Comic raises homelessness awareness

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor | Free copies of "Drawn to Home" comic are available on the fourth floor of Gumberg Library.

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor

Nov. 10, 2022

Homelessness occurs everywhere, but not only do we sometimes not notice it, we also often don’t understand or see the stories behind the homeless community.

A somewhat new Pittsburgh-related comic that brings these stories to life has recently made its way to Gumberg Library’s bookshelves and is the Social Justice Reading Club’s Fall 2022 selection.

The comic, titled “Drawn To Home” is a community comic that features nine individuals’ stories who currently or recently experienced homelessness. Through the dialogue of art, the comic allows these stories to be heard and understood by a larger population.

Some of the stories, like “When I Was Fourteen” by Camden Yandel, discuss the reasons that led to their homelessness. Yandel says he became homeless when he saw the disappointment in his parents’ eyes as he came out as transgender and decided to leave. Since he was going through a lot at the time, and no one would hire him, he turned to shelters, which also would not let him in, leaving him homeless.

The art for this story features a young girl walking away from home with a bag of belongings and a camera. She’s seen capturing images of nature as she’s walking away toward an outdoor living situation.

Another story, “Janet,” focuses on an older woman dealing with homelessness. The story by Eileen Lee, draws on the life of a 70-year-old named Janet, who has trouble juggling a job and an illness, which comes crashing down on her. Since she has no support from family or colleagues and has difficulty finding a new job, she finds herself in homelessness.

In the pictures used, Janet is seen fighting for her life alone, while asking for help from those around her, who are pictured ignoring her.

There are also pictures of a flower withering away, which represents illness taking over.

Both of these comics show that compassion and support from others can help out of homelessness.

But others have endings where they’ve stayed homeless, with some dying while living on the streets.

The story titled “She Built Me” holds this element of death. This comic discusses a child going to school while homeless, as his mother tries her best to get him out of that situation.

The boy is shown working hard through school and trying his best to get good grades, but eventually, his mother dies from an underlying illness. His final words in the comic says he’s doing everything for her.

For students wanting to read more from the comic, the “Drawn To Home” exhibit will be displayed in Gumberg’s fourth-floor Popular Reading Room from Nov. 3 through Dec. 2.

If any students or staff want to learn more about helping combat the problem of homelessness in their community, the back page of “Drawn to Home” features different ways they can help.