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HELP IS ON ‘Z’ WAY!

Young adults raise awareness and compassion for those experiencing homelessness

2020 has been a hard year for everyone, but especially so for those who are experiencing homelessness. However, some young people are showing kindness during this year of chaos, giving underserved and otherwise ignored populations support and a helping hand. From profiling their stories, campaigning for compassion, and providing employment for houseless individuals, Millennials and Gen Zs are raising the imperative to support these individuals, spreading equal amounts of awareness and hope in the process.

@AKRAMADINAS ON TIKTOK

The latest individuals to find love and support on social media are some of the homeless residents of Fresno, California. Akram Mohsin and Mohsin Alaqwari, cousins and managers of the Tower Gas and Mini Mart, turned to TikTok to showcase the struggles, talents, and ultimately deeply human stories of their homeless customers. Their TikTok videos have already racked up over 2.5 million followers and 38 million likes. Moved to compassion, viewers from around the world have sent gifts and money to help these homeless customers, which makes for extra heartwarming and highly popular “unboxing” content.

HIPPY FEET

Founded by 27-year-old Sam Harper, Minneapolis-based Hippy Feet is much more than a sock and apparel brand. The company’s innovative Pop-Up Employment program provides transitional jobs for over 120 homeless youth ages 16-24, with special attention and care for those of color. Harper hopes to “empower a generation of young people who have been affected by homelessness and provide them a support system that may be missing from their lives.” Hippy Feet’s products are sustainably made, customizable, and can be purchased at hippyfeet.com.

NOWHERE TO CALL HOME BY LEAH DENBOK

20-year-old Gen Z Leah Denbok has been photographing members of the homeless community in Toronto for the last five years, and her work has recently earned international attention. Her haunting portraits call attention to the plight of these individuals, and inspire compassion in viewers. Denbok and her father also interview each portrait subject to gather their stories. Denbok has published three volumes of her Nowhere to Call Home series chronicling these subjects, with profits going towards charities that support those experiencing homelessness.