Carl is a U.S. Citizen Homeless in London



I was shocked when I first heard Carl’s accent. Carl is from Iowa. He is an American, and he is sleeping rough on the streets of London.

How does an American end up homeless in London? Carl was visiting some friends when all kinds of madness happened. He ended spending all the money he had, including funds to pay for travel home. Carl says the U.S. Embassy offered no help. The U.S, Embassy has programs for people who have lost their passport and such, yet there is no assistance for people who are broke and just want to return home.

I find this story very interesting. As we learned in Edwards story [ people from Romania cannot get benefits in the UK. Well, neither can someone from the U.S.. Before you get all upset, we do the same thing. When a person is not a U.S. citizen it’s extremely hard to find them support services. Both Carl and Edward cannot get a housing benefit (shelter) nor can they get any welfare assistance. That means they are left to beg to survive. Carl told me that his biggest challenge isn’t the cold, it’s that most public facilities in the U.K. are pay toilets.

Carl was able to find a refuge charity to help him get a ticket home, but that’s going to take a few days, and until then – – he’s out sleeping rough in the freezing cold. I am still trying to wrap my mind on an American being classified as a refuge. I mean, it makes perfect sense from an international perspective, but still very surreal.

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Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.

Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore. The vlog puts into context one of our nation’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories captured by the lens of Mark Horvath – its founder – and brings into focus the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions face each day. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.tv shatter the stereotypes of America’s homeless, force shifts in perception and deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to opening their eyes and their hearts to those too often forgotten.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness.

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