Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Invisible People: Blogging Homeless Lives

In addition to the brief, harrowing videos and the black and white photographs on Invisible People, there’s a tagline at the top of the right column in light blue letters that will grab your attention.

“Homeless Has A Name.”

Mark Horvath’s blog chronicles the stories of homeless people on the streets of L.A., Denver, and road trips across the country (including homeless people in my hometown of Boston). Horvath himself was homeless when he lost his job working in the television industry.

You’d expect stories of heartbreak and misery, which, of course, there are. But often the stories are first-person journalism at its best. In the story of Michael, whose video was at the top of the blog when I last looked, is the story of a street musician who’s been living on the streets for more than 20 years.

Michael never panhandles; instead he plays his acoustic guitar on the streets. If you listen to him, it’s not hard to imagine how he makes enough money to get by. But recently, the Denver police have been cracking down on ordinances that ban him from playing music between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., despite being quieter than the loud buses and bars around him.

To listen to Michael tell his story of a policewoman who’d been following him (literally) to lock him up reveals the injustice of our system. What crime has Michael committed living on the streets? How is jail a better option than more resources toward human and social services?

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Filed under: homelessness, social justice, , , , ,

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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