An Atheist Is Living Without Shelter in Phoenix to Raise Awareness for an Important Cause


At the heart of Humanism is the idea that human beings deserve to be treated with dignity, to have their autonomy respected, and to be regarded equally regardless of immaterial differences that have no bearing on one’s value — such as color, class, gender, and so forth.

After several recent interactions with people experiencing homelessness in Phoenix, where temperatures are frequently well over 100 degrees, I have come to realize that homelessness is a vile affront to all of these principles — and as a result, with the help of my Humanist community, the Flagstaff Freethinkers, and several other collaborating organizations, I am spearheading a unique and provocative project to work toward ending homelessness in Arizona.

As of yesterday, I am living without shelter in Phoenix until we raise $56,310 — representing $2 for every individual who experienced homelessness in Arizona last year. The money will go to support the Madison Street Veterans Association, which is in danger of losing its women’s section due to lack of funding. Madison Street is a secular 501(c)(3) peer-run group of homeless and formerly homeless veterans offering personal, individualized service, basic resources, community and advocacy for all veterans.

Many of the individuals I’ve met who are living without shelter have complex, painful, beautiful stories about their lives and about who they are. They have creative and innovative ideas. They have extraordinary value — and yet they are imprisoned in a way of life that causes extreme suffering both physically and mentally. We, as Humanists, need to be on the forefront of fighting to ensure that people do not end up without stable homes — especially in places like Phoenix, where those experiencing homelessness often end up with heat stroke, chronically sunburned and blistered skin, memory and cognitive impairment as a result of lack of sleep, and worse. We ought to find ways to keep families together when they endure financial hardship so that we do not destroy powerful systems of support and send men, women, and children into a spiral of poverty and isolation. And we must create an environment where human well-being is an essential piece of the considerations that weigh into sound economic policy.

You can follow the project at Blistering at the Margins where we’ll keep you updated on our fundraising efforts and where I’ll blog from the public library about living without shelter in Phoenix. If we work together, if we share the project on our social media, if we insist that homelessness in unacceptable to the Humanist community, we can create remarkable, lasting change for people blistering on the margins of society.


Please consider a donation to this Humanist cause. Together we can raise public awareness of and inform public discourse around homelessness; we can invest in an organization working effectively to prevent homelessness — and we can show the broader community that Humanists have a powerful set of ethical values that we boldly direct toward improving our world.


Written By: Seráh Blain
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  1. This is the very definition of Good without god. Unfortunately most atheists are not as organised, humanity could achieve so much more without the shackle of superstitious nonsense..

  2. Homelessness is ideological. Local politicians have admitted it would save them big bucks to house the homeless. The voters want the homeless punished even if it costs them heavily for their spite.

  3. Roedy, in rightie world, social housing == socialism, just like nationalised or even state-regulated healthcare. If the poor don’t suffer, how else can they become desperate enough to turn to religion, and thus develop morals? Obviously the rich have demonstrated their worth through their wealth, and have no need for things like morals or religion except as a show to guide the weak.

  4. Found some interesting facts about homelessness in Phoenix.


    Talks about who is homeless and at what cost to taxpayers.

    Good luck.

  5. In reply to #1 by adiroth:

    This is the very definition of Good without god. Unfortunately most atheists are not as organised…

    True but things ARE changing and humanists/atheists/freethinkers are getting more and more organized. Things are moving slowly but the wind of change is in the air. This site and many others is a sure sign of that. And young people like Serah Blain and Hemant Mehta give me hope.

  6. In the Canadian city in which I live, there are 3 major homeless shelters, one secular and 2 Christian (one of them the Sallies). If an intoxicated person turns up at either of the Christian shelters, even if it is -25C in our bitterly cold winters, he/she is turned away. The secular shelter never turns anyone away.
    So here you have a situation where the secular organization is more charitable than the “Christian” ones.
    Furthermore, if you donate used clothing to the Sallies, if it is not in near perfect condition, it’s baled and sent off for salvage. The other christian shelter takes every opportunity to proselytize, even having a go at my son who was volunteering there one afternoon with friends.

  7. In reply to #1 by adiroth:

    This is the very definition of Good without god. Unfortunately most atheists are not as organised, humanity could achieve so much more without the shackle of superstitious nonsense..

    Show us proof that “atheists are not as organised” right after you define it. What a pile of evidence free crap. You and the NearlyNakedApe are as bad as the crazy christians that claimed no atheists had helped after the last hurricane.

    Most large and serious charities are secular is that not enough?

    If you have nothing to say then don’t say the worst most inaccurate thing you can think of.

    EDIT – Also shouldn’t the title be “Humanist is living ….” as this is clearly about humanism not atheism? Would have helped comment #1 and a few Americans too.

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