How Graffiti is Helping the Homeless

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By Ash Blankenship

In East London, graffiti isn’t seen as a nuisance. In fact, one organization has teamed up with street artists in order to share the stories of the area’s homeless population, as Trending City notes

Depaul UK, a national service to help young people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged, has teamed up with a group of graffiti artists that tells young people’s stories. The initiative called, ‘Don’t let their stories end on the streets’ aims to support Depaul UK’s ongoing work with homelessness.

The pieces were created for free by artists Ben Slow, David Shillinglaw, Best Ever, Josh Jeavons and Jim McElvaney with each one telling a tragic tale of how each homeless person fell into their current situation. In addition to the street art, the campaign involves a ‘digital wall’, which features artworks online. As these artworks are purchased from the site, digital wall will be ‘cleaned’ - beautifully symbolising the fact that by donating, homeless people’s stories will be removed from the street.

While many cities aggressively work to clear graffiti, East London has taken a different approach, using street art as a means to help the lives of the neighborhood’s young homeless population. 


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Ash is the founder and editor-in-chief of Parksify and also writes about urban policies, technology, sociology and other topics for a range of publications, including Urban Times, Medium, Tiny Buddha and others.

Prior to founding Parksify, Ash worked at the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based nonprofit journalism organization.

Header image by Shoreditch Street Art.

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