Natasha's GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/54qyw-no-longer-homeless
July 3, 2012, was a rainy night in London. I had just arrived from the airport. I was jetlagged with my head pounding. I went for a walk to get some food and there she was. I didn't have a camera with me, so I recorded a short video with my phone. Here is a link to Natasha's first video: https://youtu.be/6TLVgwoqhoc
Overnight the video reached over 169,000 views on YouTube and started a conversation about welfare reform in the UK that was just gorgeous.
The next day I tried to find Natasha. She was sleeping rough in London. Someone commented that they saw her at London Waterloo station. I could not find her. That started my journey of traveling between London Waterloo station and Embankment tube station every future visit trying to find her.
I searched online constantly. I searched Google, and I searched social media. I could not find her. Someone started a fundraising page for Natasha, but they didn't have any connection to her, and I don't think the person they found was the same girl. I was concerned for her, and concerned people were using her video to make money. Over the last six years, I aggressively tried to find Natasha.
A week or so ago I received a message request on Facebook. Seems some woman had been trying to get my attention, but I never see the requests. I forget that feature is even there. That woman turned out to be Natasha - the real Natasha - the young homeless girl I had met sleeping rough in London six years ago. She found me.
There are no words to describe how happy I was that she reached out to me and how utterly ecstatic I was she was no longer homeless. Natasha is now a young mother. She lives with her partner trying to make the best of it. She works three jobs trying to survive. So often the end of homelessness just starts new challenges.
Every single day someone contacts me asking about Natasha and how they can help. I have been messaging with Natasha back and forth, and since so many of you wanted to help her, I suggested she start a GoFundMe page.
This is Natasha's GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/54qyw-no-longer-homeless I have validated it is her. Although I made the suggestion, all donations go directly to her. She set up the page herself.
From talking to Natasha, I learned that they don't have a lot of furniture. Like I said, she works three jobs. That's got to be hard on a young family.
If you are one of the tens of thousands of people that was moved by Natasha's story, please consider a donation of any size. Natasha has a wonderful spirit even though she has been through so much. Thank you in advance for helping this young family.
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Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.
Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore. The vlog puts into context one of our nation’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories captured by the lens of Mark Horvath – its founder – and brings into focus the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions face each day. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.tv shatter the stereotypes of America’s homeless, force shifts in perception and deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to opening their eyes and their hearts to those too often forgotten.
Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness.