Storied Streets

Reframing The Way You See Homelessness

62 minutes 2014 7.5/10 based on 8 votes

This is a powerful documentary that outlines the battles of the men and women who currently are or were at some point homeless.  These days there are so many people living on the streets that they have become sort of invisible— like they’re a less than human part of the landscape or an eyesore.

The film begins in Los Angeles and ends in New York. It covers a total of thirteen U.S. cities. The painful and yet captivating stories of survival all over the country will change the way you feel about homelessness, as well as shatter the stereotypes most of us have about what the homeless population really looks like.

It’s a myth that every homeless person is either unemployed or on drugs. We tend to believe that they’re all bums sitting outside the liquor store, begging for money so they can go and get drunk. The fact is that a large majority of homeless people look like everybody else and they are everywhere, not just hanging around dark alleys or sleeping on park benches. Those we can see and identify are the ones who got tired of hiding their condition, but there are many hundreds that simply keep pretending to be ok, because the truth is too embarrassing.

A growing number of those who are homeless once served in the military, and can no longer afford to pay rent with their meager earnings. We’re talking about the persons who risked their lives to protect the interests of the same government may now have forgotten them.

Most homeless people can share heart-breaking stories of being physically abused while they slept on the streets. The abusers are mostly young men between the ages of 13 and 25 who come from middle to upper middle class families. The homeless are called bums and have been peed on, beaten with bats, spray painted, kicked, burned, and basically tortured in a dozen different painful ways. One woman tells how about 100 homeless men and women were driven off a plot of land so that an animal shelter could be built. Isn’t that ironic? The more they are dehumanized, the easier it becomes to turn a blind eye to their suffering.

Being constantly judged for your condition and being rejected, insulted, and maligned can eventually affect your mental health and your sense of self. This opens the door for a myriad of mental problems.

Listen to the tragic stories of people who ended up with no place to go. What can communities do to help them? Find out more now.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Doom Cannon

    YOU….. don’t think of them as “human beings”…… cuz i NEVER think of them as anything OTHER than fellow “people” down on their luck or taken one to many wrong turns. PERIOD

  • Fergus Elliott

    I live in Toronto Canada…..we have MANY people sleeping ON THE STREET in our downtown
    Yes daytime too. This documentary has made me realize , I also have come to see them as invisible. Im feeling bad about that ,,,in this moment.
    With so many newspaper articles written in last 10 years of “professional scammers” posing as homeless , or homeless & disabled especially …I have grown to not trust the homeless person in front of me …is actually a homeless person.
    But this is no excuse for me to ignore , & not stop to offer help…at least food …to the homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk. This person is CLEARLY homeless.
    The videos here of young people urinating & abusing the homeless was very disturbing to me.
    I may have fell into “compassion fatigue” …. but I do not see these homeless people as less than myself….They generally cause me to feel very grateful for my life of regular food & shelter.
    I have fed many homeless years ago…even taken one who fell & broke his arm… to a Hospital …when others were just stepping over him.
    It was the stories of the scammers which caused me to shut down.
    But that man or woman sleeping on a busy Toronto downtown sidewalk ….theres no excuse for me to not feel enough compassion to stop and offer a meal at the least.
    Im sad to admit it…but yes there are so many clearly homeless in Toronto , I have become one who sees them as almost invisible to me.
    I don’t understand how this could have happened to me.
    I’ve always seen myself as a kind person.
    Thank you to all who compiled this Documentary…including the homeless.
    You have caused a great shift in my heart tonight.
    I will never walk past a clearly homeless person on the street again…..
    without offering a meal.
    I thank you for this gift of a greater humanity…which I had lost.
    Fergus Elliott
    Toronto Canada
    Only a lack of compassion …would be the reason for me to do NOTHING.

  • Fergus Elliott

    I just wanted to state this evg… today ….I encountered my FIRST clearly homeless man since watching this Doc a few days ago (and commenting on it).
    I had an immediate feeling of compassion for him today.
    I haven’t felt this way in years. This Doc truly ! Changed me.!
    I initially gave him only a dollar…but I did ask him his name. It was Bob.
    I remembered one previously homeless man in the Doc stating that it had been so long since someone said his name to him…that he had to think before responding.
    “hey…that’s my name ” he stated.
    He also stated “you wouldn’t think not hearing your name would be something you would miss”
    So after I went back to my vehicle (50′ away)…I thought…..how can I be doing so little for him.
    It’s winter…its cold here in Canada in February. He cant have more than $4 in that cup.
    Then I admitted to myself how “near homeless” I was 4 years ago, after decades of making a great living. Then how working 7 days a week for last 3 years has actually brought back financial security into my life….& how fortunate I am. I’ve worked hard…but fortunate just the same.
    So I took from my pocket the $4000 cash I have…took out a $50 bill….and gave it to Bob.
    Told him it was nice to meet him….& left.
    You would think I would feel( or think I was) great for doing that…it was nothing like that.
    I drove away with a softness in my heart , I really hadn’t felt for so long.
    My mind was void of any thoughts…& I felt so peaceful…but no thoughts at all !
    Got a little teary eyed bout 5 mins later…felt like I found my heart again.
    Encountering & helping Bob…..made me feel ? That’s it …he caused me to feel more human.
    After a few years (2008-2011) of real grueling financial hardships….I think I became very self focused….focusing on my financial needs , my security etc….
    This Documentary educated me on the real truth of the majority of homeless people … it’s seldom one who is drug or alcohol dependent….but just a person who made bad choices or had terrible luck….
    This Doc( & my experience with “Bob” today) has caused me to feel great gratitude for the life I have today. I was so successful before my bad times…I actually had recently forgotten to appreciate the secure life I have recreated since those bad times.
    Like the saying goes: ( more or less)
    ” You feel bad you have no shoes …until you see the man who has no feet”
    Thank you Storied Streets…..Thank you Bob!
    I feel human, grateful….& so appreciative of this profound shift in my life…… today.
    I will continue to spread the message & knowledge this Doc has gifted me with.
    Others are likely to understand the plight of the homeless more so.
    If they simply take the time to watch…& absorb this Documentary.
    I’m a changed man.
    Thank you to all .

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