Grab your virtual reality headset to watch this powerful VR180 video featuring Couper, a disabled firefighter helping homeless people in San Francisco – even though she is homeless herself! This video will play on a mobile device or desktop, and you can move your phone or mouse around to see more than you would on a regular video. But in a headset, you’ll experience Couper’s story in 3D, and it’s really, really cool!
“I’m sick of seeing people suffer,” Couper said, referring to people experiencing homelessness and in need of help.
As a firefighter, Couper’s whole life was about helping others. When she was hurt on the job and could no longer work, her focus didn’t change. She underwent four back surgeries with the hopes of returning to her job. It just was not possible. Life then spiraled downward until she ended up without a place to stay. Couper eventually found herself sleeping in a tent.
Even though she herself was living on the streets, Couper continued helping people. Many homeless people either cannot go or will not go to a hospital to seek medical attention. To help them, Couper provides medical support – evaluating people, treating abscesses, administering Narcan. She showed one woman, who was shot and sustained neck injuries, exercises to improve her condition and suggested getting a neck brace.
Couper is known as a street medic to those she helps. While she misses her job as a firefighter, Couper believes everything happens for a reason. As a street medic, she’s helped 53 people come back from an overdose – people who probably wouldn’t be alive today otherwise.
But she also wants to feel normal again. Couper currently lives with her cat in an RV parked on the side of the road. Although better than a tent, an RV is still not home. There is no bathroom and no security. Couper’s biggest fear is she’ll come back one day and everything she owns will be towed away.
“The only difference between us and people who are housed is just they have a roof over their head and we don’t … people need to be treated with respect and that is the one thing that is lacking here – respect,” she said.
Couper is an amazing woman with a heartfelt story of resilience and compassion. She does what she can when she can because everyone needs help. If everyone would just do that, we could end homelessness!
Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.