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on February 4, 2014
We have all seen them, the dirty, nasty, stinking, disgusting bums standing on corners with cardboard signs with large black block letters stating something like, "HOMELESS PLEASE HELP!" People whose hair is matted and tangled. I live in the county and now the bums often sit on the benches near the mall in the county panhandling and being patently obnoxious. These homeless people of which I speak are almost always men who look drunk and or high on something. Yes I often tell myself not to give them anything because; it will just be used for drugs or alcohol.

Funny thing there is a coffee shop near my home and in it homeless people sit for hours on end with a book in fromt of them. They seldom read the book because; I notice many of the homeless regulars dudes never turn the pages. I visit the coffee shop to use the free wi-fi and people watch, while drinking coffee, eating muffins and reading my kindle. I am not a big guy but I am ugly & crazy enough that the sick and sane alike know to leave me alone. Yet rarely a homeless person will approach me.

This stinking nasty homeless dude walked up to my table. I actually smelled this dude approach my table so without looking up and seeing him, I said leave me alone. In my most robotic voice I said, Sir You'll get nothing from me but greif, pain and an eventual police arrest. I don't exist to satisfy your drug and alcohol habits so please GO AWAY! Usually that's enough to make the homeless leave me alone so I read my Kindle, unbothered and happy.

I had not even looked at the man but the horrid odor he emitted was still there. This being Baltimore I figured we would have to fight so I stood up ready to duke it out. It was a disabled white dude and he was just standing there crying not boo hoo loud sobs just lots of tears streaming down his dirty face crying. I have cerebral palsy you see so when I walk its painfully obvious that I have trouble walking. It is because; I have cerebral palsy that I am far more harsh to street beggars and bums as they think I am weak and might want to try me. This guy had watched me go get my food and coffee saw that I was disabled and felt he could talk to me thinking I'd have empathy for his plight.

The guy through tears said he just wanted to ask me some questions like where could he go to eat or wash his clothes. He had just been kicked out of his home on the streets for a few days ago and he had his disability money stolen. He was physically and mentally disabled, alone, afraid and stank to the high heavens. Of all the people in the coffee shop he came to me asking for help, guidance and understanding. Wierd thing is I love werewolves and this guy knew a LOT about werewolves, sci fi and all the things I absolutely love. I started talking to the guy and found out he was very intelligent just not very street wise at all. The family member that took care of him and gave him a place to live had died and his family took his money, sold the house he called home and the new owners kicked him out.

It was bitter cold out like in the single digits and this guy was obviously in bad shape. Needless to say I ended up helping the guy out but, I am guilty of making homeless people automatically invisible in my life and it is so easy to do. The weird thing is in helping this homeless guy I found a friend who likes werewolves, sci fi, Playstation 3 games and lots of other things I enjoy. He never asks me for anything even though he is homeless. I think he realizes I have been taken advantage of too so he lets me offer help but he never asks for anything. I was reading, Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness when he first walked up to me.

I never forgot his question when he saw I was reading, Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness. He said why read Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness when you have a homeless man right here who wants to share his real life story with you right now. He suggested I read Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness later but take the opportunity to learn from him in real life now. The moral of Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness is that homeless people are closer than you think and helping them is far easier than you can ever imagine. Clean clothes, a shower and just conversation made a world of difference to this guy it was to put it in autistic werewolf terms an utterly transforming experience.

Thinking about it being invisible is far worse than being hated. To hate someone you must first acknowledge the negatives you find offensive exist within an individual. That acknowledgement of an evil individual's personal identity is in itself an affirming act. Homeless people aren't usually hated they are truly invisible. People train their brains to process homeless people as part of the urban \ suburban or economic landscape. In the 21st Century USA most of us have trained ourselves to process Homeless People using the same filters used to ignore pigeons, blowing trash on the streets, parking meters, street lamps and other routine objects in our environment. Homeless people cease to be individiuals once we train our brains to regard them as just another part of the "BACKGROUND!" The essential part of humanity is defined by our ability to always make the plight of human beings in need visible to us and our humane sensibilities. The "Homeless" are made invisible because; we as a society have gotten cold hearted enough to filter them out of our conscious minds. We are more apt to remember the make and model of cars we see in the street than we are the faces of suffering homeless people who beg for change on our streets. I do not omit myself from the ranks who have made the homeless invisible. I condemn my own efforts to look past the himeless beggers right along with so many others, I get no special pass because; I'm autistic or disabled. There should be more books like this because; myself and so many like me need to be reawakened to the needs of the 21st Century Homeless.
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on November 11, 2010
"Homelessness is easy to ignore. It's as simple as turning a blind eye and letting the homeless become invisible," according to Kevin Hendricks in this book. The book is a series of stories about homeless people interspersed with observations by a number of different people on the nature and effects of homelessness.

The book is also a tribute to Mark Horvath, the author of the InvisiblePeople blog. Mark, who has himself experienced homelessness, travels around meeting homeless people and, with their permission, using his video camera to capture their stories. He posts the videos on his blog, and sends photo links via Twitter, thus helping invisible people to become visible again.

I found this short book to be both moving and challenging. There were homeless people from many different walks of life with many different stories. Most of them face problems which are difficult to solve, but that does not excuse us for ignoring them; they need to be accepted and treated with dignity like everyone else. I warmly commend this book to anyone who has the courage to care.
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on September 26, 2011
If you're not familiar with Mark Horvath or his work - Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness will awaken your eyes to the issues of homelessness right off the bat.
Kevin Hendricks has handpicked numerous stories that Mark has shared over the past few years and formatted them in an easy to read format that is accessible to everyone.
Along the way, Kevin has also gathered input from a number of individuals who have worked with Mark and share how their own eyes were opened to the real people and real stories of those who live on the streets of America.
The book can easily be ready in one or two sittings - but I encourage you not do so.
Take your time. Don't simply breeze through the stories. Let the stories sink in. Let them catch you off guard. Let them offend you. And let them lead you to action - with eyes wide open.
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on July 2, 2013
This is a must read book for everyone! Too often society doesn't see those in need. This book gives the reader an insight into what the homeless experience that is difficult to get otherwise. It gives the reader the opportunity to see those in the streets as human... a person with needs and desires just like himself. With the economy being what it is today, the homeless class of people will continue to grow. The misconception of "homelessness" being only old drunk men who just don't want to help themselves is so far from the mark! Whole families are increasingly finding themselves among the homeless every day. There are more Americans than you realize that are just one missed paycheck from finding themselves homeless. Woman, children and infants, along with men who desperately want work. But it's just not always there. It's our responsibility to help those in need. We are here to work together and help each other make it through this journey. Reading this book will help you see those people who have become so easy to ignore as we walk down life's streets.
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on February 20, 2014
This book was written more poorly than the people it is trying to help. Skip the middle man and just give your 10 bucks to the next homeless person you met and take the time to hear their story........j
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on April 7, 2012
This book will reinvigorate your heart in a way that only one can discuss whos read this book. Tears, joy and a passion to want to change things will overcome you. I highly recommend this book. It has changed how i view life on a daily basis. Proceeds to go helping invisiblepeople.tv. so its a two for one deal. Ir donating and learning.
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on December 20, 2014
A collection of real life people sharing their stories, feelings and wishes. A must read to help re-humanize a forgotten section of society.
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on March 21, 2015
Very eye opening for me. I am asking myself how can I make a difference in lives.
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on April 12, 2015
This book was enlightening and raised my awareness.
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on April 28, 2016
Got this for work. Good book.
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