A homeless man in San Francisco is using technology to give the world a new perspective on homelessness. His name is Mo, and he's been using a Flip Cam to document his day-to-day activities and his interviews with other homeless men and women.
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Mo doesn't have access to a computer or a cellphone, so he's unable to post videos online himself. His friend Ryan Hupfer, who works at a Silicon Valley startup, gave Mo the Flip Cam, set up the YouTube channel, .
"We [met when we] ran into each other in the San Francisco Caltrain station when I was coming back home from work one day," Hupfer told Mashable. "He asked for money and cigarettes, but I was getting ready to grab a Subway sandwich, so I offered him something to eat instead."
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The two kept running into each other, and they became friends thereafter. Hupfer has given friends cameras in the past to share their stories, and he figured doing the same for Mo would yield the same result -- almost allowing viewers to put themselves in his shoes.
"He creates the content and I edit and distribute, and it's really worked out well so far," Hupfer said. "I try my best to tell his story, and if anyone emails, I say that I'm posting on his behalf. One of these days I'll get him on [the Internet], but that's going to take some time."
Using the Flip Cam, Mo is able to give the rest of the world an idea of what it's like to live on the streets of San Francisco. In a video posted on Monday, Mo gave another homeless man a snippet of his background:
"I've been homeless for almost four years now," Mo says in the video, behind the camera. "I've slept under the bridge at Fourth and King over here, and I had to learn how to survive out here because I worked all my life. I didn't know what it was [like] sleeping next to someone you don't know, or 'sleeping with the rats,' as we call it."
Hupfer says Mo is in his late 50s and is originally from Chicago. He used to sell drugs in San Francisco before he was imprisoned for selling a pill to an undercover police officer. He's been homeless ever since he was released.
You can now learn about Mo's stories on platforms other than . Hupfer set up a for Mo and a for anyone who wants to donate money.
On , Hupfer shares Mo's thoughts and status updates. One post from Sunday reads, "I got a gun pulled on me tonight ... for $16. A good reminder that I'm still on the streets, but I know with all of your help it's only going to get better. I don't think I could do it without all of you pulling for me."
Hupfer has been been using to send updates to everyone who has given money to Mo via WePay, and in order to maintain transparency and openness, he created a Google doc for all of the donors that shows how much money Mo has raised, how much he has left and what he's spending it on.
"We've raised close to $1,500 right now, which isn't a lot, but that's enough to keep Mo fed and off the streets for almost three months," Hupfer said.
Mo told Mashable through Hupfer that his main goals are to get off of parole, get a job and eventually be able to give back to others who are in similar situations and support programs that already do. He also mentioned speaking to younger people about his story and doing his best to keep people from getting into his situation in the first place.
As far as what he wants the world to learn, he said, "That no matter who the homeless person is, they're all human beings, not just some animals that should be ignored and they should never be treated that way. Get to know a homeless person's story and you'll start to realize that they're not that different from anyone else."
This story originally published on Mashable .