After months of conducting research on homelessness, five Elon University students created a five-minute video as part of the Home Matters public relations competition. Since the video was published onto YouTube on Feb. 9, it has been received buzz from The Huffington Postand garnered over 5,000 views.

Erin Turner, a senior student who serves as one of the five competition members, says the motivation behind producing the video came from a desire to empower the homeless community to speak up for themselves and educate the general public on contemporary issues homeless people face.

“So many times the homeless individuals feel invisible because no one’s willing to take the time to talk to them,” Turner said. “These people have stories and want to be heard.”

Though the video was shot in Raleigh, homelessness has a larger impact in the United States. According to the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, 610,042 people were homeless on a given night in January 2013.

In North Carolina, the homeless population is on the decline. Between 2012 and 2013, the total number of homeless individuals in the state decreased by 950 from 8,480 to 7,530.

But Turner insists that more can always be done to help decrease homelessness.

Elon students currently have the opportunity to help Allied Churches, a collaboration of churches united to meet the needs of the hungry, homeless and hopeless in Alamance County, through programs like Campus Kitchen. Campus Kitchen collects unused and unserved food from community partners while working with students, faculty and staff to prepare and deliver meals to those in need at Allied Churches.

“I just want people to kind of reach out to the homeless community,” Turner said. “Spending a day with Allied Churches would change peoples’ perspectives.”

Home Matters will evaluate the entries it receives by focusing on the research process, planning process, implementation, creativity and effectiveness of the campaign.

According to Turner, the public relations competition could create a lot of attention for Elon University, especially for the School of Communications. The research has been done, the video has been made but the outcome has yet to be determined.

“We have until March 30 to gather up all of our research, analysis of viewers, response, and will be notified April1 3 if we made it to the final round,” Turner said.