Blog Archives - Invisible People

Smartphone & Social Media: A Solution to Combat Homelessness | TEDxSyracuseUniversity

TEDx Syracuse University Mark Horvath

Four out of five smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. 80% of those say it’s the first thing they do in the morning. 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night. 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without. 56% of children, age 8 to 12, have a cellphone.

Mobile technology has become a way of life, yet when the general public sees a homeless person with a cellphone or a laptop, they freak out. The very tools we all take for granted can help people experiencing homelessness better their lives and get out of homelessness.

The very tools we all take for granted can help people experiencing homelessness better their… Click To Tweet

Come Make a Difference with Invisible People! We Are Seeking a Part-time Executive Director.

We’re seeking a part-time Executive Director that has the ability to articulate our passion clearly and in a way that gets other people equally passionate. You will have to possess the startup hustle as funding this role is your main objective coming in. Your experience must include a successful history of taking a vision from concept to the next level and beyond.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) innovative storytelling nonprofit that connects people to the face of homelessness in a direct and meaningful way.  We humanize and normalize the subject and build empathy in the viewer.  It’s easy for homeless people to be an ‘other’. Invisible People makes them real people with real stories. Once people are real, normal and sympathetic, it is easier for the general public to take action in support of ending homelessness

We have a short quiz for you.  It’s not hard. Ask yourself these questions (and be honest!).

  • Do you need to satisfy your hunger to make the world a better place?
  • Have you been able to bring in funding for other non-profits and love fundraising for great causes?
  • Do you have a successful track record of researching grants and then writing them so they are funded?
  • Have you been successful researching and developing educational and awareness products for schools and college with impact?
  • Can you juggle? Just kidding, but not really!  Are you the type of person who is organized with multiple balls in the air?  Can you catch them, not drop them and launch new ones?
  • Are you proficient with performing your own administrative tasks?
  • When you think of your best characteristics do they include passion, idealism, integrity and self-motivation?
  • Are you mission driven, action/results-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable and innovative?
  • Do you form bonds quickly with everyone you meet? Do people automatically feel comfortable with you? Are you a born networker that understands relationships are the key to success?

Okay you made it through most of these with a resounding yes, right?

Our ideal candidate has:

  • A minimum of five years of related professional experience in executive leadership positions, preferably within non-profit agencies.
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in business administration, nonprofit administration, or public administration required. Master’s Degree is preferred. Equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.
  • Experience working with nonprofit boards and board development.
  • Experience with researching and producing educational and awareness products/materials for schools and colleges.
  • Broadcasting, media production or journalism experience preferred.
  • Background working in homeless services sector a huge plus.

What’s in it for you?

  • You can quit thinking about making the world a better place and actually do it through ending homelessness.
  • Work a flexible schedule.
  • Work from home, Starbucks, or any place you like.
  • Have the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet talented and passionate people.
  • Every day is a holiday… well not really but every day there will be surprises.
  • Work with true Change Makers
  • Have the autonomy in this opportunity to make a real difference.

If this sounds like the perfect role, apply now! We need you! The world needs you!

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to [email protected]

This is a contract position. Compensation commensurate with experience.

Click here to download a PDF of this posting.



















It’s Our Fault People Stay on the Streets

It’s very common for homeless service providers to say “They don’t want our help. They don’t want to be told what to do. They want to be homeless”. Let me ask you, does anyone want to be told what to do? We live in a world where, for the most part, we have freedom of choice, yet we offer people experiencing homelessness a world where they have to get up when we tell them to, stand in line for food when we tell them to, eat what we tell them to, go to bed when we tell them to, take a shower when we tell them to, and so on. Many faith-based organizations add on to this forced religious programming and church attendance. In far too many situations we offer people experiencing homelessness a world with very little choice.

There is a very serious problem when a person would rather sleep outside instead of receiving support, and the problem is not the person. The problem is what we are offering is so often without dignity and freedom of choice!

Photo: Alison Guillory


Lanny Tribute: Good-bye Lanny. Thank You for Changing My Life

I was working as an outreach case manager when Glendale Police called about a homeless man they found in an abandoned building. Upon arrival I found a scared older man huddled in a corner in the worst possible condition a human being can be. I took Lanny back to our facility and offered him a shower and some clean clothes.

Over the next few years Lanny and I became close friends. I would look for him almost every day when I was working outreach, and when I was traveling with Invisible People, Lanny would inquire with my co-workers asking for information about my return.tumblr_mj4dgpLNhN1qzqiq0o1_1280

I committed to getting Lanny off the streets. It took 3 and a half years to get him into housing, but once he had his own place that provided personal dignity, the transformation for the better was immediate.

This video on Housing First helps share that part of the story

Lanny passed away this week. Last time I hung out with Lanny was last January. I stopped by his apartment and took him to dinner.

Although I am saddened by Lanny’s death, I know he had a good life in his very own apartment the last few years.

Lanny is proof we can end homelessness. There are a lot more Lanny’s still on the street. We MUST do everything we can to end homelessness for EVERYONE!

Lanny changed my life in ways. I am grateful for the bond we developed. Lanny will be missed.

Good-bye Lanny. I love you!


It’s Not “Wet Housing”. It’s Just Housing.

When I landed in Seattle last month, I received an email from Daniel Malone, who at the time was Deputy Director of DESC and is now Executive Director. In the email, Daniel asked me what I wanted to see during my visit. While still on the plane typing with my thumbs I responded “wet housing”, but as soon as I hit send I felt a little uncomfortable that I used that term. I quickly followed up with another email requesting to see their “low barrier services”.  I am not sure why I corrected myself; it was probably out of my own insecurity trying to sound more professional.

“We don’t use the term ‘wet housing.’ We use the term ‘housing’ because in housing people get to do what they want to do.” ~ Daniel Malone

As many of you know I love and support the harm reduction model and strongly believe the United States needs to add more harm reduction solutions if we are ever going to end homelessness. Over the years you’ve heard me use the term “wet housing” to reference services that allow alcohol. At the same time you’ve also heard me scream real loud that we need to provide people with dignity, and that the housing first model (when done right), is by far the best solution to get people out of homelessness.  When Daniel Malone said to me: “We don’t use the term ‘wet housing.’ We use the term ‘housing’ because in housing people get to do what they want to do.” something just clicked it made so much sense!

Harm reduction saves lives and saves taxpayer money!

I understand some of you have issues with harm reduction. Keep in mind that this morning you (hopefully) brushed your teeth – that’s harm reduction.  Using seat belts in a car is harm reduction.  Harm reduction simply put is a strategy to prevent negative consequences. In the housing first model, and what I love so much about DESC’s view, it’s about allowing people to be people!

The most expensive solution to end homelessness is criminalization and it doesn’t actually end homelessness. If you support criminalization, you might as well just give the government access to your bank account for easy withdrawal. For example, New York City’s average annual cost per inmate in 2012 was $167,731. The second most expensive is just leaving people on the streets. As Daniel shares in the video below, people experiencing homelessness often go through a lot of crises that can increase the cost of public services. University of Washington’s research showed year over year savings to the community was $4 million. Here is a link to DESC’s research page

My friend Bevan Dufty says that the housing and harm reduction model at DESC should be replicated in every city in America.  I have to agree. But don’t take my word for it, check out the research, and if you can – go visit to see for yourself!
It’s Not “Wet Housing”. It’s Just Housing. Click To Tweet

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