the face(s) of the homeless in pittsburgh / by Maranie Staab

last night marked the first night that temperatures and conditions dipped low enough to open the pittsburgh severe weather and emergency shelter (SWES). for those who may not be familiar, the SWES program provides shelter, food, clothing, counseling and warmth to homeless individuals in pittsburgh during periods of excessively severe weather conditions (sub 25 degrees and/or sleet and snow)

after having worked there several nights a week during last years winter "polar vortex" i was looking forward to going back and seeing some familiar faces and friends that i had made ... while at the same time hoping that there wasn't a single familiar face and that they had all, somehow, managed to find permanent housing (an unrealistic thought, i know).

when it is so cold that it takes you ten minutes to work up the nerve to walk to your car can you even begin to imagine having to sleep outside? every single year people freeze to death in this city and across our nation; so, i ask you, what are you/we all doing to help prevent this from happening this winter?

as part of my effort to bring awareness (because, isn't this where it starts?) to the issue(s) of homelessness in my hometown i will be featuring (candid) portraits of some of those who i meet and get to know.

my hope? by putting a face and a name to the statistics maybe, just maybe, we can create change.

meet tiger: when i asked him his name he simply responded, "i go by tiger."