Chances are if you live in a major American city, you’re no stranger to the increasing problem of homelessness, but you’re probably not as familiar with the inner workings of the unfortunate lifestyle as, say, an actual homeless person. Well, good news, you budding sociologists. Dubbing it the “Sub-Urban Experience,” a man in Seattle is offering people the opportunity to spend three days living the life of a typical homeless person, and all it will cost you is $2,000.
Entrepreneur Mike Momany is the mastermind behind this new fantasy camp, and if you think that $2,000 sounds like way too much money to spend to spend the night in a homeless shelter or take a nap on a park bench, you should know that there is a very detailed program and strategy involved in fulfilling your dream of better understanding the transient.
For example, on the first day of your homeless experience:
Your Course in Applied Homelessness begins by transforming your look and persona into that of an anonymous homeless person. You will get a nickname and a simple life script. You will be completely anonymous.
The first day we will start at the Public Market and visit some of its homeless gathering spots. We’ll walk down to Pioneer Square, via the waterfront, and visit some favored homeless spots, including the Compass Center; a major resource under the viaduct. We’ll wander over to the International District via the Courthouse on 3rd and James.
We’ll have to check in at our shelter, in the International District, by 7pm so we’ll pick up some fruits and vegetables on the way for dinner.
Ah yes, Momany is calling it a “Course in Applied Homelessness,” but I think a better name for it may be “Fresh Out of College.” And day two?
Out of the shelter by 7am, we’ll get some coffee and head up broadway to check out some parks frequented by the homeless. You might have enough chutzpah to try your hand at panhandling or sleeping on a park bench on this leg. You’ll get a real perspective on how the public perceives the homeless.
We’ll meander on down to the Recovery Cafe where we’ll get a nice free lunch and espresso. Here you’ll have a chance to sit and converse with fellow homeless folks. It’s very nice. It was funded by the Gates Foundation. Then it’s off to the beautiful Seattle Public Library. Many homeless people spend their days here.
The Moore Hotel We’ll have a first class dinner at Fare Start, where homeless folks are trained by world class chefs. Tonight we’ll stay at the historic Moore Hotel.
I’m not going to lie, being homeless in Seattle actually sounds pretty great. Now, let’s take it home with day three…
We stayed at the Moore Hotel so that we could get out and wander the wiley streets at 3am. We’ll sleep in a bit and then have a nice breakfast at the Moore Coffee Shop before meandering up through Belltown checking out more homeless haunts along the way as we head towards Queene Anne and the Seattle Center; a favorite hangout for the homeless.
After a pleasant afternoon at the Seattle Center we’ll test the dress codes at some of the finer restaurants on Queen Anne and then top it off with a cocktail and conversation at a long time watering hole, a historic working class dive bar the Mecca Cafe.
At this point I hope you’ve thoroughly enjoyed my Course in Applied Homelessness in Seattle, from the perspective of a homeless person. I hope our exclusive tour will be remembered for ever and you’ll have a keener perspective on what it means to be homeless; a place all of us might not be to [sic] far from.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the feedback regarding the cost of homeless transformation hasn’t been all that positive, but Momany blames that on the fact that when he first launched this venture, he called it an “adventure” instead of “experience.” I assume the difference is that an adventure makes it sound like you’re going to search for buried treasure, whereas an experience means you’re just digging through trash.
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