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We are all the same 

It doesn't take much to lose the roof over your head. A chronic illness, the loss of a job, family breakdown—so many factors... . Domestic violence is also one of the leading causes of homelessness.

People experiencing homelessness often feel exhausted and invisible. Everyone wants to be loved, acknowledged, and respected.

A small but significant way that I have found to help is to just carry a few water bottles with you when you're out walking. I carry them in a cloth bag, and toss a few freezer packs in, too. Hydration is so important, but often a challenge to procure for those living on the street. An added but significant benefit is the opportunity to have a conversation with the recipient, thus acknowledging them and validating that they are not invisible.

Earlier this week, I was walking with my 4 1/2-year-old granddaughter, carrying water. When she handed a man his bottle of water, he looked at her while expressing thanks, and she simply said "We are both the same."

Audrey Fleming

San Luis Obispo

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