Mental Health Matters: ’48, An Experiential Memoir on Homelessness’
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Dr. Sheldon Jacobs is back at a stretch of Downtown Las Vegas that most people pass by and never think twice about—a bit of sidewalk and a power box turned sanctuary.
“I was really struggling, taking in a lot of everything, reflecting not just for me but for others who are in shelters, live on streets, weeks on end,” he recalled.
This was part of the doctor’s self-described radical idea— to feel what it’s like to live on the streets. The licensed marriage and family therapist, also an advocate for those experiencing homelessness, would go undercover, buying clothes from a shelter, and asked for money.
“How hard it was, granted I was only out here for 48 hours, just the heat, the weather, I was dehydrated, I was struggling, other individuals struggling, seeing their flight. The other challenge was how humanity treated us, me, just cold. People acted like I didn’t exist.”
Five years later, ’48, An Experiential Memoir on Homelessness’ was born, written during the pandemic. It’s his way, he says, of lending a voice to the voiceless and shining a light when there is so much dark but also recognizing the humanity that is out there. He told News 3’s Marie Mortera a memory of a child who saw him.
“The girl kind of stopping, seeing concern on her face, that right there told me, there is hope for these children (thinking) there’s person who should not be on this street corner like this, trying to reconcile that, rectify that, a sign that there is good out there.”