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by | Jan 19, 2021 | Education, Featured Articles, The Home Coming

The homeless tell us that they feel invisible

The Home Coming is a project to create life-sized bronze sculptures to complement and humanize the Homeless Memorial which has existed in on Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas for over two decades. The homeless tell us that they feel invisible – The Homecoming will at last put a face on homelessness, showing the plight of the Veteran (one-third of all homeless are U.S. Veterans), his child (the average age of the homeless is nine years old), and the forgotten woman (a victim of domestic violence, physical or mental illness, lost jobs and benefits). Sculpture artist, founder and president of HTH, Richard R. Troxell, has donating his time and labor to the project.

Behind the Scenes

The Veteran in my mind is lost in his own revelry. His promises of “America the Beautiful” have been betrayed. He sacrificed his youth and in thanks only gained the aching hollowness left behind by lost brothers. He will go on because he has true grit. But he is shop worn. Yes, he is angry but he swallows his anger or his daughter. His anger is suppressed and has been supplanted with the drive to bring his daughter into a better world if he can only find it. His gaze is lost staring into the fire as happens to people late at night at the end of a very very long day…. or after years of searching for “the promised land.”
The interaction is between the old woman and the child. The child sees her first, because in spite of everything, her spirit remains alive…vital. The old woman is defeated. She may well have partial cataracts following decades absent of medical care. She has lost everything. She raised three children. One is now dead and two are blowing in the wind. Her husband just left one day and never returned. She is in the absolute darkness. Suffering chronic depression, she trudges from nowhere and is going to nowhere. When she first sees the flicker of the fire light in her upper peripheral vision, she is not sure of the shadowy figures behind it.

The little girl sees her and sees the old woman as a possible companion…who may know the secretes that the future holds for her. They are reflections of one another’s past and future. The girl is desperate to strike a spark only struck between two gals… the little girl coaxes the old woman to the camp almost like a puppy.

The old woman now drawn closer to the camp, is still hard pressed to see and understand the intentions of the man and daughter now seen clearly warming themselves by the fire. The Veteran father feels the excitement in the body of his little girl, and he is stirred from his daze. Looking at the little girl and then following her gaze, he sees the old woman and realizes his daughter’s desire to welcome her into their camp. He immediately follows suit and beckons the old woman to the warmth of the fire. Haltingly, the old woman closes the gap between them and then she freezes. The essence of the moment envelopes her. She is being welcomed into their camp…their home. She is being beckoned…welcomed home…no questions. She is emotionally and physically over-whelmed. Her satchels… her burdens, drop the last 1 1/2 ” to the ground. There is a look of awe, wonderment, relief, joy…even tears. The energy release can be seen in her shoulders…her entire being. The statue is called The Home Coming.

Backstory Detail

Each set of miniatures comes with a label displaying the signature of Timothy P. Schmalz, one of the world’s premiere bronze sculptors (  “Jesus on the Bench” is one of his original art pieces. 

Each character in the statue has their own story of homelessness, including Joey the dog.  The statue entitled The Home Coming, conceived and designed by Richard R. Troxell, is the story of a chance encounter at the edge of the woods where people, who have almost nothing, gladly share what little they have with others.

Contributions of $250 or more will secure you a set of these touching maquettes while they last.  All contributions will be matched dollar for dollar by some incredible people who support House the Homeless and wish to put a face on homelessness.A donation of $250.00 or more entitles the donor to a miniature of The Home Coming statue.  Please specify- “I would like the miniatures.” or “No miniatures” in a note with your check or in the comment box when paying with PayPal.

Embedded in the life-size statue will be a QR Code that will tell the back story of each character, link to a short video of “Community First” (, and provide an opportunity to make a contribution to support Community First and people with disabilities who reside there.
Thank you for your support.