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Former Homeless Man Using Web to Raise Awareness

LOS ANGELES (CBS) -- Fifteen years ago, Mark Horvath would be found walking around homeless on Hollywood Boulevard.

After getting his life back together as a video producer, he found himself unemployed once again in November 2008. But instead of letting himself return to his homeless past, he took his two last possessions -- a camera and laptop -- and hit the streets.

Horvath went to shelters, tent cities and Skid Row finding, meeting and interviewing the homeless. He launched InvisiblePeople.TV as a hub to share their stories and videos.

"The goal is to make the 'invisible people' in society more visible by bringing them out of the shadows where they are ignored," said Horvath. "We're using social media to expose the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions of people face each day."

He also started tweeting his journey in real time under the names @invisiblepeople and @hardlynormal. People started taking notice and Horvath started to be asked to speak at social-media-for-social-good conferences.

He began his third road trip July 21. Armed with a camera, laptop and smartphone, he's making his way across the United States. For 72 days, he will be documenting as many stories as he can. With YouTube featuring him on its front page, he has also become the top-subscribed non-profit channel this week and the 33rd of all time. I spoke to him while he was making a stop in Wilmington, Ohio, where about 8,000 jobs were lost in January 2009 when DHL closed its U.S. freight hub in the town with a population of 12,000.

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"Social media is free," said Horvath. "It's really a conversation about change. So when these videos are viewed, people get to see really what homelessness is all about and that's when the real change can happen."

In March, Horvath won Pepsi's Refresh Project, which had thousands of non-profits vying for a cash prize. He is hoping to use that money to launch his latest endeavor, a non-profit called We Are Visible, which will teach social media and digital literacy to homeless people.

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