Have New Yorkers become desensitized to homeless people on the street? The New York Rescue Mission produced a video to find out.
The New York City-based organization which provides food and shelter services to people in need, set the scene by dressing friends and family members in soiled and tattered clothing and had them sit on the street to see if their loved ones would recognize them.
The goal of the video is to "make people think twice before walking by the homeless," according to the Make Them Visible site. The hope is that the video will go viral to "raise awareness and put a real face to those in need."
There is, no doubt, a need.
Each night more than 60,000 people — including more than 22,000 children — experience homelessness. Blacks, Latinos and LGBT youth are disproportionately affected by homelessness in NYC; approximately 53 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American and 32 percent are Latino, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.
Homeless LGBT youth are especially at risk, making "up 40 percent of the homeless youth population in this country, despite comprising only about 5 percent of the overall youth population," according to Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center, a homeless LGBT youth center in Manhattan.