Tackling the harsh reality of poverty

Down and dirty Sean Krausert Photo: contributed
Down and dirty Sean Krausert Photo: contributed
Published October 1, 2011

The Rev. Sean Krausert feels grubby. He has been sleeping in a tent in his backyard for 19 days. He hasn’t had a bath in four days.

An ordained deacon from St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Canmore, Alta., Krauset isn’t preparing an audition tape for Survivor. He has been participating in “That Poverty Project,” a reality show of his own to raise awareness about poverty.

Following three months of simulated homelessness, Krauset will tackle three months of food rationing followed by three months of living on $8 a day.

Although the project has received mixed reviews, Krausert stands firm. “What’s crazy to me is living in a world of abundance [where many] people go to bed without food in their belly…without adequate water or sanitation…without having a roof over their heads.” Krausert gets two thumbs up from his family as well as people in his parish. “They all know I have a passion for social justice and a deacon’s duty is to inform the church of the needs of the world,” he says.

As part of the homelessness experience, which will end Thanksgiving Day (Oct. 10), Krausert enters the family home only to eat (akin to a homeless person who goes to a shelter) and use the bathroom. He washes and dries his clothes outside. His only mode of transportation is walking and he earns money by doing chores such as lawn mowing.

From Nov. 1 to the end of January, Krausert will join the ranks of Canada’s working poor, living on a daily allowance of $7.50. And from March 1 to the end of May, Krausert will eat the equivalent of World Food Programme rations.

Even though his situation is temporary, Krausert has noted the impact on his self-confidence. “I have experienced being fearful and worrisome about entering into situations with people even though they are my friends because I didn’t feel good about myself, the way I looked, the way I felt. I was wondering, ‘Do I smell? Am I too scruffy?’ ”

Krausert is documenting his experience online via a blog, a Facebook account and Twitter. To follow Krausert’s project, visit www.thatpovertyproject.com.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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