This is a guest post from Danny Alpert, Executive Producer, @home. Danny – thanks for sharing this valuable story.
Three years ago, I started a journey with an incredible guy.
His name is Mark Horvath – you might know him as @hardlynormal. He spent years of his life homeless and addicted on Hollywood Boulevard — but today, he’s an internet guru, with tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. And he’s using every platform he can get his hands on for one purpose: to end homelessness in our lifetime.
As a documentary filmmaker, I knew that Mark’s story, and the wider story of homelessness in America, needed to be told. In 2011, Director Susanne Suffredin and I followed Mark on a cross-country road trip, as he recorded the stories of homeless individuals for his website, InvisiblePeople.tv. We met so many incredible people with such different stories: homeless men in the tunnels under Las Vegas, a family living in a by-the-week motel in St. Louis, homeless veterans in Albuquerque, and advocates, volunteers, and physicians who have dedicated their lives to solving this crisis.
The result: a project exploring how conversations about tough issues – ones we’d sometimes prefer to ignore – can lead to meaningful, long-term change.
Right now, we’re in a final fundraising push to make this unique campaign reality. Learn more and support @home today.
The @home campaign follows Mark’s lead, putting a spotlight on homelessness wherever, however we can. @home uses documentary film, social media, and a smartphone game to activate communities to solve homelessness in their own backyards. The campaign will move city by city – launching in Chicago – saturating each location for one week with media and activities to bring homelessness to the front burner. It will start with screenings and discussions, culminating in a mass game-play event in the city center. In Chicago, folks will meet in Millennium Park to download the game to their mobile phones, and then will move through geo-located puzzles and activities to unlock points towards real goods and services for homeless people in Chicago. Along the way, we’ll partner with organizations like Community Solutions, the National Coalition for the Homeless, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness to actually house homeless individuals.
There are plenty of barriers to effective solutions to homelessness, from bureaucracy to the fiscal state of our country. But if we get enough people standing up, speaking out, and taking action, we can start to move the needle on homelessness. We’ve seen it with issue after issue, from marriage equality to gun violence; activate enough people to care, and the momentum towards progress can’t be stopped.
Please support this cutting edge online advocacy project, share Mark’s work with your friends, and help tell the story of homelessness in America.
For more on @home, check out:
@home trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blgCu6z90Jo
@home website: www.athomedocumentary.org
Mark Horvath’s website: www.invisiblepeople.tv
Mark Horvath’s blog: http://hardlynormal.com/blog/
Follow @home_campaign on Twitter!
Like @home on Facebook!