Over half a million people in the United States qualify as being homeless, living on the street or in temporary shelters.
In a new video, Buzzfeed Yellow asked four homeless people to complete the sentence: "I'm homeless, but I'm not..." and the answers cast a harsh light on the stereotypes they face. They report that being homeless is not synonymous with being a criminal or violent. While some homeless people do have mental illness, just as the rest of the population does, not all of them do.
After they say what they're not, they offer some insight about humanity that everyone — regardless of income — needs to hear.
"We're all humans. It doesn't matter if you're homeless or not, if you're gay, if you're straight, if you're black, if you're white. We're all humans. We're not trash."
"Money doesn't define a human being."
"I'm motivated to make things better, and make things better for myself and start again."
"I am also a strong survivor [...] I'm striving to survive every day."
As these four individuals tell their stories, there is one common theme: they want people to know they are humans who want to be treated with respect. Being homeless is not the only trait that defines them.
If you see a homeless person on the street and can't give them some money, it means just as much to give them a smile and say hello. They are members of the community, and pretending not to see them is not the answer.
Watch the incredible video below: