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Homelessness captured through the eyes of local photographer

by Trinty Gruenberg

    There are roughly 10,000 documented homeless in Minnesota. The holidays are here and photographer Matthew Breiter, 22, of Long Prairie wanted to raise some awareness for those who may be forgotten this holiday season.

    The idea came up around a year ago. Breiter wanted to do something to give back, but wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He considered donating his time, helping out people or animals. 

    Breiter had seen that Nikki Sixx (musician for Mötley Crüe and Sixx A.M.) is also a photographer and likes to spend time talking to the homeless.

    “He [Sixx] would photograph people and hear their stories about drug addiction, because he used to be a drug addict in the past. I wanted to talk to homeless people to learn what homelessness is really like—from them, versus just hearing about it somewhere else. That way I could hear the real story,” said Breiter.

    He photographed the people he spoke with to help raise awareness of homelessness and to humanize them.

    “It’s to raise awareness that it’s okay to talk to them, to let them know that you see them,” said Breiter.

    The Saturday before Thanksgiving, Breiter drove to The Cities to speak to the homeless and document their stories.

    “I chose this time of year because everyone has their minds on their families and about being thankful for what they have. I thought at this point of time, people are not going to care about the homeless as much because they are focused on what they already have,” explained Breiter. 

    Instead of giving them money, he put together care packages of items that included: chapstick, kleenex, snack packs, hand warmers and water bottles (donated by Super One), gloves and hats (donated by Fleet Supply). His parents gave him some blankets to hand out as well.

    “I wanted to give them items instead of money because I know it will help them,” said Breiter....

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