My name is Brianna Karp and I am the author of The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness.
I suppose I am a typical Californian girl. Due to multiple factors, I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself homeless – with a giant, goofy, hungry dog tagging along for the ride!
Now I’ve written a book about being just one of the millions of homeless voices in America. I spent 2 1/2 years homeless. The first 9 months were spent living with an informal homeless community in a Walmart parking lot.
I am an educated woman with stable employment and residence history. I have never done drugs. I am not mentally ill. I am a career executive assistant – coherent, opinionated, poised, and capable. If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn’t have assumed that I lived in a parking lot. In short, I was just like you – except without the convenience of a permanent address.
Since the events documented in the book transpired, I’ve been privileged to co-found World Homeless Day, a grassroots global initiative which launched on 10/10/10, takes place on October 10th of every year and has been recognized with participating events in over 100 countries! I am also honored to have joined the Board of Directors for the California Coalition for Youth, which operates the California Youth Crisis Line and collaborates with the youth of California themselves to participate in democracy and advocacy at a hands-on level by speaking with legislators and writing, sponsoring, and supporting the passage of bills that will improve the lives of California’s homeless population and foster youth.
In addition to these endeavors and my 9-5 administrative job at SoCal’s South Coast Repertory, I am often given the opportunity to travel the globe and speak at homeless services conferences, literary events, and social issues summits sharing my experience, challenging popular misconceptions and stereotypes about homelessness, and educating the public on the evolving needs of the homeless population. Life has gotten very busy, but never boring – I am truly grateful that from some traumatic personal circumstances, I was lucky enough to discover a passion for helping others and helping to improve our world, if only just a little bit. :)