When most people think of homelessness, they envision a homeless person covered in dirty flying a cardboard sign begging for money. The image of a chronic homeless person has been reinforced for decades by media and even nonprofit fundraising materials. The real truth is most homeless people do not look like the stereotypical homeless person.
When I was an outreach case manager in Los Angeles, I would say probably 85% of our clients you’d never know they were without a home unless they told you.
When Michael told me he has been homeless in Austin, Texas, for 34 years, I was shocked. As I said, most homeless people do not look homeless; however, the longer a person lives on the streets, the worse their physical and mental condition gets. Homelessness is horrible. Fighting to survive every day takes its toll.
Michael says his homelessness was a result of a bad marriage. He continued, “after a broken heart, I hit the streets.” Michael has been addicted to everything, and he has quit everything. I have to say living on the streets for 34 years and not having a severe addiction problem is a miracle. I have tremendous respect for Michael.
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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About Invisible People
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.