If it wasn’t for the shopping cart filled with all of her belongings, I would not have known Carolyn was homeless sleeping on the streets of Seattle.
Carolyn has found an injurious way to survive. She takes donations for flowers. Carolyn says acquires flowers and then either asks for donations or if the person is in a worse financial situation than her, Carolyn will give the flowers away.
Carolyn has lived homeless in Seattle for five years even sleeping outside during the winter. When I asked if anyone is helping her get out of homelessness, Carolyn responded no. She says she has a caseworker but continued that the caseworker is not able to do much. It’s often not the fault of social services. Without housing, there is not much a caseworker can do.
Carolyn talks about her mom, dad, and then her son dying. There is no research on this but as I travel I hear time and again how a death in the family can cause emotional trauma that takes a person down to homelessness. Carolyn says her sleeping on the streets is self-induced but the lack of mental health support and how it’s almost nearly impossible for a homeless person to get the help they need plays a significant role in Carolyn’s homelessness.
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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.