Russ’s original homeless in Ottawa video:
I am in Edmonton volunteering at the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference. It’s probably the best conference in the homeless sector in North America. One of the many reasons I love CAEH is how they engage and integrate homeless people and formerly homeless people into their event. This year, they brought in 150 people with lived and living expertise on homelessness.
I was hanging out in the lived experience lounge that CAEH provides for homeless and formerly people to network and as a safe place to get out of the madness of the conference, which may be a traumatic experience for someone not used to large crowds.
In walks Russ with his friend Chris. I immediately recognized Russ. Back in 2013 or 2014, I interviewed Russ when he was homeless on the streets of Ottawa (the video wasn’t uploaded until 2014 but I believe I interviewed Russ much earlier).
Russ’s story shows that housing ends homelessness. While he was in a shelter, Russ was not able to look for work. Once he got into transitional housing and then his own place, Russ was able to get a job. Russ is living proof that housing first works.
The number one request I get is y’all want updates. Right now, our travel is dependent on of 3rd parties bringing me in for speaking or consulting. I am kind of in awe that just a few weeks ago, I was able to upload an update on Brenda [ and now an update on Russ. I do hope to someday be more intentional with our storytelling so we can provide more updates whenever possible.
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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.