Seattle Entrepreneur Mike Momany Launches $2,000 Homeless Tour

| by Dominic Kelly

A Seattle entrepreneur is causing a lot of controversy for his newly launched “course in applied homelessness.”

Mike Momany’s new three-day course, called “The Sub-URBAN Experience,” costs $2,000 and puts participants directly into the homeless community of Seattle so that they can live it themselves and see what it’s like to live on the streets.

Momany, who reportedly was once homeless himself, has been getting a ton of negative feedback for what some people say is pure exploitation. Momany blocked the ability for people to comment on his course’s Facebook page after receiving negative comments. One commenter said, “Homeless people are not exhibits,” while another said, “This is horrible. It is one thing to bring attention and awareness of the homeless situation in our community, but to charge $2,000 AND take away a bed from someone who has no other choice? Repugnant.”

On the website for The Sub-URBAN Experience, Momany outlines the entire three-day experience.

Your Course in Applied Homelessness begins by transforming your look and persona into that of an anonymous homeless person. You will get a nickname and a simple life script. You will be completely anonymous. The first day we will start at the Public Market and visit some of its homeless gathering spots. We'll walk down to Pioneer Square, via the waterfront, and visit some favored homeless spots, including the Compass Center; a major resource under the viaduct. We'll wander over to the International District via the Courthouse on 3rd and James. We'll have to check in at our shelter, in the International District, by 7pm so we'll pick up some fruits and vegetables on the way for dinner.

Out of the shelter by 7am, we'll get some coffee and head up Broadway to check out some parks frequented by the homeless. You might have enough chutzpah to try your hand at panhandling or sleeping on a park bench on this leg. You'll get a real perspective on how the public perceives the homeless. We'll meander on down to the Recovery Cafe where we'll get a nice free lunch and espresso. Here you'll have a chance to sit and converse with fellow homeless folks. It's very nice. It was funded by the Gates Foundation. Then it's off to the beautiful Seattle Public Library. Many homeless people spend their days here.

We stayed at the Moore Hotel so that we could get out and wander the wiley streets at 3am. We'll sleep in a bit and then have a nice breakfast at the Moore Coffee Shop before meandering up through Belltown checking out more homeless haunts along the way as we head towards Queene Anne and the Seattle Center; a favorite hangout for the homeless. After a pleasant afternoon at the Seattle Center we'll test the dress codes at some of the finer restaurants on Queen Anne and then top it off with a cocktail and conversation at a long time watering hole, a historic working class dive bar the Mecca Cafe.

At this point I hope you've thoroughly enjoyed my Course in Applied Homelessness in Seattle, from the perspective of a homeless person. I hope our exclusive tour will be remembered for ever and you'll have a keener perspective on what it means to be homeless; a place all of us might not be to far from.