Video is for this post: New Invisible People Launches: See. Learn. Take Action.
Around ten years ago during a period of extended unemployment, it looked like I was crashing back into homelessness for a second time. I had no income. I was surviving by eating $1 pizzas from Ralph’s grocery store, which are mostly cardboard with tomato sauce. It was a very dark time in my life.
I grabbed my dinky camera and started to interview homeless people. I had to sell my Avid (video editing software) workstation when I lost my house to foreclosure. The laptop I had back then would not allow me to edit video. Being that I am a television producer by trade, I thought video needed music, graphics, and B-roll or it wasn’t video. I almost didn’t move forward until I said to myself “no one is going to watch this” and I uploaded the video to YouTube raw and unedited.
45 million views later, I now know authenticity has replaced production value.
I wish I could tell you that my goal was to help make our world a better place but the truth is I was just giving myself purpose to get up in the morning. I took $45 and registered a domain, bought some server space, and I hacked out the header photo on a WordPress theme and the very first Invisible People was born.
I am excited to launch a brand new and improved Invisible People with a new look, a new web presence, and a new engagement strategy. This entire brand refresh has been two years in the making.
In typical Invisible people style, I started making these changes with no money. Money helps a lot but I am living proof that people can do a lot with a little. The lack of money should never stop us from moving forward.
After working for a year, a few donors stepped up to support Invisible People’s vision (thank you, Kurt, Dorit and Al, and Hanesbrands). I took a look at where we were at and I decided to start from scratch.
That added another year to the project but it was the right decision. There is no map or guide for the work we do. Invisible People is completely unique in both what we do and the amount of reach we have educating the public on homelessness. Much of the backend comes by trial and error and a strong belief in audience building.
Here’s what’s new:
LEARN MORE is where people can learn about homelessness. Up until now, if a young adult wanted to learn about any homelessness, they have to sift through educational content or fundraising materials. There was no place on the internet for a high school student to find information on homelessness for a homework assignment, until now!
STORIES is where you can find the raw and unfiltered stories of homeless people that we have been uploading for over a decade now.
NEWS is precisely that – news on homelessness and solutions to end it. As I stated above, we are still adding content to this section. Right now, it is stuff I wrote over the years. But very soon you’ll be able to find well-written articles from professional journalists, academics, leading experts, homeless people and formerly homeless people. As we grow, one of our goals is to hire as many writers with lived experience of homelessness as possible.
GET INVOLVED is the feature I am the most excited about. If you live in the United States and click on the GET INVOLVED tab, we make it easy for you to contact your legislators to demand they make ending homelessness a priority. Just input your address and you are able to email, tweet, call or Facebook your federal and state lawmakers right from our site! This feature is all set to go, so feel free to give it a try.
We’ve even made it possible for people to donate with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and a few other cryptocurrencies.
Our new website, brand refresh, and engagement strategy will multiply our reach and significantly increase our impact educating the public on homelessness. And now we can direct people to take tangible actions to help end homelessness.
While Invisible People has been around for ten years, I feel like we are now just at the beginning. This year will be our biggest year yet! Besides partnering with Oculus on a virtual reality film on homelessness, we are going to produce educational programming for colleges and high schools to use.
There are no words to express how grateful I am to all of the people who believed in me and Invisible People’s important work. Your support is what makes all of this possible! Thank you!
On March 13th I turn 58, and I am asking everyone to please consider donating at least $29 (half my age) to help support Invisible people’s important work
Invisible People’s website: