I interviewed Michael last year in Traverse City, Michigan. After his five-year-old son died, he lost everything and crashed into homelessness. Here is a link to last year’s interview
This week I was back out on the streets of Traverse City with an outreach team. They told me Michael was still homeless and he wanted to talk to me. They updated me a little on what happened in the last year. My heart broke listening to how Michael has gone through more tragedy.
After I interviewed Michael last year, he was able to get inside for around four months. He was living in a house with his fiancée and a group of people. Michael’s fiancée passed away, and he could not stay in the house any longer. I was told by people connected to Michael it was very tragic.
As if that’s not heartbreaking enough, Micheal’s other son was killed a few months back by an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving our country. Then a few days later, his brother was murdered.
Even worse, Michael was recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He says that cancer has already spread from his pancreas all the way to his right side. Michael says he has a year to live.
All though Michael has suffered more tragedy, he claims to be happy. I can’t even imagine what he must be going through.
The public needs to understand that homeless people are not homeless by choice. If you look past the homelessness, the drug abuse, and the mental illness you’ll often find layers of trauma. Everyone deals with pain and suffering differently. When you see that homeless man on the streets, the public needs to know there is a story behind the person.
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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.