invisiblepeople.tv – new homeless vlog – check it out!

I literally am 7 weeks from being homeless myself, but I had to do something – so I started a vlog that will hopefully keep the homeless conversation going by telling their story

http://invisiblepeople.tv/

Technically it could be better. I don’t have anything but this little laptop that is not made to cut video and a small camera. It’s a miracle that the laptop is even allowing me to compress the data. I just took action with what I have. Lots of people in my situation would either do nothing, or just think of themselves. That is not a bad thing because when one is in survival mode, worried about the basic necessities like food and shelter, it is hard to focus on anything else.

I don’t say that to hype myself, but rather to encourage you to stand up for something you believe in – no matter what! The most effective way to get past your own issues is to help someone else, and if I can put this together with limited resources, you can clean out your closet and take some clothes to a shelter, or cook a meal for someone you know that lost their job, or just simply keep the homeless conversation alive with all of your friends.

I’ve also been twittering about homeless articles/issues and that too has caught some attention

http://www.kevindhendricks.com/2008/10/29/homelessness-is-on-the-rise/

I have no idea where this all will go, but my hope and prayer is this vlog will get you all talking about the homeless issue. For the most part we see videos of all the great stuff NGOs and ministries are doing, and they are all doing a great work. The thing is when all we see is the victory, and we are left with that warm fuzzy feeling we sometimes disconnect and say “wow! that’s cool, I’m glad they are helping the homeless so I don’t have to”.

The problem of homelessness is serious. Very serious! Society wants to categorize the homeless as outcasts, or drug addicts, or mentally ill. The truth is, they are people just like you and me. Yes, people on the streets do drugs. So does your neighbor, your postman, your coworkers, and that mortgage broker who just lost her job. As far as mental illness we all have issues, but before you judge the homeless why not spend a week on the streets eating out of dumpsters and see what it does to your emotional stability.

The first time I was homeless it was the result of many years of drug abuse and bad decisions. I was still a real person and because a church, the Los Angeles Dream Center, had a heart for the hurting they gave me a helping hand to get off the streets. Today I have 15 ½ years completely clean and sober. In 2007 I grossed over $100k. Nov 16, 2007 I had major surgery and my employer let me go on my first week home on disability. At the time I could not even drive so it was not until the first of the year that I was able to look for work. I aggressively looked for work everywhere and anywhere. Both high-end and minimum wage jobs, yet the minimum wage jobs won’t hire you because they know you’ll not stick around, and executive employment can be hard to find. I lived off credit for 9 months increasing my debt to a crisis level. I sold almost everything I had at pennies on the dollar. In June I applied for food stamps because I was out of food and money. In July I accepted a job in Los Angeles and relocated. Unfortunately the move to LA was at reduced pay and a higher cost of living so I could not pay both rent and a mortgage. My house in Missouri still has not sold and is $30k below the loan. I have no choice but to let it go into foreclosure and my credit that I worked so hard to restore is now tanked. Last month my new employer had a massive layoff and I was one of the 25 let go. Last in, first out! Luckily Foursquare really takes care of their people and they gave all of us a very good severance package, but that money runs out in 7 weeks, and right now businesses and nonprofits are downsizing not hiring, and I am out of resources. Once again homelessness is a very close reality for me and my situation is not that unusual in today’s economy. CNN is reporting that 25% of employers plan to have layoffs over the next 12 months. (thanks Brad)

I didn’t say all that for sympathy because I will survive. The point I am trying to make is homelessness can happen to anyone, and by being transparent hopefully you can identify with some part of my story, and the stories of the homeless on invisiblepeople.tv

The other reason I am being so open is the more real I am, the more of God you’ll see as I overcome this challenge. We are headed into some exciting times and my hope and prayer is that more people will start giving of themselves to help others.

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  • I left the below comment on facebook before I saw this area of your blog, so I thought I’d copy & paste it here. God bless & keep you!

    Mark, this looks awesome! (I’ve only been able to take a peek at work but will study it when I get home later tonight). This will really help people understand and be motivated to help & bring about lots more awareness. I guess we’ll be able to sign up to follow it; or you will continue to give us twitterers tweets when you post new items. Thanks so much for all your hard work and mostly your unending compassion and concern.

    Linda D.

  • Mark,
    Just came across your blog and wanted you to know that #1, you are in my prayers. I’m going to be praying everyday that some smart executive snatches you up for employment.

    Next, You have inspired me to really start thinking about the homeless in my area. The Non profit I’ve just started (www.spreadingjoycorp.com) has a goal to help the homeless, but with Christmas right around the corner – I’ve been working trying to get toys donated for some very needy children (which is a LOT harder than you’d think.) I’m going to make up some bags of items that I can just hand out to the homeless as we pass them and then get to work on other things I can do for them.

    I don’t want the homeless to be invisible when I’m around.

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