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For most, a life on Bitcoin is a short experiment. For some of Pensacola, Florida's homeless, though, the currency has become a lifeline, making up the gap that low-paying or intermittent jobs and public assistance can't fill. Wired profiles the men and women who have developed an alternative virtual economy, raising charity money through Bitcoin and making small amounts of money through Mechanical Turk-like jobs that pay in Bitcoin rather than requiring a bank account. Though Bitcoin still isn't widely accepted, services like Gyft can turn the currency into gift cards for food or other necessities, and mobile phones and computers are affordable even for some people who can't make a monthly rent payment. Jesse Angle, who earns money by completing simple online tasks for Bitcoin, says the system is less risky and embarrassing than panhandling. He and his friends, he says, are "kind of the homeless geeks."

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Housing over 2,500 squatters on 28 of its 45 floors, the Tower of David is a half-finished structure in Caracas, Venezuela, populated with displaced people. Like the now-vanished Kowloon Walled City or a huge vertical tent city, it is feared by officials and runs by its own rules. Its residents pool resources, including skills and money, to create and maintain independent and communal water supplies, plumbing and power grids.

Even the police are afraid to enter this effectively lawless structure, but through friends one video journalist was given permission to tour and film the facility – you can follow his adventure via the video above.

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Publisher Verso writes: It is assumed that every inch of the world has been explored and charted; that there is nowhere new to go. But perhaps it is the everyday places around us--the cities we live in--that need to be rediscovered. What does it feel like to find the city's edge, to explore its forgotten tunnels and scale unfinished skyscrapers high above the metropolis? Explore Everything reclaims the city, recasting it as a place for endless adventure.

Plotting expeditions from London, Paris, Berlin, Detroit, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Bradley L. Garrett has evaded urban security in order to experience the city in ways beyond the boundaries of conventional life. He calls it 'place hacking': the recoding of closed, secret, hidden and forgotten urban space to make them realms of opportunity.

Explore Everything is an account of the author's escapades with the London Consolidation Crew, an urban exploration collective.

The book is also a manifesto, combining philosophy, politics and adventure, on our rights to the city and how to understand the twenty-first century metropolis.

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bobbycaputo:

How the Other Half Lives: Photographs of NYC’s Underbelly in the 1890s

Jacob A. Riis arrived in New York in 1870. As the economy slowed, the Danish American photographer found himself among the many other immigrants in the area whose daily life consisted of joblessness, hunger, homelessness, and thoughts of suicide. So when he finally found work as a police reporter in 1877, he made it his mission to reveal the crime and poverty of New York City’s East Side slum district to the world.

The resulting book, How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York, was published in 1890, and is still considered “a landmark in the annals of social reform.” Filled with pictures, sketches and graphic descriptions of the un-imaginable living conditions he found, the book forced the topic of tenement reform to the forefront of every New Yorker’s attention.

(Continue Reading)

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Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis, based in Athens, spent several weeks documenting the unemployed and homeless in Greece as the continued economic downturn has impacted the numbers of homeless. Since the debt crisis erupted in 2009, hundreds of thousands of Greeks have lost their jobs -- the unemployment rate in the country reached 26.8 percent, as the economy contracted by another 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and even stricter austerity measures are being urged. See also Portraits of Greece in Crisis from last year. [23 photos]

Alexandros, a 42-year-old from Serres in northern Greece, sits in the abandoned car he lives in, at the port of Piareus near Athens, on April 10, 2013. Alexandros owned a plant shop in Athens until 2010, when it was forced to close, he became homeless soon after. According to Praxis, a non-governmental organization, the number of homeless in Greece has nearly doubled to over 20,000 from 11,000 in 2009. (Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)     

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Lee Jeffries black and white Photography

Lee Jeffries lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom.

The models in his photographs are homeless people that he has met in Europe and in the United States: «Situations arose, and I made an effort to learn to get to know each of the subjects before asking their permission to do their portrait.» From then onwards, his photographs portray his convictions and his compassion to the world. (via Fubiz)

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While enrolled as a student at the International Center of Photography in the fall of 2005, Samantha Box was given an assignment to photograph a community space in New York. In the Hell’s Kitchen district of Manhattan, she found Sylvia’s Place, the city’s only emergency shelter for homeless LGBT youth. More than six years later, she has yet to leave.

On any given night in New York City, an estimated 4,000 LGBT youth roam the city without a home. As the country celebrates LGBT Pride month throughout June, Box aims to remind us that, in spite of tremendous progress, vulnerable LGBT youth still suffer in the shadows. According to a recent study by the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services, an estimated 25-40% of homeless youth in New York City identify as gay, bisexual, and/or transgender. These young adults must navigate a social and cultural landscape punctuated by multiple layers of stigma in regards to race, gender, class and sexuality. Many suffer from a history of trauma. Most, if not all, have fled broken homes.

Box believes in slowing down, that to accurately tell a story involving a cacophony of societal and personal layers one must wait patiently for the expression to flicker on someone’s face. Only after three to four years of patiently returning to Sylvia’s Place — after producing a series of images focused on the issue of homeless LGBT youth designed to, in her words, “hit people in the head to say these people need your attention,” — did she fully understand the nuances of her story.

Although one senses heartbreak in the images — the pained expression of a young woman visiting the grave of her deceased mother, the “Happy Mother’s Day” note bequeathed on a bed of flowers — there is an overwhelming feeling of life and youth radiating from Box’s photos. As opposed to relying on expected visual tropes of homelessness and LGBT youth, Box paints a more refined and heartfelt portrait: these are young adults coming of age and coming together in search of family.

“The young people that I photograph are some of the most resilient people that I have ever met: despite facing the societal animosity of homo- and transphobia, and the burden of a broken system that conspires to keep them homeless,” she says, “they continuously work for a future where their talents and intellect can be used, where they have a home, a family and a life of stability.”

Samantha Box is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. You can see more of her work here.

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Last Sunday, May 20, a strong and unusually shallow earthquake struck northern Italy, killing at least seven people, damaging or destroying hundreds of structures, and leaving thousands homeless. The magnitude 6.0 earthquake occurred just after 4 a.m. local time, at a depth of only 5 km (3 mi). The affected region is home to countless historic churches, castles, and towers -- many of which were damaged or toppled. Displaced families are taking shelter in tents erected on local soccer fields as rescue workers search for survivors and recovery crews try to salvage historic artifacts from the rubble. [30 photos]

Half of a clock face on Modenesi's Towers of Finale Emilia, destroyed following an earthquake on May 20, 2012 in Ferrara, Italy. (Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images)

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