In the Shadows

Faceless and often forgotten, Detroit’s homeless people pass among us like fleeting silhouettes
Robert, 52, was sleeping on the steps of the Central United Methodist Church at Woodward and East Adams. He said he had been homeless for a year.

On a mission to raise awareness of the poor and homeless among us, Father Bob McCabe, pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Southgate, spent seven years focusing on the desperate need that exists just outside the headlights of wage-earning commuters.

“You’re in a car driving, and almost in your peripheral vision you see people who are homeless,” McCabe says. “They’re almost like shadows in society.”

Father Bob, as he likes to be called, says he hopes his photos will inspire people to support community organizations, shelters, and soup kitchens with time or money. What the homeless also need, he says is a connection. “They’re poor in a lot of ways,” he says. “They’re hungry for a lot of things, including human respect.”

The people pictured on these pages were primarily homeless, though some said they have shelter and get by with threadbare lives. The following photos (just a small sample of the images in Father Bob’s portfolio) depict no faces and include first names only, protecting pride and echoing the anonymity of those who spend their days and nights without basic human comforts.

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