Theo – Homeless At Age 7
Photo essay, story by Sarah Ravai, photographs by Gabrielle Lurie, San Francisco Chronicle In-Depth, July 29, 2020
Theo pops his head through the door of his tent and scrunches his nose against a cold breeze. A mop of coarse black hair sticks up as the 7-year-old rubs his eyes and puts on his glasses. [Read]
Let’s Get Street Smart Film Series
The measure of a city is determined by how we treat our most vulnerable neighbors. Embarrassed, frustrated and determined, San Franciscans redefine their city by taking on the homelessness crisis with the trademarks of the SF culture: innovation and activism. Along the way, they also redefine what we mean by getting “street smart”. Produced by Micro-Documentaries.com.
- Episode 1 – Radical Hospitality
2016, 3:32 mins, Micro Documentary
If food trucks reimagined fast food what would showers and toilets delivering dignity for the homeless look like on wheels? [Watch]
- Episode 2 – Unconditional Support
2016, 3:43 mins, Micro Documentary
How might we extend SF’s tradition of unconditional acceptance to teenagers on the street so that they can live outstanding lives? [Watch]
- Episode 3 – Strengthening Families
2016, 3:28 mins, Micro Documentary
In a city that champions an active father role, what happens when a previously homeless dad helps others without stable homes? [Watch]
- Episode 4 – Dignity of Work
2016, 3:51 mins, Micro Documentary
Employee-centered environments help workers be more engaged. How can work experience be customized for a person who is homeless? [Watch]
- Episode 5 – Yoga & Mindfulness
2016, 3:33 mins, Micro Documentary
Yoga and mindfulness have improved the lives of countless people. How might we extend these practices for wellbeing of unhoused youth? [Watch]
- Episode 6 – Housing with Support Services
2016, 3:10 mins, Micro Documentary
Artists are able to thrive in spaces where they can live and work. What type of housing can enable people coming off the street to prosper in? [Watch]
- Episode 7 – Whole-Person Wellness
2016, 2:51 mins, Micro Documentary
When Rita arrived in San Francisco she was afraid of those who were different than herself, like the homeless. Today she offers wellness services to thousands each day, lifting their bodies and their spirits. [Watch]
- Episode 8 – More Than a Shelter
2016, 2:24 mins, Micro Documentary
As a child, this woman used to leave her family’s Thanksgiving dinner to volunteer in a soup kitchen. Today she channels San Francisco’s spirit of innovation to help the city’s homeless by giving them tools to navigate the housing market. [Watch]
Right to Fail
2018, 55 mins, Documentary
Thousands of New Yorkers with severe mental illnesses won the chance to live independently in supported housing, following a 2014 federal court order. FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate what’s happened to people moved from adult homes into apartments and find more than two dozen cases in which the system failed, sometimes with deadly consequences. [Full documentary]
On the Streets – Homeless in LA
2016, 71 mins, Documentary
On the Streets is a 12-part video series about homelessness in Los Angeles. Journalist and filmmaker Lisa Biagiotti tackles this complex issue by putting faces to the statistics. She starts by following the L.A. Times’ homeless data map, and sets out to have conversations with people who do not have homes. Since October, Biagiotti has been learning about their varied experiences and connecting their stories to larger issues. Along the way, she gains input and insights from Angelenos. [Info] [Full documentary]
2018, 80 mins, Documentary
Shelter is a feature length documentary following a year in the life of homeless youth in New Orleans – the raw and emotional stories of the young people as they seek help and help at Covenant House. [Info] [Full length documentary]
Film & Family Homelessness Project
In 2013-14, the Center for Strategic Communications (CSC) selected six acclaimed Seattle-area filmmakers to participate in the Film & Family Homelessness Project. The filmmakers, working with students, staff, and community partners, created four different animated films, “American Refugees,” that told the stories of the thousands of Washington families who are homeless or living in poverty. This project, which was managed by Lindy Boustedt, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. [Info] [Trailer]
- American Refugees: The Smiths – 3:54 mins
- American Refugees: Home for Sale – 5:47 mins
- American Refugees: The Beast Inside – 4:15 mins
- American: Refugees: Super Dads – 3:51 mins
Us and Them
While filmed around downtown Victoria BC, US & THEM, produced by Krista Loughton and Jennifer Abbott (The Corporation) could take place in any Canadian town. Through her compassionate style of documentary filmmaking, Krista Loughton lends a familiarity to all that she interviews. Krista’s subjects aren’t “just homeless.” They are not faceless apparitions wandering the streets. These people are the friends and family that we all know in our communities, who need our support. [Info] [Trailer]
2013, 89 mins, Documentary
Directed by Harry Gantz and Joe Gantz
American Winter followed eight families from Portland, OR who had contacted the 211 helpline. The film was one of the first to emphasize the income inequality that was leading to family homelessness around the country, and included commentary from economic experts. [Info] [Trailer]
2012, 3:16 mins, 2013 Oscar winning short documentary
Directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix
Inocente which won an Academy Award for Short Documentary, introduced the world to a 15-year-old who had been homeless with her family and followed her journey as an artist. [About Inocente] [Review] [Trailer] [View full documentary]
2012, 75 mins, Documentary
Directed by Mary Kerr
Radioman, so called for the stereo boombox around his neck, is a serial film extra on first-name terms with Hollywood’s A-list. This is a documentary about the New York film set mascot who overcame homelessness and alcoholism to become a fixture of the New York film industry, with over 100 small parts to his name. [Info]
2011, 46 mins, Documentary
Directed by Susanne Suffredin
@Home is a documentary that tells the story of modern U.S. homelessness and one man’s fierce commitment to end it by confronting public fatigue towards homelessness, demonstrating that it can be solved, and inspired action to tackle homelessness neighborhood by neighborhood. [Trailer] [Full documentary] Read about Invisible People and its founder Mark Horvath.
American Refugees: Homelessness in Four Movements
2010, 40 mins, Documentary, Biography, Drama
A fast-paced and gripping documentary about those who live on the street. Shot during their four-year ethnographic study in Birmingham, Alabama, Wasserman and Clair presents an onslaught of issues connected with homelessness from both social and personal angles. [Trailer]
Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home
2010, 77 mins, Documentary
Director Thomas Mappers
Los Angeles’ Skid Row is home to one of the largest homeless populations in the United States. And we found, inside that community, the remarkable and enormously moving stories of Olympic athletes, Harvard attorneys, accomplished musicians, scholars. We found poverty, drugs and mental illness, of course – but more importantly we found life, hope, and incredibly powerful human journeys. [Trailer]
Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County
2010, 60 mins, Documentary
Directed and filmed by Alexandra Pelosi
This movie explores the world of children who reside in discounted motels within walking distance of Disneyland, living in limbo as their families struggle to survive in one of the wealthiest regions of America. The parents of motel kids are often hard workers who don’t earn enough to own or rent homes. As a result, they continue to live week-to-week in motels, hoping against hope for an opportunity that might allow them to move up in the O.C. [Info]
2008, 98 mins, Documentary
Directed by Susan Koch and narrated by Colin Farrell, Kicking It, is a feature length documentary that chronicles the lives of seven players taking a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country at the Cape Town 2006 Homeless World Cup. The lives of homeless people are changed forever through an international soccer competition. This film follows six players as they set of for Cape Town, south Africa to play in the Homeless World Cup. [Trailer]
The Cats of Mirikitani
2006, 74 mins, Documentary
Directed by Linda Hattendorf
Documentary about red-beret-ed Jimmy Mirikitani, a feisty painter working and living on the street, near the World Trade Center, when 9/11 devastates the neighborhood. A nearby film editor, Linda Hattendorf, persuades elderly Jimmy to move in with her, while seeking a permanent home for him. She films Jimmy’s remarkable journey back into his incredible past. [Trailer] [Full documentary]
2000, 82 mins, Documentary
Directed by Marc Singer
A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City. [Trailer]
1984, 91 mins, Documentary
Streetwise is a 1984 documentary film by director Martin Bell. It followed in the wake of a July 1983 Life magazine article, “Streets of the Lost,’ by writer Cheryl McCall and photographer Mary Ellen Mark. The book titled Street Child: A Memoir written by Justin Reed Early is connected to the film. [Full documentary]
2018, 119 mins, Drama
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Emilio Esteviz, Taylor Schilling
Directed by Emilio Estevez
An act of civil disobedience turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold. [Trailer]
2018, 86 mins, Drama
Cast: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford.
Directed by Paddy Breathnach
The story of a mother trying to protect her family after their landlord sells their rented home and they become homeless. [Trailer]
Same Kind of Different as Me
2017, 119 mins, Biography, Drama
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, Jon Voight.
Directed by Michael Carney
International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives. [Trailer]
A Street Cat Named Bob
2016, 103 mins, Biography, Drama, Family
Cast: Luke Treadaway.
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat. [Trailer]
The Lady in the Van
2015, 104 mins, Biography, Drama, Comedy
Cast: Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Alex Jennings.
Directed by Nicholas Hytner
The true story of Miss Shepherd, an eccentric homeless woman of uncertain orgins, who “temporarily” parked her broken-down van in writer Alan Bennett’s London driveway, and proceeded to live there for the next 15 years. [Trailer] [Meet the real lady in the van]
2015, 113 mins, Drama
Cast: Victor Browne, Molly Kidder. Director by Nat Christian
Radio commentator, Thomas Bach, runs for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota. Through a circumstance, he ends up in the middle of LA’s brutal homeless community. What he does with his new awareness is pitted against the forces of security. [Trailer]
Time Out of Mind
2014, 120 mins, Drama
Cast: Richard Gere, Jena Malone, Ben Vereen.
Directed by Oren Moverman
George seeks refuge at Bellevue Hospital, a Manhattan intake center for homeless men, where his friendship with a fellow client helps him try to repair his relationship with his estranged daughter. [Trailer]
2014, 165 mins, Drama
Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Mackie.
Directed by Paul Bettany
Hannah and Tahir fall in love while homeless on the streets of New York. Shelter explores how they got there, and as we learn about their pasts, we realize they need each other to build a future. [Trailer]
2009, 117 mins, Drama, Biography, Music
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Catherine Keener, Robert Downey Jr.
Directed by Joe Wright
A newspaper journalist discovers a homeless musical genius and tries to improve his situation. [Trailer]
Pursuit of Happiness
2006, 117 mins, Drama, Biography
Cast: Will Smith, Jade Smith, Thandie Newton.
Directed by Gabriele Muccino
A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional career. [Trailer]
The Fisher King
1991, 137 mins, Drama, Comedy, Fantasy
Cast: Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, David Hyde Pierce.
Directed by Terry Gilliam
A former radio DJ, suicidally despondent because of a terrible mistake he made, finds redemption in helping a deranged homeless man who was an unwitting victim of that mistake. [Trailer]
Podcasts & Videos
From KNKX Public Radio
Homelessness on the West Coast is rising to crisis levels at a time of historic economic growth and prosperity. Why? KNKX Public Radio and The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless spent one year in a city that’s grappling with homelessness. What’s it like to live outside for months on end? What’s it like when tents come to your neighborhood? What new solutions can city leaders find? This is Outsiders. [Listen]
From KJZZ Public Radio
Statistically, most people are closer to being homeless than they are to being millionaires. The longer someone is on the streets, the harder it is to escape — there are too many barriers. There are dozens of nonprofits that provide services to the homeless, but they’re a bandage on a gunshot wound. In order to truly solve homelessness, people need to work to remove the institutional barriers that keep people homeless. [Listen]
Homeless during a pandemic: Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s coronavirus podcast
An episode in Coronavirus – Fact Vs. Fiction with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, 4/2/2020
How do you stay at home if you are homeless? CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at how cities across the US are handling the homeless crisis during coronavirus and why everyone’s health matters. [Listen]
The New Thinking on How We Can Solve Homelessness
Hosted by Tim Fernholz in Actuality, 20 mins, 10/16/2015
This week, Actuality examines a New York idealist’s battle to win homeless people the right to shelter in the 1970s—and why modern reformers have more ambitious plans to help those left behind when the rent is too high. [Listen]
Counting the Homeless
Planet Money Episode #913, 5/17/2019
New York City is legally obligated to find a bed for every person who needs one, every night of the year. So, when homeless shelters fill up, the city turns to the next best thing: Hotels. The city spends millions renting out entire blocks of hotel rooms. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Research suggests that the most cost-effective way to address homelessness may not be investing in temporary shelters or hotels, but providing rental assistance.
Today on the show, we trace three efforts to address homelessness in America. Including one of the most obvious yet thorniest challenges to getting people off the street: Counting the homeless. [Listen]
Housing Storylines to Watch in 2020
61 mins, Gimme Shelter, CalMatters, 12/16/2019
For the first time since they began polling on this type of stuff, Californians have identified homelessness and housing as the most important issue confronting the state, topping perennial concerns like crime and the environment.
On this episode of “Gimme Shelter”, CalMatters’ Matt Levin and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon preview what housing storylines Newsom may or may not be involved with in 2020, and interview Metcalf on the lessons he learned working on the state’s most vexing issue. [Listen]
A podcast focusing on the issue of homelessness from the perspective of those who live it. Listen without judgment. [Listen]
Searching for Hope: Homeless in Sacramento
PBS KVIE, 26:46 mins, 11/25/19
Discover the poignant stories of some of those living on Sacramento’s streets, and investigate how city, county, and state governments are working to address the homelessness crisis. [Watch]
Building Humane Cities
From TED Radio Hour
Cities are symbols of hope and opportunity. But today, overcrowding and gentrification are hurting their most vulnerable residents. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can build more humane cities. [Listen]
- Liz Ogbu: Can We Gentrify Neighborhoods While Allowing Longtime Residents To Stay?
- OluTimehin Adegbeye: How Can Cities Make Space for Their Most Vulnerable Residents?
- Vishaan Chakrabarti: How Can We Design More Welcoming Cities?
- Richard Berry: How Can Cities Create Opportunities for The Homeless?
Drew Philip: How Can ‘Radical Neighborliness’ Help Struggling Communities?
The Housing First Approaching to Homelessness
Lloyd Pendleton, TEDMED 2016
What do you think would happen if you invited an individual with mental health issues who had been homeless for many years to move directly from the street into housing? Lloyd Pendleton shares how he went from skeptic to believer in the Housing First approach to homelessness — providing the displaced with short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions — and how it led to a 91 percent reduction in chronic homelessness over a ten-year period in Utah. [Watch]
How the Arts Help Homeless Youth Heal and Build
Malika Whitley, TED Talks
Malika Whitley is the founder of ChopArt, an organization for homeless teens focused on mentorship, dignity and opportunity through the arts. In this moving, personal talk, she shares her story of homelessness and finding her voice through arts — and her mission to provide a creative outlet for others who have been pushed to the margins of society. [Watch]
The Issue of Homelessness
TED Talks – A basic primer on some of the hows and whys, solutions, and struggles surrounding the conversation on homelessness. [Watch]
- A practical way to help the homeless find work and safety – Richard J. Berry
- Who belongs in a city? – Olutimehin Adegbeye
- The year I was homeless – Becky Blanton
- A glimpse of life on the road – Kitra Cahana
Webinar: Future Planning for the Homelessness Response System: Lessons Learned from Birmingham, Detroit, and New Orleans
Presented by United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, recorded on July 27, 2020. Watch and download webinar slides here.
Forward Together: A Virtual Symposium
Presented by HHRN, (Homeless and Housing Resource Network), the training and technical assistance center for SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) on June 18, 2020.
This symposium engaged thousands of professionals from 60+ states, territories, and jurisdictions in 14 countries in a full day of learning featuring approximately two dozen national experts, policy makers, and providers. Recording of the symposium is now accessible on demand by creating a FREE account and registering. [Read]
Future Planning for the Homelessness Response System:
Lessons Learned from Seattle/King County, Los Angeles, and Houston
Presented by United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, recorded on June 17, 2020. Watch and download webinar slides here.
PopHLC Webinar Series Recordings
System Thinking + Strategy Management = Sustainable Solutions
Complex issues like housing insecurity, chronic diseases, addiction or ACEs are not solved with simple solutions. These “wicked problems” involve such a mix of contributing factors that a strategy to address them needs to address many things in parallel over an extended period of time.
This webinar shares some of the powerful techniques of system thinking and strategy management that can help multi-sector coalitions be more effective in addressing these issues. Many established practices have focused on selecting, implementing and evaluating isolated interventions. A different set of technique and tools are better suited for developing and managing large collective impact efforts that require many mutually reinforcing activities over an extended period of time to achieve meaningful success. Register to view the recording here.
Supporting Families Experiencing Homelessness Webinar Series
Presented by Head Start | Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, May 15, 2020
Homelessness is a circumstance families may experience as a result of extreme poverty and lack of affordable housing. It can also occur when a current living situation becomes unsafe or unstable. Homelessness is also a state of vulnerability for children, youth, and families. It exposes families to physical, mental, and developmental risks. This three-part webinar series features exemplary practices from Head Start and Early Head Start programs and collaboration directors. [Watch]
- Prioritizing Families Experiencing Homelessness for Enrollment: Performance Standards and Related Strategies
- Establishing and Sustaining Community Partnerships for Outreach and Continuity
- Conversations with Families About Living Experiences and Housing Goals
Economical Breakthrough Strategies to Increase Affordable Housing in Your Community – April 2020
This webinar introduces how communities can take a strategic mix of abundant and multiplying “ingredients” and create an economical and practical “recipe” to increase access to affordable housing and help address the homelessness crisis. Register to view the recording here.
What Really Works in Homelessness Prevention: Lessons from Literature and the Field
Presented by Center for Evidence-based Solutions to Homelessness, February 11, 2019
Homelessness in America has decreased but there is still work to be done. What’s the evidence on what works to prevent people from becoming homeless? What have we learned from the field?
Abt Associates’ Center for Evidence-based Solutions to Homelessness held a webinar that married evidence and real-world insight. Marybeth Shinn, the primary author of a new literature synthesis on homelessness prevention, reviewed what we have learned from the research. Practitioners from three communities discussed their experience planning or implementing prevention activities, and how the evidence aligned with their work on the ground. [Summary] [Watch]
Understanding and Responding to the Condition of Poverty – February 2020
Presenter Marcella Wilson, Phd, brings a new paradigm of understanding and response, treating poverty as an environmentally based condition and not a character flaw. In her book, “Diagnosis Poverty”, she describes Transition To Success (TTS), which was recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative. TTS promotes the first evidence based standards of care and analytics to directly treat the condition of poverty. By assessing and responding to social determinants of health and holding the existing and funded delivery system accountable, the complex network to support at-risk consumers is harnessed. TTS is a client-centered, community-based, measurable system of care with statistically significant outcomes in 5 independent evaluations. Register to view the recording here.
Introducing the Comprehensive Strategy Map for Minimizing ACES – November 2019
This webinar introduces a new, comprehensive strategy map template that focuses on minimizing and addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences and expanding both the positive experiences that help offset the negatives of toxic stress and the adoption of trauma-informed (and trauma-responsive) practices. It presents a detailed tour of the new ACEs and Resilience Strategy Map template that will help states and coalitions more effectively develop and implemented they type of robust strategy that can help enhance the well-being of all people. Participants will also learn how they can be part of a collaborative effort to refine and enhance this strategy map in the first six months of 2020. Register to view the recording here.
Understanding and Serving People Experiencing Homelessness
A Trauma-Informed Approach to Library Service
Two-Part Webinar Series presented by the Public Library Association, June 2015
In January of 2014, there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States. Homelessness among children and families has risen to an historic high. Adults, youth, and families experiencing homelessness face a wide range of challenges including lack of affordable housing, employment opportunities, healthcare, social connections, and other needed services, as well as high rates of exposure to traumatic stressors that impact health and well-being. As homelessness increases, so does the significant intersection between homelessness and library service. This two-part series addresses the prevalence, causes, and impact of homelessness and related trauma on children and adults, while exploring ways to address homelessness in public libraries. [Watch]
Systems Thinking for Social Change
By David Peter Stroh, Chelsea Green Publishing 2015
Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation.
How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results. [Read more]
Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America
By Conor Dougherty, Penquin Audio publisher 2020
New York Times journalist Conor Dougherty chronicles America’s housing crisis from its West Coast epicenter, peeling back the decades of history and economic forces that brought us here and taking listeners inside the activist uprisings that have risen in tandem with housing costs.
Sweeping in scope and intimate in detail, Golden Gates captures a vast political realignment during a moment of rapid technological and social change. [Read more]
The System: who Rigged It, How We Fix It
by Robert B. Reich, 2020
Millions of Americans have lost confidence in our political and economic system. After years of stagnant wages, volatile job markets, and an unwillingness by those in power to deal with profound threats such as climate change, there is a mounting sense that the system is fixed, serving only those select few with enough money to secure a controlling stake… Reich’s objective is not to foster cynicism, but rather to demystify the system so that we might instill fundamental change and demand that democracy works for the majority once again. [Read more]