Last summer, Sarah Connette ’11 and Jon Springfield ’11 took a 3,500-mile cross-country bike trek they called “The Homeless Cycle,” to raise money and advocate for solutions to chronic homelessness.
With support from van driver James Johnson ’11 and the Bonner Community Fund, they began pedaling in Annapolis, Md. After nine weeks battling hills, winds, and ailing knees, they reached Seattle—just 180 miles west of Washington Pass (above). On breaks from biking and driving, they interviewed people experiencing homelessness, service providers, advocacy groups, and government officials, focusing their attention on Housing First initiatives. “Housing First,” Connette explained, “says that housing is a right, not a reward.” This model provides permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness, as opposed to temporary or transitional forms of housing assistance.
“Throughout our trip, we were relying on the kindness of others for a lot of things,” said Springfield, juxtaposing the compassion they experienced with the treatment a person who is homeless receives.
To pay that compassion forward, the Homeless Cyclers raised $7,535 for Moore Place, a Housing First facility under construction in Charlotte—getting back to Charlotte just in time for the groundbreaking.
Photo: Tim McGuire