Poverty Tourism: Take A Homeless Holiday

The time-honored tradition of taking people through lower-class areas populated by the homeless community, disadvantaged groups, and marginalized people for money is boldly carried on across the globe, from Haitian relief tours (“An adventure awaits you in Haiti!”) to, well, a “homeless experience” offered in Seattle for the low, low price of $2,000 for a three-day weekend you'll never forget.

Mike Momany, a long-time resident of Seattle, decided to take to the streets to get a taste of what it's like to be homeless. Now that he's done that, he's ready to monetize, with a flawless three-day, two-night itinerary for anyone with the greenbacks to cough up for the experience.

Visitors get to stay in a real homeless shelter, scam free meals, and even sleep on a park bench, should they so desire.

Momany promises a look at the “seedy side” of Seattle, a reminder of all the Victorian-era slumming tours where people took their fancy carriages to gaze at the slums of London, except that he offers a more immersive experience. Instead of being a passive observer, participants pretend to be homeless, complete with artfully designed costumes, street names, and fake backgrounds.

What's unclear is how much, if any, of the $2,000 (US) fee is routed back to social services, charities, and the organizations he uses in his tour.