I keep saying homeless is cheap but research costs. The reporter in question is based in Calgary. So if he is still interested in running the story I will meet with him when I return to the city in a couple of weeks (I will be visiting and handling a few business matters then off to my next homeless destination). Perhaps we can work something out that won't jeopardize the project. You will of coarse be kept posted.

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