There is no humorous twist in this article. However, just like Mark Horvath’s video blog, InvisiblePeople.tv, there is a message of hope.
There is meaning in the name of Mark’s video blog. He explains that some homeless are passed on the street as if they don’t exist. As if they are invisible. Others are ignored the way one would disregard a piece of trash on the sidewalk. Mark’s goal is to make the homeless visible to everyone.
This summer, InvisiblePeople.tv is traveling across America to capture the stories of people without homes. By visiting tent cities, motels, and other modern-day accommodations for people without a home, this tour will unearth the modern-day realities of homelessness, while providing a venue for invisible people to tell their stories, raw and unedited.
On his site, Mark writes about himself, “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. Fourteen years ago, I lived on Hollywood Boulevard. 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.”
We’re providing Mark with a Ford vehicle for his road trip. From Los Angeles to Detroit, he’ll drive a 2010 Ford Flex. In Detroit, we’ll provide another vehicle for him to continue his journey.
The InvisiblePeople.tv Great American Road Trip will stop at roughly 20 cities and communities across the country (subject to change). A local homeless service provider will be arranged to serve as a guide. Local and national media outreach and speaking engagements will be a key component of each stop along the tour.
Through his Web site, he shares the stories of homeless people he meets on the streets. The site’s segments are told by real people, in their own very real words. The innovative pieces, which began airing last November, are raw, uncensored and unedited – just like life on the streets.
Since InvisiblePeople.tv launched in November 2008, it has made an unprecedented splash on the Web. It has been featured on American Family Radio, Mashable.com, Change.org, NetNewsDaily.com, osocio.org, ChurchMarketingSucks.com, TakePart.com, PhilCooke.com, NonprofitMarketingBlog.com, LAist.com, and over 100 other blogs. When users visit InvisiblePeople.tv, they are immediately engaged; 76 percent of visitors to InvisiblePeople.tv stay longer than 20 minutes and 11 percent stay longer than an hour. Find more information about InvisiblePeople.tv
According to InvisiblePeople.tv, on any given night, over three million people sleep without a home to call their own. In the past year, homelessness in America has snowballed into a full-fledged crisis. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 80 percent of individuals and 90 percent of families are homeless due to economic reasons. Community-based homeless service organizations from California to Massachusetts are reporting sharp increases in demand. In many communities, there are not enough shelter beds to meet the need, contributing to the growth of tent cities and the transformation of motels into temporary homeless shelters.
The experience of being displaced and without a home is devastating. The experience of living in a shelter, on the streets, or in a tent city is humbling. And the experience of sharing one’s story is powerful. For those less impacted by the economic downturn, the experience of coming face-to-face with people who are often shunned by society is both eye-opening and deeply moving.
The schedule of stops is as follows:
Vegas (arrive on 15th) 7/16, 17
Phoenix (arrive 18th) 7/19, 20
Albuquerque (arrive 21st) 7/22
Fayetteville (arrive 23rd) 7/24, 25, 26 (large event on 24th)
Dallas or Fort Worth (arrive 27th) 7/28, 29
Austin (arrive 30th) 7/31, 8/1, 2
Baton Rouge (arrive 3rd) 8/4
New Orleans 8/5, 6, 7
Tampa (arrive 8th) 8/9, 10
Miami 8/11, 12
Atlanta (arrive 13th) 8/14
Nashville (arrive 16th) 8/16
Greensboro (arrive 18th, fly to Seattle 19th)
Speaking at Gnomedex 8/20, 21
Greensboro 8/23, 24
Washington (arrive on 25th) 8/26 – 30
Speaking at The Idea Camp 8/28, 29
Allenton (arrive on 31st) 9/1
New York 9/3 – 7
Binghamton 9/9 – 11
Cleveland (arrive 12th) 9/13, 14
Detroit (arrive 15th) 9/16, 17
Chicago (arrive 18th) 9/19, 20
St Paul (arrive 21st) 9/22
Sioux Falls or Des Moines (arrive 23rd) 9/24
Denver (arrive 26th) 9/27, 28, 29
Salt Lake (arrive 30th) 10/1
San Francisco (arrive 3rd) 10/4, 5
Los Angeles 10/7