All content © December 2010 by Lauren Frohne

“Homeless in Durham” is a multimedia project that examines the cycle of homelessness in Durham, N.C. through the eyes of two men: Carl Bittner, who has been homeless for 23 years, and Mark Sheldon, who has been homeless for less than a year. Both men struggle with substance abuse, family trauma and an unending battle with themselves. It also provides a look at the community of homeless people who live in the woods along Highway 15-501 and the outreach workers who try to help them.

This project was created as my master’s thesis for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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UPDATE: January 22, 2011

Carl, now sober for six months, sent me a few pictures taken by his brother at a recent Open Table Ministry event. Carl and his brother Jim had not spoken for many years, but Jim got in touch with him after finding out about him through this project.

At this event, Carl spoke on behalf of the homeless community and about his experience becoming sober and housed. The difference between Carl then, in this video story, and Carl now, in these pictures, is astounding.

Carl with local TV reporters covering the Open Table Ministry Walk-a-thon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC

Carl and his brother Jim

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Thanks to:

Carolyn Schuldt, Paul McFarland, and all of the Open Table Ministry volunteers; Julia Gamble and Urban Ministries of Durham; Carl Bittner, Mark Sheldon, and everyone else who opened up their stories to me; Housing for New Hope and Debbie Brees; Durham Center, City of Durham, Durham Regional Hospital, and Durham Police Department; my friends Jessey Dearing, Emily Yount, Monica Ulmanu, Andrew Gaerig, Kasha Stevenson, and John Adkisson for helping me so much along the way; Pat Davison, Cindy Anderson, Dr. Anne Johnston, Chris Roush, and all of my professors at UNC’s School of Journalism; and especially to the Park Foundation, Mr. Roy H. Park, Jr. and his family for granting me the time, money and opportunity to pursue a career that I love.

Thank you to my thesis committee for all of your patience and support:
Laura Ruel
Chad Stevens
Mike Schmidt

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Read more about me and see my work at http://laurenfrohne.com.