Don't Show Up to the Homeless Shelter Wearing Your Burberry Scarf

No seriously, it's not a good idea.

That's the rest of the title up there...


Hey hey, good evening, how are ya?

My name is Katie Palacio

Through a series of unfortunate events (yeah, yeah, ripping off Lemony Snicket) I went from being an upper class housewife to a homeless shelter...seriously overnight. One day I was volunteering at the community center and wrapping christmas presents for the poor kids and the next day MY OWN KIDS were unwrapping those presents. 

Now, I think where my story differs from all these pearl clutching white people who are 'confessing' that they drove their Mercedes to pick up food stamps, I actually have a sense of humor about myself and my sheer clulessness about people in poverty. These 'it happened to me stories' never recognize cultural capital.


Here's the first paragraph of a piece I wrote for a class. I can be more folksy about it if you want, but I am pretty ruthless in the piece as it stands.

Ok, here ya go:

(A letter to my newly destitute self)

Don’t show up to the homeless shelter wearing your Burberry Scarf.

No. Seriously, it's not a good idea.

I don't care if you inherited it from your mother and are 90% sure that it's fake. That plaid pattern is uber recognizable now, even to the other homeless chicks.

Combine that with the fact that you just pulled up in a Lexus, and you might deduce that the other ladies already hate your guts. They don’t care that the Lexus is 10 years old. They don’t care that it’s not insured. They don’t care that the Lexus hasn't been registered since October and it’s February and every time you and your kids see a police officer behind you, you instruct the whole family to sing the magic police repellant song, "Cop, Cop, go away, bust someone else on this fine day!” (Which totally works, it’s amazing...if you're a white lady.)

Yeaaaah...They just see that Lexus. Consider yourself hated.

The homeless shelter is not a place to be super friendly, either.. Remember when you went to Rehab, otherwise known as a 28 day vacation from your life, and it was all,

"Peace and Love, pass the Chobani Greek yogurt, Heather!”

It’s not like that at all here.


Ok, that's a taste. Let me know if you are interested.

oh, I forgot to tell you thatat the end of the story I don't save any brown women, or do that Wonder Year's thing where Fred Savage goes: "That summer I realized..."

But it DID change my life. Just not in a white savior way.


Katie Palacio