Austinite produces viral video to shed light on homelessness

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin man took a social experiment to YouTube, trying to highlight stereotypes surrounding homeless people. More than 3 million people have watched the video in just over a week.

Filmmaker Joseph Costello teamed up with a man named Sandy, who is homeless and lives downtown.

“There’s a lot of videos online right now,” Costello said. “You’ll probably see some of people helping the homeless, people exploiting the homeless to get views, people doing a lot of stuff.”

One day, the two decided Sandy would dress in a suit, and donations came pouring in.

Another time, Sandy dressed in his everyday clothes and got next to nothing.

“So I said instead of making a happy-go-lucky film, you know, buying a homeless person a shirt, getting them a hotel room, doing all this stuff and him going back to being homeless, let me show you how it really is on the streets with being homeless,” Costello said.

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