Venice Beach Homeless Man Shares about Schizophrenia and Life on the Streets



I want to make sure you hear this powerful statement Walter shared in this interview:

“Who suffers? The elderly, the vets, more homeless, more minorities. Minorities, once you’re out here, it don’t matter what color you are. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are a minority again. When you’re a minority, no one listens. When no one listens, you got to speak louder, and if you don’t speak louder, like Martin Luther King says, who gives a damn? Okay, I don’t mean speak louder as in being totally angry, but you got to speak up for yourself and that other person who’s homeless, that other person, no matter who it is — elderly, whatever, mental problem — you’ve got to speak not just for yourself, you got to speak for everybody.”

Walter grew up in the conservative midwest state of Missouri. Walter has strong political views, and he does not like Republicans. He feels that they don’t “give a damn.” Right or wrong, that’s what Walter believes. I try to stay away from politics, so I hope people watching this video will see past any politics and listen to what Walter has to say about mental illness and life on the streets living homeless in Venice Beach.

I have huge respect for Walter for having the courage to be open and honest about his mental illness. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder and bipolar. Walter hears voices and sometimes talks to himself. He shares how people walk by him and say “he’s one of them…crazy.” Walter shares that mental illness can happen to anyone.

In Venice Beach and in many Los Angeles communities, police force homeless people to tear down their tents early in the morning and move to another area. The problem is, there is no place for homeless people to relocate to. It’s an endless Whack-a-mole game paid for by taxpayers. There is really only one way to stop this madness and that’s to get homeless people off the streets into housing.

Every single day Walter and his wife have to face the reality of homelessness. There are no days off. No vacation days. No personal leave. I cannot imagine how the stress of life on the streets affects his or anyone’s mental health.

Please watch this interview and listen to Walter’s story and how he survives with mental illness. Hear him speak with compassion on how we all need to speak up for other people who need our help. Then please take tangible action to help fight homelessness in your community. Housing people saves lives and saves taxpayer money!

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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.

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