Telling stories of Austin's homeless

An Austin duo hopes to make a difference when it comes to how people view those living on the streets with a project called "5dollarstories".

The project tells the stories of our city's homeless. It's a collaboration between photographer Caitlin Collins and UT grad student Kyle Miller.

A lot goes on during Kyle's walk to the UT campus. But instead of focusing on other students and store fronts he looks at those who often go unnoticed.

"You just see so many homeless people, especially on the drag, that just get ignored by everybody," Kyle says.

Kyle says many do everything they can to avoid those who are homeless. He knew something was wrong with that picture. So he created "5dollarstories".

"I feel like growing up a lot of the times we're taught things and kind of the point of this project was to get people to just stop and think about whether or not this is the way they want to act towards other humans or not," Kyle says.

Kyle decided to sit down and talk to those he walked by every day, and for their time, he gives them $5, some food, water and even socks.

During their conversation Kyle takes down notes and quotes and his partner Caitlin makes sure to capture the whole thing on film.

Caitlin says, "I think the picture tells a story in itself because you really get to see the wear on their faces and it kind of tells the stories of their hard lives."

The pictures, stories and wisdom go on the 5dollarstories Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Kyle and Caitlin hope through the power of social media that the faces of those homeless will be recognized and people won't be scared to start a conversation.

"A lot of these older gentlemen have fought wars for us, they've traveled, they've had careers, and a lot of them were doing great and not on the street until one or two bad situations or circumstances happened to them," Kyle says.

"This could happen to a lot of people," Kyle adds.

But most importantly, Kyle and Caitlin want people to treat others with basic respect.

"I just think that if you're a person you should be treated like one even if you're on the streets or you've made mistakes," Kyle says.

If you'd like to get involved, you can get in touch with Kyle and Caitlin through the 5dollarstories Facebook page here or the Instagram page here.
 

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