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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Invisible TV

July 10 2009
Founder Mark Horvath shocked by ‘invisibility‘ of homeless people A website showing footage of life on Los Angeles' Skid Row, alongside interviews with the city's rough sleepers, has been set up to raise awareness of homelessness in the US. Mark Horvath, who has lived on the streets several times, designed the site after being shocked at the extent to which homeless people are ignored and treated as though they were invisible. "Our views of people in poverty are not healthy," he told The Pavement. "Poverty does not discriminate, and homelessness can happen to anyone. If people engaged in open communication, we could address these negative predispositions and effectively bring about real change." The website encourages responses from visitors, yet there is no fundraising aspect to the project. "The last 10 years of working as a non-profit marketer and media producer has greatly shaped this project", he said. "I've seen lots of bad marketing and lots of bad fundraising campaigns. The nonprofit community always wants to play it safe, but I just tell it like it is." The people Mr Horvath interviews come from a wide-range of backgrounds: from John, the small-business owner, who lost his home as a result of the global economic crisis and is now recycling bottles for money; to Jennifer, six months pregnant on the streets of Manhattan, left with nowhere to go after the winter shelter she lived in was forced to close down. Mr Horvath said the response from visitors to the site had been 'overwhelming'; the comments for each video are a mix of outright praise for the project, and people who are facing or have experienced homelessness sharing their stories. His eventual goal is to expand the project to an international web community, although there are more pressing concerns at the moment. "I am currently trying to survive this economic crisis myself," he said. "I just focus on one story at a time while I look for employment. My true hope is we will all find more compassion in the weeks and months ahead. There is not any one answer to this problem except that we are all the solution".