I began this documentary in San Diego in 1996
As a photojournalist living in San Diego in the 90's I was mystified by the number of homeless people living on downtown street corners, in alleys, in parks and any place where shelter from the elements could be found. I wanted answers but I was looking in from the outside. That approach failed. So I kept my day job, left my apartment and lived on the streets for six months. I was using 35mm camera to document what I saw.
Sometimes I camped out in Balboa Park at night. or I would drive to Mission Bay Park and sleep in my car. When it got cold I stayed in a shelter the city set up in the Balboa Park gym. I had befriended Cricket and others. Ultimately we set up camp in Balboa Park at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, which was closed and under construction.
I was able to better understand why people were homeless. However, I was frustrated over the lack of solutions and the city official's negligence. I moved back indoors and became an activist for homelessness. Ultimately I walked away from the movement. It hurt too much to continue in an environment that was not going to change.
Ultimately I relocated to Tucson. In 2015 an Iraq war veteran challenged the status quo and I became interested again in homelessness. I spoke with him and I realized he had real solutions in mind.
He has a dream and now and is dedicating to realizing those solutions. So once again I hit the streets, but this time with a video camera. I am so pleased to see a solution happening in Tucson Arizona.
The people living on
the streets of Tucson
The first part of this film shows the best and worse of humanity- Being homeless. living outdoors in the harshest and worse of situations.
Homeless people die on the streets. They get beat up, abused and are stigmatized because they are living outdoors. They are invisible and too often ignored by the general public, until people feel threatened by their appearance or demeanor. The police make it worse for the individual lying on the sidewalk or sleeping in the park.The same situation exists all across America.
The homeless only become a problem when they are no longer invisible, or when they ask to be treated like everyone else. Or they make demands already afforded to the general population.
Although sometimes their accounts are often horrific and disturbing, there is also a sweetness and gentle spirit evident in them.
The Tiny House concept spreads across the U.S.
The solution to homelessness has always been out there. Its simple and easy, but has taken too long to be recognized: A safe and secure place to live, shelter from the weather, bathroom facilities, resources that provide dignity.
A growing number of towns and cities have found a practical solution to homelessness through the construction of Tiny House villages. The process is ongoing but taking hold slowly. It is proven to work yet Tucson still has not set one up yet, although it has been under discussion for many years.
No more words watch the documentary.
What Can You Do?
"We can't let what we can't do stop us from doing what we can."
The solution to homelessness or other social problems is us.
Try going to where they live. Try hanging out. Try talking to them. Do not pretend they are invisible when you see them on the street. Show them respect and kindness.
If you are searching for data here are national organizations here are some links.
This link will take you to sites that provide food in Tucson.
Places to shower
Additional help for veterans.