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The Invisible People

I’ve written here before about my desire to help the homeless, and how that conflicts with my fear and judgement.

Often times I do nothing at all, and just feel guilty about it. Other times, I’ll donate money, which is helpful (at least I hope it is), but it’s also impersonal and a bit dehumanizing.

I came across a few videos over the last few weeks that have given me a new way to think about how I interact (or don’t) with the homeless.

Buying Signs #

I recently learned about the We Are All Homeless project by artist Willie Baronet. Willie purchases signs from homeless people, and in the process has conversations with them about their life, their stories, and their dreams.

Willie admits sharing many of the same fears and biases that I’m often guilty of. What I enjoy most about his project is that it’s no longer a pity donation. It’s a purchase, a transaction. And in that way, I feel it’s a bit more empowering for the homeless people with whom he interacts.

Making Homeless Care Packs #

For Human People’s shared this wonderful video of a man providing care packs to the homeless. The packs come stocked with essentials to make life on the street a bit easier for folks.

In the process, he also humanizes the homeless. Rather than looking through them as we all so often do, he treats them like people. He interacts with them, shakes their hands, and ultimately, makes their a day a bit better.

If you’re curious about how to make these yourself, this video on YouTube shows you how to stock a care pack with essential items for under $20. It’s a wonderful idea that I’d like to do myself.

My hope is that going forward, I will have the courage to interact with the homeless as fellow human beings, instead of treating them as if they’re invisible.

Hat tip to Ben Eubanks on the “We Are All Homeless” campaign.

Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at chris@gomakethings.com or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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