Question: Whereabouts are you planning to sleep tonight?

In a house? A home?

You might consider your surroundings simple, a modest abode.

Trust us, no matter how humble your home, the chances are you’ll be more comfortable than Chris Tibedo tonight.

For Chris Tibedo, home – such as it is – is a tent, somewhere, unspecified, in downtown Providence, RI, as he puts it, “Well-hidden, of course.”

This we know because Chris told us as much in a communiqué that, if we’re being honest, brought us to tears here in our studio.

You see, Chris is homeless.

You might have read about him here on our blog last week.

Then, we didn’t even have a full name for him, our knowledge encapsulated into an 87-second online film clip that touched our hearts and opened our eyes.

Now, seven days later, he has become a full-blown inspiration to us all here at OM HQ in Saunderstown.

Connection can do that.

It amazes us to think that, just hours after posting our heartfelt blog, it came to Chris’ attention: That’s Chris Tibedo, a homeless man, living in a tent, sleeping on the streets.

That he found it in himself to send us such a deep and meaningful message in response is nothing less than awe-inspiring.

“Thank-you for opening your eyes and caring,” he wrote, using the facilities at The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, in Pawtucket, to make contact. “It feels like no-one cares – your blog shows that you do.”

You know, we’ve felt for a long time that our blog is rather great. It appears that even we’d underestimated its power.

“Awesome,” was Chris’ verdict. Well, about him, we feel much the same.

You see, being without a home does not mean being without hope.

Down and out? Not Chris. Not Chris Tibedo.

Feeling sorry for himself? Perhaps a little at times, but you attempt to sleep on a Providence pavement, see how it makes you feel.

Survival is the main objective on the streets, but Chris is doing more than that. Much more.

He’s helping people. He’s making a difference.

Right now, he’s working on a speech that he is due to deliver at Roger Williams University, in Bristol, RI, on October 17, a speech in which he’ll talk about himself and his homelessness, in an attempt to raise awareness of a growing problem.

It’s not his first time.

Playing an important role in RICH’s Speakers Bureau, Chris is accustomed to telling his tale – to spreading the word, to making connections.

“When you bring your story out there, it really hits home and you don’t feel alone,” he explained during another short RICH film that has come to our attention.

“When someone who is not (homeless) acknowledges you or acknowledges the story, or just the fact of homelessness, it’s invigorating because you get hope, you get a dream, you get energy to . . . just, someone is listening, someone is watching, someone is paying attention.”

Chris, we’re listening, we’re watching, we’re paying attention and we hope that in acknowledging you, in acknowledging your story, in acknowledging homelessness, we have invigorated you.

Chris, we hope we’ve given you hope, a dream.

Above all, we hope we’ve given you energy, because with energy, there is nothing you cannot do. For yourself. For your friends. For homeless people near and far.

There are lots of you out there in the cold. To that, our eyes have been opened.

In the last seven days we’ve learned that homeless numbers have sky-rocketed in recent times. Last month the number seeking beds at Rhode Island’s largest shelter doubled from the figures recorded in August 2010. One night, 41 people had to sleep on the floor.

Last year, a further 26,000 Rhode Island residents fell into poverty, bringing the total number here to 142,000. Our state has the highest poverty rate in New England. The slope is slippery.

In such times, we need more organizations like RICH.

In such times, we need more people like Chris Tibedo.

In such times, we need to look at ourselves, examine our actions, consider our attitudes.

People do care, Chris, although we understand why, during the long, cold nights under canvas, it might feel as though no-one does.

Here in our studio, we’re thinking hard about what we can do to make a difference.

We hope we’re not alone.

Chris, please keep in contact and please stay safe.

For now, our best wishes.

We are all connected.

6 Comments on “Invigorating, acknowledging, hopes and dreams

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  2. The words used in the writing of this blog are no different than “normal” words, words of description, words of feelings, words of emotion, just simple normal words. WOW! How is it that they can provoke such feelings from inside? Feelings of intense emotion from me (chris) that I am real, someone is listening but why? Why are they listening? Why care now? I have been out here for over a year and a half just this past week celebrating my second birthday on the streets telling almost no one because excitement about such things as turning another year older can for me be a downer in my current situation “out here on the streets” and yes when I first came to be homeless I though I was a well educated man, the streets will beat you up and have one doubting themselves it seems quickly like I am, having graduated community college in Portsmouth, NH with a 3.9 GPA holding six different computer technology certificates (need to re-certify) not a degree but just as meaningful in the IT industry. I am a college Grad, thats all they said in school I needed to do was go to college and you will be successful. Well the school of life sent that for a curve ball, haha. It’s not just the asking of “why care now” and I am not intending to lay blame or throw it at anyone, I an asking why care now because in truth I need to ask myself that question. It’s been so long on these streets for me. When I first “hit” the streets I figured that the only way I could solve my problem of homelessness was to get to the core of why so many are homeless. Isn’t there a “SYSTEM”? Job assistance, section 8, subsidized housing, state government assistance, welfare, something? Something that could assist me and as I have realized so many others out here on the streets. something??. As I found out real quick just as it didn’t take me one step to become homeless it doesn’t take one step to become un-homeless. I am saying that the system as it is commonly referred to is broken…well actually it’s not broken it is perfectly SHATTERED! I could mention so much about my homelessness and help speak for others but in fear that I am maybe out of bounds in this space provided for comments or as it says “Leave a Reply” I don’t want to rant (doubting myself again)… Simply I want to let it be known that as unconnected as I am living in a tent, this blog brings tears to my eyes because it shows someone cares…I almost feel like saying don’t waist your time, not to insult anyone but so that in time as you and others care and attempt to make a difference (this blog), maybe shed some light on the issue of homelessness and see that the voices that care are to small to make a difference, I don’t want you too to be let down in spirit on the inside as I am becoming. That’s what brings tears to my eyes.

    C. R. T.

    • Chris,

      Thank-you for your message. It amazes us that we have reached you through our blog. Some things are just meant to be.
      You ask ‘Why now?’ That’s a hard question to answer. It’s not part of a plan, just that your story happened to reach us and, when it did, it moved us tremendously. Connections are like that, inexplicable, it’s what fascinates us about them, it’s what we’re about and what we’re trying to promote with our OMs, to make a difference in the world.
      The bottom line is that you have inspired us and opened our eyes to homelessness. There might not be a huge amount that we can do, but having acknowledged the issues, we’re determined to lend our support in whatever way we can.
      Clearly, it’s not within our power to solve the problem of homelessness, but if nothing else, I hope we’ve demonstrated to you and those around you that your voice matters a great deal and that if you keep using it, there are people out there who will listen.
      I hope we’ve shown you that despite all that your situation might throw at you, you have to persevere and you have to believe and have faith in your path. Never give up.
      We believe in you. We believe that you’re at the beginning of your journey and if being off the streets is your goal, you’ll find a way. I have always believed there are reasons for everything, and if being homeless is going to help the homeless, that is something to be proud of in it’s own right. I have not met you but you have already displayed an amazing amount of strength in character, more than most I know if they were in your shoes. You should be proud of your accomplishments, whatever size they are, they’re all a step forward. I’m sure there are many more to come too.
      So you know, we have made you an OM. Until the day you can display it somewhere, we’ll hold it for you here, and use it as a symbol of our confidence and faith in you and your journey. It will be a great day when we will be able to forward it on to you.
      In the meantime, keep your head up and continue spreading the word, it’s all positive and positive energy will open doors that you never knew existed. A quote by one of my favorite people, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe is “….the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.” I believe this to be true.

      It might not seem like much, when the bigger picture is considered, but we plan to keep highlighting the issues and sharing the message, your message, also.
      We’re also looking at ways of doing more, of helping and supporting RICH in the great work that it does, and we hope that with the assistance of others, we can make a difference, a small one perhaps, but a difference nevertheless.
      We’re not wasting our time, we’re confident of that. We believe in what we’re doing and we’ll continue to support. We’ll continue to listen, and we’ll continue to speak up for you and all those you give a voice to.
      It might not seem like it sometimes, but we are all connected.

      Please keep in touch and let us know that you got this email and, more importantly, how you’re doing.
      Best wishes always,
      Miquette & Paul

  3. Pingback: The vision, the village, a place to call home « We are all connected.

  4. So, my name is chris tibedo…the same guy mentioned above…Update to my story…housed now almost 2 years, job for just a month now (weekly paychecks!)…and SOBER 1 year 10 months and 25 days….With god in my live again…I have turned the page…I OWE GREAT THANKS TO THIS BLOG AND THOSE WHO READ AND SHARE THIS BLOG!!!

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