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Housing / 2013

Los Angeles Invisible People Chapter and Film Festival

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Invisible People

Invisible People connects people to the face of homelessness in a direct and meaningful way that humanizes the subject and builds empathy in the viewer. This is way more important and impactful than simple awareness and has caused communities to rethink their policies on homelessness. We have traveled to over a hundred cities in six different countries empowering our homeless friends to have a voice, while sharing the stories of people who are giving their all to end homelessness.

Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, their on, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.

Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore. The vlog puts into context one of our nation’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories captured by the lens of Mark Horvath - its founder - and brings into focus the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions face each day. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.t shatter the stereotypes of America’s homeless, force shifts in perception and deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to opening their eyes and their hearts to those too often forgotten.

In an effort to capitalize on the leadership, collaboration, and civic engagement successes we’ve enjoyed, IP is refocusing its lens to a hyper-local model. This means we plan to open Invisible People chapters in strategic regions across the nation over the coming months so that local homeless population issues can be addressed community by community. We are proposing to open our first chapter in the greater Los Angeles area serving all of Los Angeles County

In large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, where the wealthy often share space and resources with the poor, it is particularly important to establish social ties across socio-economic groups capable of increasing connections between the public and the homeless.

Different from the main Invisible People, the hyper-local Los Angeles Invisible People will focus only on stories of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Additionally, the Los Angeles Invisible People will not only engage people to take action, this local chapter will become a two-way interactive guide for people to connect to political actions or volunteer opportunities.


Today’s youth are our best asset to ending homelessness in Los Angeles. Studies conducted by, show that homelessness is the 3rd most important cause to kids today. Young adults are creative and media savvy. The Los Angeles Invisible People Film Festival will help train and encourage LA’s youth to produce short documentaries about homelessness and solutions to ending homelessness. This will be the first ever event of it’s kind. Media created for the Los Angeles Invisible People Film Festival will communicate hope and creativity about a social crisis that will help change Los Angeles and maybe the world.

The City of Angels is known as the film capital of the world. Los Angeles is also known as the homeless capital of America. Our goal is to produce a socially-conscious film festival engaging today’s youth to help change tomorrow!

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

In 2011 the Canadian Government commissioned Invisible People to travel to 24 cities in Canada to help champion the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

In 2009 and 2010 State of Utah requested Invisible People to help them fight homelessness.

In 2008 a farmer donated land that is now being used to feed 150 people a week

In 2008 a housing program was created that has now housed over 10 families

In 2011, Donny, on the streets for 21 years, was housed because of a Invisible People video.

In 2009 "Cotton" and Yong were housed because of Invisible People video

Two colleges in Canada are giving full-ride scholarships because of Invisible People.

In 2011 a homeless grandmother found housing because of an Invisible People video </p>

In 2011, a homeless man dying of cancer was reunited with his long lost brother of 33 years because of an Invisible People video.

This year Invisible People catered a Christmas meal for 80 homeless people at the Glendale Winter Shelter. All 80 people also received a nice gift bag.

This year Invisible People helped furnish the apartment for a homeless veteran moving into housing.

On August 26th, 2010 YouTube gave their homepage to Invisible People. 1.6 million people who would have never rolled their window down to ask a homeless person their story had a positive interaction with homelessness.

Invisible People was the first nonprofit invited to speak at Twitter, Inc

To date, 3,589,931 videos have been viewed on YouTube alone

There is a lot more, but our biggest achievement is is changing how millions of people around the word view homelessness

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Invisible People has already built a large world-wide support network including: United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Home For Good LA, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 100,000 Homes, Los Angeles Mission, Union Rescue Mission, The Midnight Mission, PATH, LA Family Housing, Social Media Club Los Angeles, Hanes, General Motors, Virgin Mobile, YouTube, Google, Twitter, and the 60,000 plus people already engaged through Invisible People.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?


Community engagement

Social media and internet analytics

Monitor donations and volunteers via service providers

Homeless people provided direct services

Media hits

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

Invisible People connects people to the face of homelessness in a direct and meaningful way that humanizes the subject and builds empathy in the viewer. This is way more important and impactful than simple awareness.

A Los Angeles Invisible People Chapter will help engage tens of thousands of new stakeholders to take tangible action to end homelessness in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Invisible People Film Festival will engage young adults to create socially-conscious media on the social crisis of homelessness in Los Angeles. This event, and the media created, will generate awareness and education helping to drive political actions and volunteerism to end homelessness in Los Angeles.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

Success would be ending homelessness in Los Angeles by 2025 and developing systems to prevent any future homelessness. No one should have to live without adequate housing. No one!