It might seem like an obvious revelation, but the most effective way to fight homelessness is to give the people living on the street a home of their own. This idea, however, is groundbreaking in the fight against homelessness, and Mark Horvath is partly to thank for that.
Horvath, who was once homeless himself, has taken to the streets to change the way people think about our country’s homeless population. In a short video on Upworthy, Horvath shares why the traditional ways of fighting homelessness don’t work and why the answer to ending homelessness is an obvious one.
In the video, Dr. Sam Tsemberis, the founder of Pathways to Housing, explains why hospitalization doesn’t solve any problems. “Our mission…was to identify people that were particularly vulnerable because of their mental illness or addiction, and if we felt they might be a danger to people, we would take them to Bellevue hospital. Two or three weeks after the hospitalization, the same person would be back on the street.” He calls the “repetition of that cycle” very “disturbing,” so he worked to find another solution.
He goes on to note that, “That person just spent 30 days in the hospital at $1,500 a day. That’s $45,000…we could have bought them a condo! Certainly paid their rent for a long time.” What he decided to do after that realization was to start listening to the people on the street; it led “very quickly to the idea that housing is the most important thing to a homeless person.” Once housed, people had a “functional ability that was quite different from their diagnosis.”
+ Watch “Housing First.”
Knowing the realities of homelessness himself, Horvath decided to meet many of the 633,782 people who experience homelessness on any given night on the streets. His website, Invisible People, “challenges stereotypes, sparks dialogue, and is growing a movement committed to ending homelessness, right now.” The site humanizes the issue and profiles homeless people from across the country — from a mother and her two daughters to high school students.
Horvath is currently campaigning to raise funds with the Kindling Group to “use film, social media, and a smartphone game to amplify” his work to turn “apathy into action.” The film will be a documentary in which Mark continues to empower homeless people to share their stories on camera and the mobile game will consist of helping raise funds to house people in your community. All really good stuff.
+ Watch “@Home Campaign.”
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Learn more about homelessness, the celebs taking action to fight it, and how you can join them with our Action Guide.