As many of you know, a few years ago I started trying to experiment with the vlogging format to help bring you all along with me as I am traveling connecting with homeless people and homeless service providers. I usually am out working on other Invisible People projects and try my best to shoot some video along the way. I believe the vlog format has a lot of potential to engage the public on the crisis of homelessness and may be the future of storytelling. Here is a link to a playlist of all the vlogs I’ve created: https://invisiblepeople.tv/vlogs Some are good. Some are not so good. All of them are real and authentic giving you a glimpse into homelessness and people who have decided their lives to help end homelessness!
In 2017, I was in London working on a secret project. While there, I shot video but because I am still learning, I never felt I was able to connect the stories. In 2018, Crisis brought me into London and Cardiff to speak about how to message homelessness and Invisible People’s important work.
If you’re not aware, Crisis is the only nonprofit that I know of besides Invisible People that takes messaging seriously. Crisis also championed research on messaging you can find here.
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.
This video in this vlog was shot in 2017 and 2018. I felt the stories needed to be told so I tried to connect them the best I could. I hope you find some value in it. There are several different stories throughout this vlog with lots of essential truths you don’t hear from other homeless nonprofits!
I start off connecting with Lisa Lewis who is the chief executive of Doorway, a homeless services provider in rural England. Lisa is one of my favorite people.
We then meet John for the first time. John was sleeping rough in London. I interviewed him twice that trip. Once on the streets and a few days later in the hospital.
I sat and talked to my homeless friend Mervin about fishing. You can watch his full interview here.
That year, I also had the honor of taking George Olney out on the streets for the first time. George is Crisis’s story journalist. After funding research, Crisis looked around to see whatever charities were messaging right. They got inspired by my work and started their own version of Invisible People.
The vlog then goes back to 2018 when I had the privilege of handing out Hanes socks in London with Loredana Sole who is Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, GEC Europe & South Africa for Hanesbrands. This was the very first time Loredana, and I met in person, and her first time handing out socks to people sleeping rough. Loredana is a natural. It was amazing to see how well she connected with homeless people.
I then travel by train to Cardiff, Wales. This was my first time in Wales, and it was very eye-opening. Sadly, homelessness is a crisis in every city and every country.
My first day there I met Andy and posted his story. Imedditatly Andy’s story started to move people. The first night it received 40,000 views and a year later 323,949 views. Here is his original story.
While I was recording Ed, he started to put on the Hanes socks I gave him. Here is Ed’s full interview.
A highlight of my visit was joining the Wallich outreach team on a breakfast run. They go out every day including Christmas. I am very impressed that at the time of this video 17% of their staff are formerly homeless people with the goal of 25%. Their CEO was once homeless.
Near the end, I visit Mencap, a UK charity that works with people who have learning disabilities. Mencap is close to my heart. Great people who are doing great work. If for nothing else, you have to watch this video to meet their receptionist, Josie!
I close out the vlog with my friend David Tovey. David used to be homeless. He now is a famous artist using his talents to help others.