AUSTIN (KXAN) — A local nonprofit wants to end the negative stigma associated with homelessness through personal stories.
Humanize Austin launched about a month ago, and they already have big plans.
“When you face really big hardships in your life, it really changes your perspective on things,” said Dusty Monroe, co-founder of Humanize Austin.
Dusty was diagnosed with a brain tumor in August, and since then he has been receiving treatment.
“My tumor is slightly shrinking, but I’m probably six months to a year to it being gone,” Dusty said.
Even while dealing with treatment and a full-time job, Dusty and his wife Karla still found time to start the nonprofit.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone,” Karla said.
The goal, the couple said, is to put a face on homelessness.
“We don’t know all the stories of these people,” Karla said.
But they want to tell the stories of those experiencing homelessness, and use technology to do it.
“They have this sign that says hear my story and there is a QR code,” Dusty said.
Once someone scans it, a profile will come up.
“You can watch their video, you can donate to them, you can hire them,” Dusty said.
From personal stories of how the person became homeless, to a list of their job skills, the information is aimed at getting them back on their feet and off the streets.
“Research and studies show that homeless people are not perceived as fully human and so that is really what Humanize Austin is all about,” Dusty said. “It’s to educate folks and remove that stigma and prejudice and discrimination that many people have toward those that are homeless.”
“That stigma is something we are working so hard to put behind us and be able to see them just like we see our loved ones,” Karla said.
Humanize Austin hopes to have the signs ready to go and hand them out early next year.
If you would like to donate or volunteer, visit Humanize Austin’s website.