We have all seen them on the street and often we would rather look away, it is uncomfortable to see the homeless. Many among us are guilty of thinking that it is their fault that they are there, that somehow they are the victims of their own flawed character. But are they really?
Rethink Homelessness is a Florida based non-profit dedicated to ending homelessness in central Florida and educating people about the homeless, showing them that we are all one catastrophic event away from finding ourselves in the unenviable position of those we would rather not see.
A video campaign, “Cardboard Stories” was created. The beginning of the campaign was simple: two Rethink Homelessness team members took to the streets with some pieces of cardboard, a handful of marking pens and a handheld video camera to ask homeless people they found on the streets to write something down about themselves that people would not know just passing by them.
The video of these people went viral, garnering more than 5 million views on You Tube and the facts that were exposed put a new light on who the homeless are.
Far from being a homogenous group of winos, addicts and assorted ne’er-do-wells, the homeless come from all walks of life and all levels of accomplishment and education. They are multilingual, former professional athletes, engineers and scientists. Some have debilitating physical illnesses and disorders, parents who felt obligated to give up their children to spare them the misery of being homeless and some even have jobs but do not earn enough money to put a roof over their heads.
Be forewarned, watching the video below from Rethink Homelessness will bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye, but the most important thing it will do that is force you to realize that the homeless are just like you. At one time they would have never believed that this could happen to them.