Homeless in Memphis Shout-Out to Invisible People

Here’s a new friend I made in Memphis on Beale Street. We talked and took care of his needs, and then I asked him to give a quick word or two to my friend Mark and his project, InvisiblePeople.tv. Sometimes, people complain that Mark’s only doing tactics. Know what? This guy, the guy in the video, needed lunch, needed socks, needed someone warm to talk with him for a minute, and he couldn’t wait for the government to get his needs figured out. I’m with Mark on this one.

Help where you can. The bigger stuff will get figured out by others, but we can do this in the process. We can help Mark with Invisible People.

ChrisBrogan.com runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

With automatic theme updates and world-class support included, Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.

Become a StudioPress Affiliate

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Love this. So easy to be busy and get caught up in ourselves to a point that we pass by the NEEDS of others, being occasionally blinded by our own selfish WANTS and desires. Especially easy when it comes to homeless people… how we can tend to rationalize walking past out of fear, insecurity and maybe sometimes even guilt (I do it too sometimes and regret it afterwards always). Even if we can't always give a hand out (money, etc) any of us can extend a hand up (a few minutes to share a smile, listen to someone else's story, make them feel respected and like a fellow human being). In the end, we all have basic needs and we all just want to be loved and know that someone else cares.

    Individually we may not be able to help everyone but we can help someone. If we each do our small part, it will collectively contribute to the whole.

  • http://www.modernmediajapan.com Terrintokyo

    Thanks Chris and Mark, and the gentleman in the video.
    Last night I read a post by someone I look up to in tech. He wrote about the health care debate. I found that he is all about personal responsibility to the exclusion of community responsibility, with a helping of 'me-mine-myself' and belligerence towards balance.
    I have less respect for him, and I feel bad about that.
    on the other hand, I signed up to do some volunteer training in new media for a local help line.
    Then I read this post about the lifesaving nature of community 'Falling Off the Cliff of Depression': http://bit.ly/bgz8PQ
    and then I saw your post – it was all like a palate cleanser.
    So, thanks.

  • http://www.webconsuls.com Judy Helfand

    I liked meeting your friend from Memphis. A long time ago I had a sociology professor who used the expression “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. That was 40+ years ago, but it stayed with me. You are right, the immediate needs like lunch and a new pair of socks can work magic. Sometimes I will see a person and know that $10 can do a lot. In today's world how many people are one pay check from homelessness. I was doing some research the other day and came across a new PBS film that is going to air this month. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/film… You will see on this page that PBS is asking people to SHARE THEIR STORY! What struck me about learning about this new film of young men riding the rails during the great depression was that my own father spoke of his brief time on the rails. It convinced him to join the US Navy as soon as he could in 1936. You can read about it here: http://blog.webconsuls.com/2009/05/remembering-

    When I give a helping hand, I know someday there will be another helping hand available for my relative or friend…and, therefore, me.

  • http://www.webconsuls.com Judy Helfand

    I liked meeting your friend from Memphis. A long time ago I had a sociology professor who used the expression “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. That was 40+ years ago, but it stayed with me. You are right, the immediate needs like lunch and a new pair of socks can work magic. Sometimes I will see a person and know that $10 can do a lot. In today's world how many people are one pay check from homelessness. I was doing some research the other day and came across a new PBS film that is going to air this month. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/film… You will see on this page that PBS is asking people to SHARE THEIR STORY! What struck me about learning about this new film of young men riding the rails during the great depression was that my own father spoke of his brief time on the rails. It convinced him to join the US Navy as soon as he could in 1936. You can read about it here: http://blog.webconsuls.com/2009/05/remembering-

    When I give a helping hand, I know someday there will be another helping hand available for my relative or friend…and, therefore, me.

  • http://hardlynormal.com hardlynormal

    I know I say this often, but in truth I cannot say it enough – I am so very grateful for your continued support.

    I worked in nonprofit marketing for many years. mostly the response television side. as with many in-house marketers there was an 'agency' that directed our path. the agency always liked to look at what worked in the past instead of trying new things. I knew in my heart our 'system' was broken. I knew my ideas would have impact. what I didn't know is that I would not find the freedom to try them until I faced being homeless again for a second time in my life.

    nonprofits always paint the story as a success story. in many ways they have to. But in doing so the public detaches saying “hey, look how they are solving homelessness. we don't have to do a thing, they're doing it”. also, the story is rarely the real truth being spun with the agenda of raising money. I know this first hand. I've done it. if you look at “my story” on the 'about' page of Invisiblepeople.tv you'll see I am the producer. but it's not my story. it was produced to raise money for buses.

    on the other side, news media paints a negative story on homelessness, unless of course it is thanksgiving time – the only time of the year when homelessness is sexy.

    invisiblepeople.tv really started about 10 years ago. at the time I was producing a weekly tv show that focused on homelessness, yet was never the real truth. Out of frustration I grabbed a camera and went to film my own raw production. I interviewed 3 runaway kids. the girl was maybe 15. her story would break the hardest heart. I stopped rolling tape and turned to walk away when a homeless lady with no arms spoke up, “those kids are spoiled”. WHAT! I turned on the camera and started to interview her. she said that even being homeless with no arms in America is still better than living in Cambodia. That was the moment I realized the power of editing. I could cut this woman in and you'd hate those kids, or I could leave her out and you'd love them. there is a lot of power in media.

    I also know that to really change people's perceptions on a social issue (or most anything) they have to have an emotional connection. most homeless services organizations like to throw stats mixed with logic at the public. But homelessness is not logical. it makes no sense that we allow people in our community to live in a cardboard box and go to the bathroom outside. invisiblepeople.tv simply allows homeless people to tell their own stories. it's not logical. but it is affecting real change. housing programs have started, feeding programs have started, homeless kids getting new shoes so they can go to school. But maybe the greatest impact we have had is on the general public. people who would never normally roll down their window to talk to someone on an exit ramp have a new paradigm.

    my other dream, and a not so obvious strategy, is to network homeless services to work together. homeless services have created the biggest organizational silos. we fight for the same money and the same territory. it is rare that we work together, even when we are on the same street block. the homeless service industry wont speak up when things are wrong because they are worried they'll lose funding. the whole system is broken. But poverty is too big for any one org to fight alone. the only way we will win this fight is by working together.

    we can win this fight. my friends at Common Ground have housed every homeless person in Times Square except one. that's HUGE! I believe one of the reasons many pick inaction is because the issue is so overwhelming. I honestly believe we can solve homelessness. I can even prove it to you.

    Invisiblepeople.tv is so new, and so different, often people don't understand what it is we do, or why it's even needed. for years society has been trying to manage homelessness. we feed, we provide bunk beds in an overcrowded room, we offer drug rehabs, yet homelessness keeps getting worse. instead of managing this social crisis we need to solve homelessness. that's where invisiblepeople.tv comes in. by educating the general public, homeless services and the government we affect real change. trust me, homeless services will not fix itself. it's big business deeply rooted in doing everything “the old way”.

    Invisiblepeople.tv tv is not me, it's us. we are invisiblepeople.tv. it's not a vlog, it's a conversation that we need to keep sharing. the more real truth is shared, the easier it is to affect real change that saves lives and money

    I am so very grateful for each and everyone of you

    hugs,
    Mark

  • LaConsuelo

    See, THIS is what social media is all about. It's why I follow and admire Chris Brogan and Mark Horvath. The homeless are people . . . the most memorable conversations I've had are with homeless people. There's a gal who rides the A train in NYC . . . Valerie . . . asked me if I wanted her seat one day . . . she retains her kindness and humanity in the face of those who shun her daily. Breaks my heart and fills it all at the same time.

  • http://twitter.com/tcmeister Tony Meister

    Chris and Mark — Thank you for consistently making visible the invisible. It is hard not to have what Mark said is an “emotional connection” when you hear these stories. Many express gratitude with sincerity and their attitudes amaze me including Chris' “new friend.” I really can't think of much of a better use of social media than using it for social outreach.

    Galatians 2:10 – All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

    I appreciate what you guys are doing and am further reminded and motivated to give. Love isn't complicated.

  • http://principlesoffailure.blogspot.com/ SHerdegen

    THANK YOU for bringing this project to my attention. I hadn’t heard about it before but I think it’s a great idea.

    Homelessness and poverty are tough issues. I don’t know that we’ve hit upon a good solution yet, but I think we should be trying a multitude of approaches. In that respect I’m all for it.

    Who knows if this will do much good, but it certainly won’t do any harm. Let’s try everything we can.

  • http://www.culturesmithconsulting.com/news cherylsmith

    You're absolutely right Chris. Too often it's easy to be overwhelmed by not being able to figure out solutions to the big problems of the world, so we don't do anything. Warm food, socks, a moment of encouragement – those are all things anyone of us can do. Thanks for your example. You've got a heart as big as anyone I know. Blessings to you!

  • http://thoughtbythought.net/ Tresha Thorsen

    When I met your blog Chris? I was living in a Motel 6 and tweeting from the laundry matt. Rosie's Place and Pine Street Inn had said no I couldn't stay there. b/c I had a dog. and a car. But I didn't have a place to live. That was a bit more than 2 yrs ago.
    You never judged me. You always responded. Albeit I probably went too loo loo b/c you were so normal at a time in my life when those who should be weren't. I've volunteered at shelters for over 3 years. Was hard to then be turned away when I needed housing. My own sitch has gradually evened out. Permission to remove from our lingo “different' or 'homeless'…these are our brothers and sisters in need. And you are so right when you say do what you can. I hope and pray all will stop thinking 'that wont happen to me” ….esp for women, sometimes choosing to not 'stay' in your housing situation is more out of need for safety than it is out of being forced. Although maybe those are the same. I honor Mark's endeavor. I will do what more I can to help. Much needs changing w/in that system. Much. Thank you for posting this.

  • beckyblanton

    This guy is right. Homeless people are very often just those who need a helping hand. I lived in a van for over a year because of poor choices (thought I could live just freelancing), chose to live in Denver, CO, home of $1,200 rentals and minimum wage jobs (I'm a journalist/writer), chose to keep my Rottweiler and cat rather than give them up so I could find affordable housing, and was depressed over the death of my father at the time. Homeless people are people in a “houseless crisis.” Thanks for this shout-out Chris. Mark is awesome and needs the support and awareness.

  • Pingback: Do celebrity visitors ever get to see the real Memphis? | Joe Spake's Weblog

  • http://hardlynormal.com hardlynormal

    Becky, you are such an encouragement. glad to see you're blogging on change.org and we MUST setup that long overdue phone call. I have a few ideas I may need your help with

    hugs,
    -M

  • http://hardlynormal.com hardlynormal

    Tresha,

    WOW! thanks so sharing. we've communicated a few times and I never know your story.

    Yes, Mr Brogan is one amazing man. you confirmed, again, what I already knew. :)

    so happy your story 'evened out' as you said. I know how hard it is to make that change.

    hugs,
    -M

  • beckyblanton

    You have my contact info Mark. ANYTHING I can do to help. I keep promoting you every chance I get. Seriously. Holler anytime.

  • beckyblanton

    Any time you can get someone to connect, to see another human being as a person, not a stereotype, not a victim, but as a person – you stand a great chance of changing the world. Mark is showing people that the homeless are people with stories, lives and problems that can be solved. He starts the conversation and that's always where change begins – in awareness, curiosity and openness.

  • http://thoughtbythought.net/ Tresha Thorsen

    tx mark. yeah, i tend to keep much in. lemme just offer to all out there…you never know what another is going thru…and there is no 'typical' homeless…all i've experienced nudges all the more deeply when embracing another, look past the surface…shoe'd or not, titled or not, finely dressed or not…fed or not…who are we seeing? who are we expecting to see? my now is all about helpin others–specially women-stop feelin stuck/empty/lost…wish there was a way to tell everyone you never have to be embarrassed by situations …but we each can do something to shift how we respond–or even notice–someone maybe needs help. i'll stop here. chris, you mark and many others get what living compassion is about.

  • http://www.memorybits.co.uk/ micro sd

    My own sitch has gradually evened out. Permission to remove from our lingo “different' or 'homeless'…these are our brothers and sisters in need. people who has no home are often those who need a helping hand.

  • http://www.bestcasinosinfo.com/ martin

    hey trisha i love the story. best of luck

  • One_mom

    Thank you for calling attention to this important site (and important plight). Unfortunately homelessness doesn't attract the dollars that diseases do because much of society believes that homeless people de facto choose to be homeless because they are “lazy, irresponsible, drug addicts etc,etc” It is somehow easier for people to imagine that they might get a life-threatening disease because of knowing someone who has one rather than imagine losing everything. People who lose everything are humiliated by their circumstances and afraid to ask for help.

    “…but for the grace of God, go______”. No one ever imagines their own name in the blank. I certainly never did. Working in the financial sector for nearly 20 years, I had saved a lot of money for retirement and children's education (and rarely forgot how fortunate I was to have made so much) only to get dragged down by keeping my inlaws' business out of bankruptcy. It seemed like the right thing to do, but this act of family duty and generosity turned into a massive wealth transfer from my husband and me to them. It took a long time to recognize what was going on (who would deliberately screw their son?) as their accountant and lawyer helped obscure the truth. We have swung deeply into debt (at usurious rates – this needs financial reform, whole other story, and I have lots of ideas here), and I hope that we can hold on to our home. I keep telling myself that what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger, but there are days when it is really hard to hold it together in front of my straight A middle school children whose college funds have gone to their grandparents. I know that if we can break through, we can do good things. We are good people who did a really stupid thing, we trusted my inlaws (remember the “Animal House” line: “you #@! up, you trusted us”? THAT was my father-in-law).

    What I have learned is that there are many, many people like us, and with financial relief to remove anxiety, could really do some great things for society, the economy or whatever. I look forward to being able to open my wallet again for people in need and i know others like me would do the same.

    Thank you for giving me a voice.

  • http://www.wholesaleinc.net/Wholesale-hiphone_c29 iphone clone

    What I have learned is that there are many, many people like us, and with financial relief to remove anxiety, could really do some great things for society, the economy or whatever. I look forward to being able to open my wallet again for people in need and i know others like me would do the same.

  • http://ianmrountree.com Ian M Rountree

    Had a number of people sharing Skip1-related stories for the Trust Agents Book Review for a Cause – but no InvisiblePeople.tv. Considering shooting another, InvisiblePeople related video. What do you think?

  • http://www.yuregininsesi.com yuregininsesi

    I liked meeting your friend from Memphis. A long time ago I had a sociology professor who used the expression “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. That was 40+ years ago, but it stayed with me. You are right, the immediate needs like lunch and a new pair of socks can work magic

  • http://www.disfuncionerectiltratamiento.es Disfuncion

    I would like to help

  • Majorshadow

    Every homeless person is somebody’s daughter or son. Song-share. to hear click or visit the following URL.