I once heard a story about a homeless man on Hollywood Blvd who really thought he was invisible. But one day a kid handed the man a Christian pamphlet. The homeless guy was shocked and amazed, “What! You can see me? How can you see me? I’m invisible!”
It isn’t hard to comprehend this man’s slow spiral into invisibility. Once on the street, people started to walk past him, ignoring him as if he didn’t exist… much like they do a piece of trash on the sidewalk. It’s not that people are bad, but if we make eye contact, or engage in conversation, then we have to admit they exist and that we might have a basic human need to care. But it’s so much easier to simply close our eyes and shield our hearts to their existence.
I not only feel their pain, I truly know their pain. I lived their pain. You’d never know it now but I was a homeless person. Seventeen years ago, I lived on Hollywood Blvd. But today, I find myself looking away, ignoring the faces, avoiding their eyes — and I’m ashamed when I realize I’m doing it. But I really can feel their pain, and it is almost unbearable, but it’s just under the surface of my professional exterior.
For years I’ve used the lens of a television camera to tell the stories of homelessness and the organizations trying to help. That was part of my job. The reports were produced well and told a story, but the stories you see on this site are much different. These are the real people, telling their own, very real stories… unedited, uncensored and raw.
The purpose of this vlog is to make the invisible visible. I hope these people and their stories connect with you and don’t let go. I hope their conversations with me will start a conversation in your circle of friends.
After you get to know someone by watching their story, please pause for a few moments and write your thoughts in the comments section, or maybe email them to a friend and link back to this vlog . By keeping this dialog open we can help a forgotten people.
The invisible guy didn’t intend to become homeless. I didn’t plan on living on the street. Everyone on the streets has their own story, some made bad decisions, others were victims, but none of them deserve what they have been left with, and it is a reflection of our own society that we just leave them there.
Please always remember, the homeless people you’ll ignore today were much like you not so long ago.
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.t 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.
info [at] invisiblepeople [dot] tv
YouTube playlist with 13 short webisodes featuring Invisible People invisiblepeople.tv/movie
What others are saying and some cool stuff:
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:
- The Power of Pixels – Social Media & the Fight Against Homelessness
- Elevating New Voices to End Homelessness
Ford Motor Company:
- Mark Horvath is Helping to Fight Youth Homelessness
- Mark Horvath is Using a Ford to Make Invisible People Visible
- Using The Power Of Video To Illuminate Our Nation’s Homeless
- The 10 Most Generous Social Media Mavens
- 11 Twitter Activists You Should Be Following
- Social Good Stars: Mark Horvath
- Homeless People Speak Out on What They Want From Politicians (VIDEO)
- Mark’s achieve of featured posts on HuffPo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-horvath/
- TEDxYYC – Mark Horvath – Making Everyone Known
- Mark Horvath at TEDx SkidRow
- Breaking boundaries: Mark Horvath at TEDxOaksChristianSchool
Various authors have featured Mark in a number of different books:
Nedra Weinreich wrote about his work in Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Change for Good
Shelene Bryan wrote about his work in Love, Skip, Jump: Start Living the Adventure of Yes
Phil Cooke wrote about his work in One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do
Allison Fine wrote about his work in Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media