TSM 15/41 Every Homeless Person has a Story

Their Story Matters with Sara Troy and her guest Dennis Cardiff aired October 13th

Telling The Stories of Those Too Often Ignored


Throughout the past four years I have met many people, now friends, who for various reasons are, or were, homeless.

Writing about the homeless and helping the homeless, has given my life a purpose that it didn’t have before. Documenting their stories will, I hope, introduce them to the public in a non-threatening way. Some panhandlers look intimidating, but that disappears when one sees them laugh. A typical day for me involves taking the bus and walking two blocks to work. I pass Joy’s spot every day. I usually sit and talk with her for twenty to thirty minutes. Chester and Hippo may drop by to chat. Most afternoons, depending on weather, I walk two blocks to the park where the group of panhandlers varies in size from two to twenty or more. They don’t panhandle at the park. Like a soap opera, every day is different; some scenarios will carry over a few days or weeks. People will disappear for weeks or months due illness, rehab programs or incarceration. When I met Joy I was going through an emotional crisis. Meeting her and her friends – worrying about them and whether or not they would be able to eat and find a place to sleep – took my mind off my problems, that then, seemed insignificant. It was – is – truly a life changing experience.


Dennis Cardiff has been involved with street people since 2010, when he began to reach out, on his own, to some of the people without homes who he encountered in his daily life. In his new book, he documents conversations he’s had with them over the past 4 years and, in the process, gives those who are often robbed of their humanity a human face. Written in diary form by month, and including some of Cardiff’s own poetry, the author chronicles the lives of people who are often ignored, feared or reviled.

We can do something about it if we stop ignoring them.



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About this project, Cardiff says, “Some panhandlers look intimidating, but that disappears when one sees them laugh.”

41Lfo9U0CDL._UX250_Dennis Cardiff lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. They each have two grown sons from previous marriages. An artist of many talents, Cardiff has been a professional portrait painter since 1972. He studied art at the Ontario College of Art, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Ottawa. As a writer, his poetry has been published in the Sheaf, the University of Saskatchewan’s newspaper, the Writing.com Anthology and an online poetry magazine, Shadowlands Express. His recent book “Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People” (book 1 of 4) was published by Karenzo Media. Books 2 and 3 are currently at the publishers, and the 4th book of the series will be available in January 2015.
You can find out more how to support the homeless through these mediums and by connecting with Dennis.

Dennis’s new show with Sara here 

 Find Dennis here  






Gotta Find A Home 2

More on your host Sara Troy’s shows, their-story-matters


5 thoughts on “TSM 15/41 Every Homeless Person has a Story

  1. Thank you Dennis, it takes a very big heart to step somewhere where most people fear to tread. And in the process you have given us a truer perspective of what really does happen to the homeless in their many circumstances and the pain that they travel also.
    I do appreciate being allowed to see something that I had in fact turned the other way from, thinking I knew what it was all about. Not even close, and for that, thank you, your telling it ‘like it is’ opened my eyes to a truth that escapes us all. Well done!

    • Dennis has moved me in my interview with him, I love it when man or persons can just by following their heart, make such a divine difference in the lives of others, it is truly a wonderful story

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