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4/27/2017 Newsela | Art student helps the homeless, one sign at a time

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Art student helps the homeless, one sign at a time


By Chicago Tribune, adapted by Newsela sta
09.23.15

Mike Droney, a homeless veteran, displays a redesigned cardboard sign in downtown Chicago, Illinois, in early July. Michael Noble Jr./Chicago Tribune/TNS

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4/27/2017 Newsela | Art student helps the homeless, one sign at a time

CHICAGO, Ill. The streets of Chicago are filled with tall towers and tourists. Among them are also homeless men
and women. The homeless have a difficult time finding a place to live. They hold signs asking for money.

Most of these signs look messy. Ian Todd is an art student in Chicago. He saw these signs and decided he could
help. Todd has been replacing the sloppy signs with beautiful ones he makes. He thinks beautiful signs will stand
out better.

Todd wants to get people talking about the homeless. He does not want them to be ignored. He thinks his signs will
get them noticed.

MuchMustBeDoneToHelpTheHomeless

Some people say the signs work, while others are not sure they make a difference. There are still many things that
need to be done to help homeless people in Chicago.

Todd first talked to homeless people to see if they even wanted his new signs. Some did not want his help, but
others did. He started working on the new signs right away. He finished about 20 signs in two months. Creating the
beautiful letters can take up many hours. It takes from 5 to 10 hours to make one sign, Todd said.

Mike Droney was holding one of Todds signs on a sunny afternoon. Droney is 54 years old. He was a soldier in the
army and lost his leg while fighting. The sign read, I lost my leg for my country. Please help, you will be blessed.

Droney spends most of his days in front of a Starbucks asking for money. He said a lot of people like his sign. Still,
he is not sure the sign actually helps. He is not getting any more money than he did before.

Ulysses White is 54 years old and also has one of Todds signs. He thinks the sign is working. More people are giving
him money, he said.

NoticingTheHomeless
There have been other projects like Todd's project. Christopher Devine did a similar project. He printed signs for
the homeless that were much simpler. They were printed on white paper in a bold font and then protected with
plastic lamination. The signs said "Homeless" or "Please Help."

Devine, 32, was excited to see Todd's artwork on the street. He thinks the most important part of these projects are
getting people to notice the homeless.

MoreHelpNeeded

Ed Shurna works with the homeless in Chicago. He said the signs have helped a few people. Still, the homeless
problem needs even more help than just the signs. He thinks Chicago needs strong, organized action and better
laws to make a difference.

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4/27/2017 Newsela | Art student helps the homeless, one sign at a time

Todd has now moved to Los Angeles.

Homelessness is definitely here, Todd said.

Even though his new job keeps him busy, he is thinking about creating signs for the homeless again.

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