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Videos: Homeless But Not Voiceless

Categories: Latin America, North America, Western Europe, Canada, Colombia, U.S.A., United Kingdom, Citizen Media, Governance, Human Rights, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Youth

In Colombia, Canada, the UK, and the US, we have different initiatives that aim to bring to the foreground the plight of those who are twice forgotten: the children, indigenous people, immigrants and the transgender community.

Colombian videographer José Alejandro González has been documenting and sharing [1] the lives of the homeless people of Colombia for years, and last year with The Insider Project [2]many of these video documentaries came together in a couple of longer films: The Truth [3] and The House [4].

[5]

Homele$$ [5] by Bob With [6] CCBy [7]

The Truth [3]follows several homeless in Bogota, Colombia, who speak about their lives, touching on political, social and economical aspects of homelessness. One of those interviewed is a 15 year old who tells of his estrangement from his family, his drug addiction, his forays into the most dangerous parts of towns to get drugs and his wish to be able to be “fine” and go home to spend Christmas with his family on the other side of the city:

The House [4] takes us inside the “home” of a homeless person: underneath a manhole cover and into an underground wiring station beneath the streets of downtown Bogota. There, Darío Acosta has his bed, books, radio, battery powered light and his imaginary dog.

Mark used to be homeless in the 1990s, living on Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles, addicted to drugs and selling pictures of his iguana to tourists. Today, he heads the Invisible People [8] project, where he goes around the US and Canada asking homeless to tell their stories and advocating for their rights.

On a visit to Canada, he noticed the connection between the First People and homelessness and he then tried not only to get their stories and show the unique situation faced by them while maintaining cultural sensitivity but also, hopefully, to change their situation [9]:

The following interview is with Dave Ward, director of aboriginal relations at Homeward Trust Edmonton. This is an important conversation. David talks about aboriginal culture and solutions to ending homelessness. Too me, I think the biggest is listening. We need to listen to their culture and include aboriginal people in the process of finding and implementing solutions.

One of the striking interviews is the one featuring Alma [10]. She's a homeless grandmother in Winnipeg who is putting herself through college in the hope that having an education will empower her and increase her chances of getting back her granddaughter from child protective services as she becomes able to give her a better life:

There are many other videos in the Invisible People YouTube channel, [11] and you can also follow Mark on Twitter as user @invisiblepeople [12].

In Bradford, England, Hope Housing [13]provides opportunities for homeless people who don't classify for benefits, most of them because they are immigrants who no longer have their documents, are unemployed and have to turn to squatting or living on the streets to survive.

In their video The Not So Promised Land [14], they focus on the problems faced by economic migrants, those who came from the Eastern European countries in search of work opportunities in the UK, only to find that it was going to be harder than they thought. Hope Housing gives them a hand so they don't need to stay on the streets and help so they can find what they went to the UK to seek: work.

Diamond Stylz [15] describes herself as a a proud transgendered woman of color from Indianapolis, Indiana but currently living in Houston, Texas. In her YouTube channel she discusses many topics regarding gender, race and sexuality.

In this video [16] she goes back to her experience in homelessness and how she discovered that as a non-HIV positive transgender woman she wouldn't be accepted in shelters for women, men or HIV positive trans people, so had she not had someone to give her a hand and get on her feet, the system would have basically turned its back on her.