I met JW on Skid Row. His story is as real as real can be, and why I post a caution on the front of this site. It’s the stories like JW’s that we need to hear and yet so often ignore!
JW used to drink heavy to make the pain go away, but when his drinking messed up his liver and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, JW moved on to pain pills, and eventually heroin.
For those of you who have never tried heroin, it is the perfect drug for escaping life – especially homelessness! Once you shoot up or smoke, you pretty much don’t care about anything. For a couple of dollars heroin can take everything away! Heroin is a narcotic and extremely addictive. What may start off as physical and emotional pain relief, heroin quickly destroys a person’s life, and so the vicious cycle of drug abuse begins.
JW is currently in a wheelchair. His foot is infected and the doctors are suggesting to amputate his foot. The problem was JW’s use of heroin stopped any feeling of pain so the infection kept getting worse and is now in his bones.
When I asked JW what his future is like he said that he wants to sober up and help others. JW wished to be 19 again, to be reunited with his family, and to get off the drugs.
The good news is an outreach worker for the LA Mission was there to hopefully help JW get into detox and then transitional housing. Why I say ‘hopefully” is because JW lost his ID so there is some work do be done before he can get into a program.
JW’s story is an important one because there are a lot of people just like JW out on the streets. Most are good people, but their addictions have eventually taken over their lives. I was one, and I am living proof we can never give up on people!
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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.