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Since the world was introduced to Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice, it has become apparent that that if the homeless can be heard, they can be helped.
In this case, the metaphor is literal, as a single viral YouTube video showcasing one man’s grandiose voice propelled him from poverty and hunger to success; he has been offered jobs doing voiceovers for the Cleveland Cavaliers, MTV and Inside Edition.
But while most homeless people cannot be catapulted to success quite so easily, new technologies are providing them with a voice of their own. We recently sat down with Mark Horvath, the founder of InvisiblePeople.tv and the We Are Visible network. These organizations seek to empower people experiencing poverty and homelessness through social media, thus allowing their own voices, stories, and needs be heard online and around the world. According to Mark, by communicating their real stories, many of the homeless can provide real insight into the problems they face, rather than maintaining the image of another helpless person with a cardboard sign.
After experiencing homelessness himself and working his way back up to success, Mark has a heartfelt belief that social media can provide many extraordinary resources which the offline world might not offer, from communications and storytelling tools to networks of support and even help with finding food and shelter. Even more amazing, tools like Facebook and Twitter are allowing the homeless to help each other, sometimes from opposite corners of the earth.
But while most homeless cannot afford or maintain a computer or mobile phone, Mark has a better technology solution: the iPod Touch. Check out the video below to hear Mark's thoughts on how this all works, and make sure to tune into InvisiblePeople.tv to hear the real stories of homelessness from the homeless themselves.
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