There are many issues I wish I had more time to focus on at ChangingAging and homelessness is probably at the top of that list.
It’s a social issue that cuts across the lifespan but I can’t think of a more vulnerable, disenfranchised population than elders who are homeless. They are invisible and forgotten even though they live in plain site.
A filmmaker and a Michigan-based nonprofit focused on serving homeless people recently tried an experiment to change the way one homeless veteran (and society) views himself.
Teaming up with a make-over artist, they provided a complete physical transformation for U.S. Army Veteran Jim Wolf, who has struggled with alcoholism, poverty and homelessness for decades. The results are moving:
“The homeless are people we ignore every day,” Bliss said. He set out to create a time-lapse video of the physical transformation of a homeless person to show how “they can look like they’re meant for the cover of GQ — they have that potential too.”
Since the makeover, Wolf has been able to find housing and has been attending Alcohol Anonymous meetings. Obviously, this is not proof that make-overs are a solution to one of society’s most intractable problems. But it’s a powerful and moving example of how changing our self-perception can change our reality.
I would challenge all our readers, the next time you see a homeless person — especially those who look the most downtrodden and forgotten– to see them as the human beings they truly are.