Video featuring homeless in downtown Orlando goes viral

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ORLANDO, Fla. - More than 1 million people in just five days have watched a video featuring the homeless in downtown Orlando, which makes it the most watched video for a charity in central Florida history.

WFTV found out the video was shot in four hours and is having a big impact.

Twenty-thousand people watched the video on Wednesday.

The one-minute video really started taking off when George Takei, from "Star Trek," and actress Amy Poehler shared it on their Facebook pages.

“It’s at 14,000 new views since you guys got here today,” said Andrae Bailey, director of Commission on Homelessness.

A part-time employee at the Commission on Homelessness came up with the idea to take pieces of cardboard downtown and have the homeless share their stories on them.

One woman wrote, “I was a figure skater.”

A man wrote, “I was on the Buffalo Bills practice squad.”

“We were actually as shocked at what we found as everyone else was,” Bailey said. “This was completely unscripted.”

Denver Freeman wrote, “I once had a scholarship to play baseball.”

WFTV found out Freeman earned the scholarship despite becoming homeless as a teenager after his mom went to prison.

But Bethune-Cookman University wouldn’t accept him after he failed two drug tests.

“I didn’t realize I was screwing up everything I had and blowing a bunch of opportunities,” said Freeman.

Freeman recently got a job at a downtown restaurant and is hoping it will be his second chance at a successful life.

“The biggest misconception is that people choose to be out here,” said Joshua Johnson, with the Rethink Homelessness campaign.

The software company owner has spent countless hours getting to know the homeless.

“There’s nobody of a sound mind and body that chooses to be on the streets of downtown Orlando,” Johnson said.

The same organization that created the viral video was struggling two years ago and hadn’t held meetings for six months.

“Homelessness is an issue we’re going to turn around in Central Florida,” Bailey said.

Bailey took over the once-struggling commission one year ago.

The commission was on the verge of demise after it the former director came under fire for a $125,000 salary out of a $533,000 budget.

Watch the video here : Commission on Homelessness Video