Austinite produces viral video to shed light on homelessness

(Courtesy: Joseph Costello)

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. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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