VIDEO: “Real Change means real community”

Real Change vendor Shelly Cohen is the star of a new film by Seattle campaigners and storytellers Facing Homelessness.

In the video (which you can watch in full below) Shelly explains what Real Change means to him.

“What I love about being a Real Change vendor is that I am an independent business owner,” he says. “For me, Real Change means real community. We help each other.”

Facing Homelessness is the brainchild of Seattle architect, photographer and community activist Rex Hohlbein.

Through the project, he uses photography, video and storytelling to break down barriers between homeless people and the communities in which they live.

Speaking at the INSP Global Street Paper Summit in 2015, Rex explained: “When you are living outside on the street it is like you are living behind a giant Plexiglass divider. Even though it appears you’re mingling with everyone else you actually are not. What I realised in that moment [is that] when we walk past somebody who’s homeless on the street without acknowledging them, we unknowingly create our own wall of Plexiglass.”

As well as raising awareness, Facing Homelessness harnesses the support of their Facebook community to raise money for the immediate needs of the subjects of their stories.

For Shelly, it was about reconnecting with a favourite hobby – 10-pin bowling.

“Thanks to Rex,” he says, “I’ve got bowling funds set up for a long, long time.”

Watch Shelly’s story here…