James did one tour of the Middle East while serving in the Army. He told me one tour was enough. Somehow I can understand that. What I mean is that I have huge respect for the men and women who join the military but I can’t even imagine what it must be like going to war. My heart goes out to everyone who has seen the madness of wartime.
Throughout this video, James became increasingly emotional. When I asked James for his three wishes, he broke down. I could literally feel his pain. It wasn’t the question but that he has been holding in a lot of emotions. I sat with James for a long time after this interview and even went back the next night to check on him. I always get messed up when someone for wherever reason cannot come up with three wishes, but James’s story really hit me hard.
James lives in his car at the Safe Parking LA located on the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Campus. After his wife asked for a divorce, James decided to leave to keep the peace. He has been living in his car for about a month.
James calls people living in their vehicles “car dwellers” and shares in this interview that he is seeing mobile homelessness increasing around Los Angeles.
Safe Parking LA provides a safe place for mobile homeless to park at night. The folks behind Safe Parking LA told me they have been pitching the concept to Los Angeles County politicians for five years but only now is it being adopted.
If Los Angeles is ever going to end homelessness the stakeholders that make the decisions need to think outside the box and be open to new ideas that will help save lives and reduce costs. It’s fantastic that LA County is now approving safe parking locations, but they should have been implemented when the concept was first presented.
Please help support safe parking programs in your community. If you’d like to support Safe Parking LA here is the link to their website https://www.safeparkingla.org
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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, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, 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.tv 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.
Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness.