Pathways to Housing, a nonprofit in New York City that is provides housing and mental health services to the homeless, have come up with a really innovative way to highlight the issue of homelessness and encourage people to take immediate action. They are projecting video images of a homeless person lying on the street, along with words that asks pedestrians to use their cell phones to send a text message that will help the homeless man get shelter. You send the text message, and the "virtual homeless person" gets up and goes through a door to housing. You then receive a text message in return, giving you a the opportunity to donate via return text message (something you may have experienced in response to the Haiti earthquake or other big emergencies). Pretty innovative way to attract attention to the cause. There are 40,000 homeless people in New York.
A short video about the project is below. According to an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, during one week, 200 people sent text messages and 30 follow-up with a donation via text message. If you're in New York, you can find out where the video projection will be from night to night on the Pathways Facebook page.
Go check it out. Give the virtual person a home, and then donate to make sure that a real homeless person gets a safe place to live.
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