Click on the image or link below to hear Angel’s story.
My name is Caitlin Johnson; I hail from California and am currently a junior at Duke University majoring in Public Policy. In a freshman seminar, Professor Harris introduced me to the merits of documentary works and I have since pursued both documentary writing and photography. This course, Documentary Engagement, presented me with the opportunity to delve into audio story-telling while producing a significant piece for Housing for New Hope.
At the onset of this project I struggled with the idea of documenting homelessness. I feared that my piece might perpetuate stereotypes or exploit the individuals who had generously opened their lives up to me. Over this semester, the relationships I developed with the women at Dove House and the stories they told me, lead me beyond stereotypes and to rethink what it meant to be homeless. I observed in many of the residents a desire to own their own lives. Could homelessness be more than being without a physical home? Our bodies house our heart, mind and soul —essentially what makes us who we are— if something or someone else dictates our actions we are effectively homeless in the most fundamental sense. While Angel has never been without shelter, she has struggled with ownership of her journey— drugs used to dictate her actions, now she is in control of her body and mind.
Angel’s story is about the struggle to overcome the homelessness that transcends socio-economic backgrounds and race and about how she is succeeding.