Watch These People Walk Right Past Their Own Loved Ones In This Homeless Awareness Social Experiment


We’ve all done it. We’re all guilty of it. Yet can we really be blamed for it? We’re busy people. We’re focused on our daily routine. We have things to do. People to meet. Places to go. And so it is without surprise we walk right past homeless people without ever noticing.

Calling attention to this behavior, which partially stems from the idea that if we ignore it, it doesn’t exist or it will go away, the New York City Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter which provides food, shelter and social services, conducted a social experiment to dramatize just how desensitized we have become to the homeless.

The experiment, envisioned by New York ad agency Silver + Partners, features footage of unsuspecting people walking by their family members – siblings, spouses, and relatives – all dressed to appear homeless. The footage was then shown to the unsuspecting people, leaving many speechless and emotionally moved. The experiment called attention to the fact the homeless in New York are so deeply ignored, that family members, posed as the needy, were completely invisible to their own loved ones.

The touching video points to a website, MakeMeVisible, on which photos and videos of those aided by the Rescue Mission are featured in an effort to make people understand the homeless are human just like the rest of us.

Of the project, previously homeless Rescue Mission staff member TJ Hadley said, “I was once treated as invisible on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. I actually saw friends that I had known for years walk by and not recognize me. With this project, we can help make the homeless visible again. We need people to understand that the homeless are regular folks just like you and me. But they’ve fallen on hard times and just need a little bit of help.”

Will you take a closer look the next time you walk by a homeless person?

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  • SRichards

    I really liked this idea, though I think the impact would have been a little more effective if they’d made the faces of the planted family members more visible. In some of these shots, brimmed caps and downturned heads make it look like it might have been hard to see the person’s face even looking right at them. I think the man and his wife was the most powerful shot, because he had a direct line of sight to her and still walked by.

  • BenDoverPls

    I agree. It’s like…

    Here let me cover you up and face you the other way so nobody can see you, and see if your family can spot you.

    Kinda like playing Where’s Waldo but the seeker does not know they are supposed to be looking for Waldo.

    Even the man that did not spot his wife… I say BS. He walked by then they show his reaction to the footage, then they show him hugging her and walking away with her. Seems to me like everyone in the video was in on it.


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