An emotional evening at Book Culture


Standing-room only crowd with Susan Greenfield at podium. Photo: Matthew Weissman

On April 24 in Morningside Heights near the Columbia campus, the second floor of Book Culture was packed with a standing-room only audience who had come to a unique book reading. One by one, four formerly homeless people featured in “Sacred Shelter: Thirteen Journeys of Homeless and Healing,” edited by Susan Celia Greenfield, read selections of their life stories. Edna Humphrey, Heidi Nissen, Lisa Sperber and Sophia Worrell shared traumas from their youth, the devastation of homelessness and the healing they discovered through community and faith. The audience was riveted; people gasped and some cried. All the readers are graduates of an interfaith life skills empowerment program, founded in 1989 by George Horton of New York Catholic Charities and Marc Greenberg of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. The evening’s speakers also included Dawn Ravella, director of a life skills program for the Reformed Church of Bronxville, and Ira Ben-Wiseman, a program mentor. Said Marc Greenberg, executive director of the Interfaith Assembly: “Homelessness does not need to exist in our society.”