A few years ago you’d only see tents in the Skid Row area of L.A., but these days homeless encampments are all over Los Angeles County. On a recent visit, I asked someone that works for the city where might find homeless people living in tents. They responded just to throw a dart at a map. In other words, you don’t have to look to find homeless people in Los Angeles – they are everywhere.
Cheryl and Sam live in a tent near downtown Los Angeles. Cheryl has been on the streets for almost a year. She is a victim of domestic violence. Sam has been homeless for nearly two years after a bad divorce.
Sam is getting help from a local homeless services provider. He is on a list for housing and should be off the streets and no longer homeless by next month. Cheryl is not getting support. For some reason, she does not qualify. Because they are a homeless couple and not married, they cannot stay together.
Cheryl shares about the challenges of living without a bathroom and that there is no trash pickup. The public often complains about homeless camps and trash. The solution is to end homelessness – period. But until that happens, communities need to figure out a way to be able to provide garbage services for homeless 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.