Homeless people are often invisible to the rest of us. In San Francisco, one organization is changing that by giving those without a roof a chance to share what their lives are like using GoPros.
Homeless GoPro not only wants to help homeless people share their stories, but also create empathy.
“We’re not just building empathy around homelessness, its homeless individuals and that’s why we start one conversation, one story at a time,” said Kevin Adler, co-founder of Homeless GoPro.
One of those homeless individuals is Adam Reichart, who has been living on the streets of San Francisco for around seven years.
Adler, a young techie, and Reichart connected through HandUp, an organization that allows homeless people to create profiles online to raise money through crowdfunding.
The two developed Homeless GoPro in an effort to give homeless people the ability to tell their own stories. Adler said he was inspired to do something after the death of his uncle, who had been homeless. Critics have called the project exploitative, but Adler disagrees.
“People say ‘this is tech workers doing tech workers do, being exploitative,’” he said. “Adam wears a camera because Adam chooses to wear a camera.”
The project is relatively small right now. Adler and Reichart have had trouble connecting with homeless people to wear the cameras (communicating about meeting times, for instance, can be difficult when people don’t have access to a cell phone), and finding other volunteers has been a challenge. But they hope it will grow and continue to give people a sense of the discrimination homeless people face.
“I’ve been out here so long that it doesn’t shock me,” Reichart said, “but I think that’s what probably shocked the most people, who commented about how people can walk past someone and act like they’re invisible.”