I don’t know you, but every time I see someone sleeping on the street I feel bad and I wish I could do something big about it. I do what I can at the moment and I try to not judge because I am sure I’d have to be in their shoes to understand.
It is actually good to see that often people help those living in a precarious situation, offering and sharing with them seemingly small things: a cup of tea, food, or a blanket. But the problem of homelessness in California and in the United States is so huge, that small acts of kindness alone are insufficient.
In the midst of having millions suffering homelessness, a life nobody wants to live, there is hope and good news, according to what is said on “The Way Home,” a documentary series launching on Friday, December 4th. It was directed by Shawn Dailey, Camille Servan-Schreiber and Don Hardy, and produced by KTF Films and Bread & Butter Films.
According to experts on finding a solution to homelessness, it is possible to provide homes for people who do not have a roof over their head and it is proven and it is obvious that having a home increases their chances to improve their life for some, and to simply live with dignity, for others.
But for Americans and the United States society to understand that the problem relies not exactly on personal responsibility but rather on social structures and governmental systems who have failed the people, it will take lots of education.
That is what “The Way Home,” intends to do: to educate Americans that being homeless is not about lacking character. The problem is rooted in years of inequality and discrimination; there also those who see the problem rooted in greed. Others tie the current homelessness emergency to a decision made by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
Whatever the roots, it is a state and nationwide emergency.
“t’s an emergency, everybody says this an emergency, but the response isn’t acting like an emergency,” says Nan Roman from the National Alliance to End Homelessness during an interview part of the documentary. Other experts also assert that currently, housing services get only a third of the funds of what it used to go to affordable housing.
While watching some parts of “The Way Home,” my eyes turned wide when I learned that a considerable number of people over 50 are experiencing homelessness for the first time. At some parts, I couldn’t stop a tear or more. Homelessness is happening to fellow humans, like you and me. Nobody deserves to be out in the streets. Nobody.
What is very nice about this documentary series is that, while showing you real, heart-wrenching situations, it also gives you a sense of hope, because there are things being done and there are programs that may give ideas to organizations and people who are ready to take action and provide substantial solutions.
But the people who will sleep tonight and this week in the streets of San Francisco where I am currently living, need a lot more to be done.
Watch “The Way Home,” on December 4th and after, on ITunes, Amazon and Google Play. Please tell me what you think, in the comment section.
-Lupita Franco Peimbert