Sixteen years ago, Mark Horvath was homeless. Now he’s helping the homeless find a voice.
Based in Los Angeles, Horvath is a part of a number of ventures highlighting the problem of homelessness in America. At his blog, InvisiblePeople.tv, Horvath posts videos profiling homeless people and families across the country in an attempt to raise awareness.
Horvath’s other venture is WeAreVisible.com. It’s a site that helps the homeless find a voice in social media. It seems a little strange, connecting the homeless with technology, but social media is growing by the day. Its mass appeal is that it’s open to everyone, even those without a home. WeAreVisible.com has basic tutorials on setting up a Gmail account, using Twitter, joining Facebook, and running a blog.
Horvath knows that homelessness is a problem in America. He was there. Now he just wants all of us to find out.
We caught up with him for a few questions.
Why Invisible People and We Are Visible? Why help the homeless find a voice?
I feel like I’m forced. I don’t have a choice. They say, “Don’t waste a good crisis.” If you’re stuck in a crisis, you go and help somebody else. When you help somebody else, your problems are put into perspective. The homeless story was always held one of two ways: the mainstream media always told the negative unless it was Thanksgiving. The non-profits always acted like it was solved. I decided to keep myself busy and help others.
Are you a good man? Why or why not?
I’d consider myself a work in progress. A lot of people call me a hero. Just recently, a homeless mother of two wrote a blog post about how I’m a hero. I don’t want to consider it that way. I’m not that nice. I think if I start calling myself a good man, I’ll stop trying to be one. I just am a hardly normal guy in a world trying to help others.
What makes a good man, in your eyes?
I think foremost it’s integrity, because it’s the trait that ensures all the others. If you don’t have integrity and you say you’re honest, you’re not. Integrity is the trait that keeps them all together.
Introspection, being self-aware, is one of the best assets. Seeing the world for how it really is instead of how we think it is. I do that by saying, “What if I’m wrong?” Even if I know I’m right, I still try to see if I’m wrong. Pride and arrogance don’t see themselves in the mirror.
Tenacity is really big. Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Who has been the ultimate good man in your life?
My stepfather, the greatest man I’ve ever known.