Local Color - Staff Picks
Published: July 18, 2012
Even in the best of circumstances, it's a huge pain in the ass to run for office. When you're homeless, it's practically impossible. Local homeless advocate Bruce Shawen knows. He tried to file to run for city office earlier this year but ended up having to pull out of the race after spending a considerable amount of time trying to fundraise, get signatures on a petition to support his candidacy and find a way to pay the filing fees associated with running a campaign. One thing Shawen didn't take into account when he decided to run was how hard it would be to convince the city that he was actually a city resident – without a permanent address, he wasn't able to prove that he was, and when he tried to get homeless shelters he stayed at to give him proof of residency, he was turned down because of privacy laws that make it illegal for many service agencies to provide any information at all about their clients. Shawen ended up throwing in the towel on his campaign, but before he did, he made sure the local media (and his fellow candidates) were well aware of this new twist on the frustrations and powerlessness of being homelessness.