Up close view of plight of the homeless

A leading U.S. activist for the homeless is coming to Kelowna to get a firsthand view of the problem here.

A leading U.S. activist for the homeless is coming to Kelowna to get a firsthand view of the problem here.

Mark Horvath, who operates the web sites invisiblepeople.tv and wearevisible.com, will include Kelowna on the B.C. portion of a cross-Canada tour he is making to show the face of homelessness in this country.

Horvath, an American who was formerly homeless and then turned to social media to give people many consider to be invisible a face, is embarking on the Canadian summer tour in partnership with the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the Community Action Committee.

Between now and September he will travel across the country with video camera, computers and smartphones with one goal in mind—to share the stories and experiences of the people he meets on the streets of Canadian cities with others on the Internet.

As he travels, he will use Twitter to broadcast what he is doing, and post videos and blog entries.

His regular Twitter feed, @invisiblepeople, is well-known in the social media world and he was named by the Huffington Post as one of 11 Twitter activists to follow in the U.S.

“Our goal is to expose Canadians to the unnatural disaster of homelessness in our communities through personal stories of those experiencing it,” said Tim Richeter, president of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the group that arranged the tour.

“I believe when Canadians are introduced to their homeless neighbours through Mark’s lens, they will be compelled to act.”

Horvath, an internationally recognized activist and ambassador for millions who live in shelters, on the street, in motels, tents and under bridges across the U.S., left Victoria yesterday en route to Vancouver. He is scheduled to be in Kelowna on July 12.

When Horvath is here, regional social development co-ordinator Christine Walsh and a case work manager from the Gospel Mission will act as his “tour guides” and will take him to a number of areas around the city where the homeless live, including proper houses and camps.

The Gospel Mission case worker will deliver lunches to some of the people on the day Horvath is in town.

Included in his Canadian tour will be stops in Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Fort McMurray Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sault St. Marie, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Frederricton, Halifax and St. John’s.

Organizers hope the tour and awareness it brings will galvanize Canadians to take action on the issue of homelessness.

Horvath’s Canadian journey can be followed on his Twitter account @hardlynormal.





Kelowna Capital News