‘Project Empathy’ works to combat homelessness with humanity, personal touch

SALT LAKE CITY - Nine-year-old Chase Hansen and his father John are on a mission to help the homeless. But not just the way most donate or give a handout. They see them through the entire journey until they overcome.]

Two years ago they started Project Empathy, a nonprofit that starts with them sitting down with a homeless person and having a meal. During the meal, Chase and John find out the homeless person’s story and how they can help them.

Chase Hansen told Fox13 that, “project Empathy is supposed to help them get a friend and help them move forward, to get a job and learn life principles and what they can do better.”

Justin Ward is one of the many homeless that Chase and John have helped. They met him at Starbucks and over the last two years have supported him in overcoming his homelessness. Justin now has his own apartment and has successfully overcome addiction. After two long difficult years of living in Salt Lake's Road Home Shelter, Justin is grateful for their support.

“ They’ve helped me a lot first, in seeing that I have self-worth by believing in me and encouraging me to believe in myself; that I can make a difference in other people lives,” Justine noted.

After watching the ongoing homeless epidemic in Salt Lake City leaving many in a vicious cycle, John decided to sit down one on one with them and create a personal human connection in hopes to help beyond just relying on city officials to do the job.

“…..it’s going out there and doing things that help people feel like they are a human,” John notes, “…. its these simple things that when you have someone to be with you that stands with you for a little bit you feel like you are uplifted, you feel like you a human, like you are part of the community somehow.”

To get more involved go to Kidlabs.org.