Mike takes responsibility for ending up homelessness. He had some sober time, but after an illness regressed back to old behaviors. Now, Mike wants to better his life and get out of homelessness, but more often than not, homeless services don’t make it easy for people to get off the streets.
I met Mike while walking across a downtown street in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We struck up a conversation and being honest, I was not sure he was homeless. I asked him if he wanted some socks and that’s when the conversation changed. In this interview, Mike shares how hard it is to go to a job interview when you don’t have bus money or clean clothes.
The local shelter kicks people out into the cold at 6am every day, and with no resources to go look for work. People are not allowed back into the shelter until 7:30 at night. As much as I hate this model of kicking people out during the day it is very common. Normally, business and public services don’t open until 9am, so homeless people have to wander around outside even in freezing weather.
Mike told me the shelter makes people blow into a breathalyzer to get in at night. I understand and actually support abstinence-based models as long as there are other ‘low barrier’ options in the community available. Alcohol and drugs eventually take over a person’s life and they cannot simply quit. By only allowing sober people into the homeless shelter in severe weather states like Minnesota, chronic alcoholics are then refused services when they need them the most.Distributed by OneLoad.com
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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.