An Invitation To See The Faces Of People Who Are Unhoused: John

John and his cat, Lucky.

Meet John and his cat. can make this introduction thanks to the fine work of Steve McKenzie, a portrait photographer. Steve’s portraits come with notes:

I’ve met John before. He’s usually on the northwest corner of Lake and Michigan. He’s been out here a year and a half. A pretty mellow guy. His constant companion is “Lazy”, the cat. “I found her on Lower Wacker”, he said, “someone was mistreating her and he was really skinny”. John, on the other hand treats her like a queen. Lazy had a cat coat on and was wrapped up like a burrito in her cat bed. Last time I saw John it was so cold, he didn’t want to take Lazy out for a picture, but it was more mild out today, so he obliged. was inspired to share Steve’s portraits after reading a commentary by Jennifer Gerlach in Psychology Today1. Ms Gerlach encourages us to experience the humanity that is so obvious in the faces of people who are unhoused. Steve’s portraits give us all an opportunity to follow Jennifer Gerlach’s invitation.


  1. You can read Jennifer Gerlach’s commentary here: A Person With a Face, Unhoused on a Cold Winter Night