They Are Us

Today, there are more vacant houses in America than homeless people.

Of course, it’s not so simple. Financial, political, societal + economic forces all come into play. But…

Tomorrow, there will be more vacant houses in America than homeless people.

How did we come to this?

Who are these people?

They are us.



Hot Tip:
I discovered this video via – an awesome compendium of creativity, design, art + ideas.

Header photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki /

The End (so far)


  1. You know, Steve … I … I’m just not sure about this. I don’t have any complaint AT ALL about the issue’s needing oxygen (it’s the same Downunder, I promise !); it’s that I kind of can’t … think it right to manipulate people in that way. How they must have felt when it was shown to them who they’d passed by, we can’t imagine. They must’ve wanted to sink into the earth … Yes, the message is powerful. Oh, I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the thing to keep in mind, M-R, is that while subterfuge was necessary to test the theory of ‘homeless invisibility’ – everyone you see in this video would have given their permission, after they’d seen the final result, for it to be made public.

      I should have included the Design Taxi article along with the YouTube video. Here’s a link to that. I think you’ll see that the folks who designed this experiment share your sensitivity to this. And they emphasize the point that the people in this video could be any of us, including them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fair enough then. But honestly, can you imagine them refusing ? How would that have made them look is what they would’ve thought. But I’m certainly not going to harp on about it: your point is made and accepted. I suppose I’m always ready to be suspicious of anything coming out of advertising. :-\

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a very interesting video. Thanks for sharing, Steve. And the link to the design website too. Will be checking that one out.

    I’m curious how they conducted this social experiment. I guess they invited the interviewees on the pretext of some survey or something, and made them pass the relatives on the street. After telling them the truth and showing the video, they brought them out to meet the ‘homeless’ relatives they just passed who were still sitting there. That’s a really creative way by the producers to relay their message about the homeless. It was also very moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s tempting to put those two problems together and imagine they could solve each other. But as you say, it isn’t so simple. People don’t live on the streets because there aren’t enough homes to go around. Houses aren’t empty because there aren’t enough people to live in them.

    Homeless people don’t need homes – they need counselling, education, drugs rehab, friendship and similar solutions.


    1. “Homeless people don’t need homes.” Hungry people don’t need food. Sick people don’t need medical care. Careful, Steve. The Tories/GOP might sue you for copyright infringement.

      “Homeless” means without a home; and if you are without a home, you need one. So, yes, homeless people need homes. Why? Because we human beings – lacking a hard shell – need homes.

      “Homeless people.” We almost always refer to them as “the homeless”. Makes it too easy to forget that there are *people* under those piles of rags and cardboard.

      “– they need counselling, education, drugs rehab, friendship and similar solutions.”

      You are so right about that. If we did give homeless people homes, they’d still have all these other problems to deal with! Of course, then they’d be… just… like… the rest of us.

      “Homeless people don’t need homes”? The mind boggles.

      Liked by 1 person

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