Exploring And Ending Modern Homelessness, Let’s Give It A Try

Since the dawn of social media, there has been great debate over whether or not online activism constitutes “real activism.” The term slacktivist evolved when supporters of digital social change campaigns began to participate in droves via cyberspace. This is a pointless argument. There are always going to be people who do their part to contribute to a cause by retweeting, downloading Twibbons, and liking a campaign’s Facebook page. In the same vein, there are going to be humanitarians who form committees, travel to conflict and post-conflict regions to aid victims of war and natural disasters, and put their own safety on the line. Social media isn’t turning people into slacktivists. Social networking behavior is reflecting the already existing mindsets and priorities of  people using social media.

Instead of squabbling over the validity of various forms of social engagement around a cause, we should be doing more to celebrate the individuals who are making strides both online and offline to have a positive impact on the world. Within the digital society, there are activists who are on the ground floor diligently using emerging technology to create and share stories around social and political movements. There are leaders pioneering the use of video and social media for change. Mark Horvath, widely known as @HardlyNormal, is among these activists and leaders.

With great rigor and commitment, Mark has bestowed a face to homelessness—a number of faces, actually. His site Invisible People challenges stereotypes of the homeless by showing the journeys and struggles of many people who once had solid jobs and homes to call their own. According to the Hunger and Homelessness Survey released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, of the 25 cities surveyed last year, 21 have seen an increase in homelessness and the remaining three said it stayed at the same level. The report relays that 46.2 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, were living in poverty, and the number of homeless people on a single night in January 2012 was 633,782.

The numbers are alarming, and they are mocking the foundation of our country.

To take his crusade to end homelessness to the next level, Mark is working with a group of change makers on the @HOME  campaign and documentary, which will use the power of storytelling, social media, and a smartphone game to expand his work. Mark, the Kindling Group,  and the @HOME team, which includes Danny Alpert, Susanne Suffredin, and Heidi Boisvert, are spreading the word via Indiegogo to raise $100,000 to fund the project.

Take a look.

To learn more about how you can support @HOME, go here!





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