After 29 cold, sometimes rainy nights, a local national guardsman has completed his goal to live for a month as a homeless person.
Jason Carney, 37, began the project in January to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness. He documented his journey on the Facebook page for the activist group he founded, "Vets for the 99%."
"For 30 days, it's literally been a very depressing, tiring experience," Carney told ABC10 Wednesday night at a park in Rancho Cordova, where he slept for many of the nights. "It was literally fact finding at it's worst."
Carney knows what he did was radical, but he said he believes it takes that kind of shock-factor to make a difference.
Over the past four weeks, Carney said he walked nearly 300 miles around the Sacramento area, interviewed more than 300 homeless people and lost more than 20 pounds.
He said his biggest take-away is how much homeless people are ignored.
"It's like we live in a cast system almost," he said. "Here in Sacramento, you have all these people they're homeless they're desperate. People don't pay attention to them. They don't correspond with them. They try to avoid them."
He also said there was some positive things he saw as well.
"I met a couple that are both homeless. They found love in absolutely the worst possible situation," he said. "There's people who actually believe tomorrow will be better."
But Carney says while there are many programs working to help make things better, it's nowhere near enough.
Referencing California Governor Jerry Brown's State of the State address, where he said California is "prospering," Carney challenged the Governor to do more.
"I would ask him to walk to A, B and C streets, and tell me how much Sacramento is thriving," he said. "It's literally a couple blocks from the state house, it's really not that hard to walk down there and say, 'maybe we're not doing a good job.'"
Carney has a meeting set up with Congressman Ken Cooley next month and is hoping to speak with other lawmakers about what he's learned.
When asked what specific policies he believe would be beneficial, he said more rent controlled apartments, a higher, more livable disability pay, and suggested a program to give homeless people city jobs with health benefits where they can help with beautification projects in their communities.