Homeless in Austin Fighting Mental Illness after Spending Most of His Life in Prison



John has lived on the streets of Austin homeless for close to four years. He tries to do things differently by keeping to himself and staying away from common areas.

John spent most of his life locked up in prison. John shared that he has spent more time in prison than he has spent on the streets. Before you judge John, whatever he did, he has done his time and has been released. Our criminal justice system does almost nothing to help ex-convicts get back into society. Many end up on the streets homeless, and as taxpayers, you pay for their homelessness.

John suffers from mental illness and other health issues. He says he is working with good case managers and is on a list to be housed soon. John believes that how people are selected for housing is obsolete and needs to be redone. His basis for this is the fact that homeless people can be on a housing list for years and never get into housing. John is a smart man.

John went on to give more suggestions on homeless services and case management. He believes and I agree that some people need help transitioning from a life of prison and then homelessness into housing.

At the end, John invited me to visit his new apartment when he gets housing. Just so happens I will be in Austin for SXSW early next year and hope to visit John in his castle!

Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.

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There is a direct correlation between what the general public perceives about homelessness and how it affects policy change. Most people blame homelessness on the person experiencing it instead of the increasing shortage of affordable housing, lack of employment, a living wage or the countless reasons that put a person at risk. This lack of understanding creates a dangerous cycle of misperception that leads to the inability to effectively address the root causes of homelessness.

We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Each day, we work to fight homelessness by giving it a face while educating individuals about the systemic issues that contribute to its existence. Through storytelling, education, news, and activism, we are changing the narrative on homelessness.

This isn’t just talk. Each year, our groundbreaking educational content reaches more than a billion people across the globe. Our real and unfiltered stories of homelessness shatter stereotypes, demand attention and deliver a call-to-action that is being answered by governments, major brands, nonprofit organizations, and everyday citizens just like you.

However, there is more work to be done on the road ahead. Homelessness is undoubtedly one of our biggest societal issues today and will only continue to grow if we don’t take action now.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about homelessness through innovative storytelling, news, and advocacy. Since our launch in 2008, Invisible People has become a pioneer and trusted resource for inspiring action and raising awareness in support of advocacy, policy change and thoughtful dialogue around poverty in North America and the United Kingdom.

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