- Three interns at BBH New York, an advertising firm, were challenged by the company to "do something good, famously." They decided to give a voice to the homeless in New York.
Rosemary Melchior, Willy Wang and Robert Weeks gave four homeless men prepaid cellphones and set them up with a Twitter account for their project, Underheard in New York.
On Feb. 1, the men began tweeting and broadcasting their daily struggles being homeless in New York.
- To find the participants, the three interns got in touch with the New York City Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter BBH has ties to. A counsellor found volunteers for the project — Carlos, Albert, Derrick and Daniel — and introduced the interns to them.
Two of the homeless men had never texted before, Melchoir said.
Now, half the men have over 2,000 followers and the other two are approaching that amount.
"Being HOMELESS dosnt make u a bad person...It can happen to YOU!!! A loss of a job...a divorce..sickness or watev(er)," Carlos said in a Twitter interview with the Star (scroll down with a full interview with Carlos and Albert).
Melchoir, Weeks and Wang said while they only purchased a month's worth of unlimited text messages, they hope the men can continue to tweet.
"I think they all want to continue tweeting, whether it's with Underheard in New York or not," Melchoir said.
Wang said that Daniel, who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday, found the money to refill his cellphone card in order to continue tweeting.
- The project is similar to Homeless Man Speaks, a Toronto-based blog which is a collaboration between Tony Clemens, who is homeless, and blogger Philip Stern.
- The men tweet about everything — what their day has been like, what they're doing, etc.
- They also respond to people who tweet them.
- The Star decided to tweet Albert, Daniel, Carlos and Derrick to see if we'd be able to interview them over Twitter for our story. Two of them replied.
Here is what Albert (@albert814) had to say:
- Carlos (@jessie550) has close to 2,000 followers. Here's what he had to say.