Published on Jan 20, 2012
Chloe Kemp shares authentic stories of people who never thought they would be faced with homelessness. World-wide economic uncertainty pushes people closer to the edge every day. It is no longer something that only happens to 'others' -- we are all vunerable.
Asheville, North Carolina is a typical American town in many ways. People are 'living on the edge' are all over the country. Approximately 550 Asheville homeless people do not know where they will sleep tonight. In 2010, an estimated 2,000 Asheville residents were homeless. Filings for foreclosures in the Asheville metropolitan area tripled from 2009-2010, continuing to put more people at risk of becoming homeless.
For this project, I walked the streets of Asheville to meet people who are finding themselves in a downward spiral. I took photographs, interviewed and videotaped them, as they shared their personal stories.
One common thread throughout everyone I encountered was the pain of being invisible. These people have been stripped not only of their ability to care for themselves and their family, but also their dignity, respect and sense of value in the world.
What has had the biggest impact on me is how invisible and forgotten some of these people feel and how healing it was for them to have someone witness their story.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
When a longer version of this video was shown at an art exhibit, people were deeply moved. Many came to me with tears in their eyes, expressing their desire to see more. I am open to ideas and input as to how best reach as many people as possible with the video's message - that we can no longer ignore this problem. We must see and face the reality and scope of the problem, and work together to find solutions.
I encourage you to see and treat people who are struggling with respect, dignity and compassion. Remember, they are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters. Take the time to hear their story; it will broaden your understanding of how close many people are to falling off the edge. From these stories, you will find out, especially in these trying and turbulent times, that it doesn't take much to be pushed off the edge.
Please join me in helping break through the silence and giving a voice to those who are struggling and living on the edge. Please watch the video and then pass it on to everyone you know. With your help, we can make a difference.
We welcome your thoughts, your ideas, your comments.
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