“What having a roof over my head means to me”

 

Juniors home is a catalyst for his family. Having a roof over his head meaning he can provide a safe place for his kids to grow. Junior works long hours over night then comes home packs his kids lunches and gets them ready for school. 

 

“Waiting to Be Me”

 

This is a re-entry story about a man named Salladeen that served 40 years in prison for a crime I believe he did not commit. While in prison he earned degrees in marketing and hospice care. he then spent the next 35 years caring for men dying of Cancer and HIV AIDS in prison. 

 

Salladeen was released with no ID or birth certificate to a homeless shelter in Manhattan where he is on parole for the rest of his life. He has no contact with his family and can not look for them because he believes they reside in New Jersy which is another state.

 

“The Hole: Bam”

 

The hole is a neighborhood in New York that is thirty feet below sea level and has no sewers. At one time it was used as a burial ground for the mafia. I spent a year and a half living with a family in the hole, sleeping on the floor of their RV. In doing so the father Bam began telling me about his past life as a heroin dealer and has admited to drug dealing, theft, assault and murder.

"Cedarena"

 

Cedarena is an 82 year old skating rink in Markham Ontario. It started life when lumber jacks needed something to do in the winter and flooded a flat next to their mill. it is like traveling in a time machine even the music is from the 30's to 50's the rink is largely unchanged since the boards where added in the 50's.

 

 

 

 

 

“The Hole: Will”

 

Will is a carpenter and master carver, who began his relationship with wood at a young age when his brother gave him a pocket knife and told him create something out of a stick. That weekend his brother was stabbed to death.

Will began hustling early in his teens. After serving a three-year prison sentence, he was able to turn his life around by purchasing tools to start his own contracting business and eventually a workshop in The Hole.

"It's like a blank canvas," Will says of his neighborhood. "You can build whatever you want."

“The Hole: Jose”

 

Jose known as Wepa to his friends is a farmer of sorts. Untamed vegetable gardens are cobbled together on his property, while Jose’s roosters stalk his tenants’ yards, often engaging in impromptu cockfights to establish dominance over one another. 

Jose brags about building his home with his own two hands, but he has been unable to connect it to the electrical grid and thus it sits abandoned. For months now, he has resided in a small shack on the edge of his property, a satellite of his hard work. Despite his tribulations, he is generous to a fault, sharing beer, food and money with anyone willing to share a conversation with him.