News & Politics

WATCH: Homeless People Share One Thing About Themselves That Will Surprise You

An Orlando grassroots group asked homeless residents to reveal one surprising fact about their lives.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you’re probably used to seeing homeless men and women panhandling on your commute to work, sitting with their belongings in fast food restaurants or sleeping outside your apartment complex. Homelessness is so pervasive that it almost becomes invisible; rather than individuals with unique personal histories that brought them to where they are, the homeless population becomes instead a monolithic mass.

To restore the agency and humanity of these displaced men, women and children, the Orlando-based grassroots group ReThink Homelessness invited local homeless residents to tell people one fact from their lives that strangers would never guess about them. As the video demonstrates, America’s homeless are mothers and college graduates, steadily employed individuals and robot-building techies. Despite the terrible song choice, the video poignantly humanizes the plight of those who, as ReThink says, “were getting by just fine before one unfortunate event led to their homelessness.”

Allegra Kirkland is AlterNet's associate managing editor. Her writing has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Salon, Daily Serving and The Nation.

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