In 2010, a ban on public camping was issued in El Paso County, Colorado which succeeded only in forcing the nearly 1,200 homeless to be better at hiding from teams enforcing the ban. Nearly five years later, The Colorado Springs Gazette did a follow-up series on how things have changed.
I photographed Calvin Muzzy and Pete Hill's daily lives as Gazette reporter Cary Vogrin worked with them to complete various aid applications and help them reconnect with their families. Read the full story here.
Each time I visited them, they would give me a new lesson for surviving on the streets. I think it was their way of including me while also trying to help prepare me for my uncertain future outside of college.
1) Make sure someone has your back. Calvin and Pete regularly had to fend off deranged homeless thieves during the night. If they didn't have each other, they would have died long ago.
2) Know how to defend yourself. Calvin told me about his time with the Marine Corps and how he learned to use elbows and knees to fight rather than fists because they don't break as easily.
3) Keep your camp clean. Part of the reason Calvin and Pete were allowed under the bridge at 31st Street and Colorado Avenue despite the camping ban was they kept their camp and the nearby Taco Bell parking lot clean.
Their stories don't have happy endings yet, but Cary Vogrin and a team of police officers continue to push them over hurdles and hopefully into apartments where they can safely seek help.
These two men are truly kind and loyal people. I hope one day I'll be able to attend housewarming parties in their new homes.