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The Truth About Homelessness in America | Documentary Idea

by Carol
(Michigan)

I advocate for the homeless after previously being homeless. I want to tell the story about what has happened in the last 80-90 years to the homeless.

How originally in the 1920's and 30's shelters were created to help men traveling from town to town in search of work during the depression, and this is how the local cities kept people "off the street".

How there are real solutions to end homelessness, such as the Keys to ending homelessness program video available from the Gates Foundation (type that into youtube, it will blow your mind), and how faith-based organizations help and hurt the homeless, by perpetuating the use of shelters to solve the problem which separates husbands and wives and sons from their mothers.

It's an important story that needs to be told. We can end homelessness. The most upsetting thing to me is we recently finished a 10 year "plan to end homelessness" in the United States and we have made only some progress along the way. Not because we don't know how, but because we're not doing it.

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Aug 29, 2014
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plans for this documentary idea
by: Desktop Documentaries

Hi Carol, Thanks for sharing your idea and for your concern about this very important issue.

Is this a documentary idea that you are interested in making or are you hoping someone else will make this documentary?

Aug 29, 2014
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need help
by: Carol

Thank you, I posted the idea because I am in search of a videographer willing to embrace the idea. I am looking for someone who can help me tell this story. I have no funding, I have no equipment just an intimate knowledge of what is going on. When people think of homeless, they think of vagrant, drug addict homeless. I have my Bachelor's degree, I have a job history of working in marketing and advertising, but it was illness, that caused my family to tumble into homelessness. We are all one crisis away from homelessness. It did not stop us from achieving. I know have two sons in college, one is a brilliant physics and math major, the other an economics and communications major. I have another son in high school who is just as smart and full of character. I continue to rebuild my career (it's agonizing) trying to find what God has in mind for me to do.

I see decisions getting made at the local level and state level that upset me so much. I sat in a housing coalition meeting last month and they explained they were "cleaning up the list" and anyone who was homeless who had not "re-registered" with the appropriate agency before October 1, was going to be dropped off the list. I asked them how they planned to contact everyone on the list. They said, "We mailed them a letter." Imagine how insane that sounded? They mailed a letter to a homeless person. I spoke up and said "that is the most outrageous thing I have ever heard." At that time, they had only re-registered 50 of 262 people in my county. Everyone else on the list will fall off and have to start over to attain permanent fixed housing.

The Obama administration has plans to cut social service spending by 50%. We actually had more money to work with under the Bush administration. I am not a neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I am an independent who is about the people. This story needs to be told. If you know of people who can help me tell it, I would love the assistance.

Aug 29, 2014
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how to find filmmakers
by: Desktop Documentaries

Carol, we feel your frustration and can see how a documentary could be a powerful tool in the fight to end homelessness.

One of the best things you can do to find filmmakers is to reach out in your local area. Go after the "low hanging fruit". We created a resource page with a long list of ideas on how to find filmmakers. Let us know if this helps!

How To Find Filmmakers For Your Documentary

Also, a big way to get the attention of PROFESSIONAL filmmakers is if you have funding. So if you can raise some money, even some seed money perhaps $2000 - $3000 to get a fundraising trailer made, that will make a huge difference in moving your project forward. A crowdfunding campaign is a great way to raise money for a documentary.

Here are some tips on documentary fundraising.

Good luck Carol! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Aug 29, 2014
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response to questions
by: Carol

Thank you for your question. I am hoping to find someone who I can collaborate with who will include me in the process. For example, I can tell them who to interview, help them with the history, help them to understand the mindset, etc. It's important to note that my only agenda is to see awareness raised. I am not politically motivated, nor do I want the person I am working with to have their own political agenda.

To answer the question: Do I want to be in front of camera--no.

I heard someone else ask a question about seed money, funding. What do you all recommend? A Kickstarter type of campaign?

Aug 29, 2014
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where to start
by: Desktop Documentaries

Of course they will include you in the process because you are going to hire them! Having some funding gives you TONS of power to get this film made (and on your terms).

Here's what you need to do. Gather like-minded friends on this issue and create a fundraising team. Start building your email list and create a Facebook Group on this issue. Start building your network of people who care about this issue as much as you do. Once you have a solid base of support, say 500-1000 people, launch your fundraising campaign through something like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Once you have some funding, you'll have much more power to hire the filmmaker you feel will best represent the cause.

If you want to find a filmmaker who will work on this for FREE, try the local schools or maybe someone through Craigslist who might be looking for experience. Remember, they are learning just like you are, so make sure to properly set your expectations.

Aug 29, 2014
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response
by: Carol

Okay, I will look into a Kickstarter campaign for this. I really need a very very good filmmaker. I went searching for Morgan Spurlock's contact info. (Not very accessible....) lol...Thank you!

Aug 30, 2014
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Good Luck Carol!
by: Kevin J Railsback

Hey Carol,

What a great thing to be passionate about.

A friend of mine moved to LA and was homeless for quite some time until he got into a program that got him on the right track.

Now he's in a place of his own, holding down a steady job, found the woman of his dreams and is loving life again!

I volunteer at the local humane society and didn't realize that originally the humane society helped animals and indigent people as well.
It wasn't until the 1950's I think where they just focused on animals. Interesting story.

I'm pretty confident there's a filmmaker near you that would be interested in being a part of this project. Making the connections is always the difficult part.

Do keep us posted!!

Aug 30, 2014
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Response
by: Carol

It was very insightful of you to say that. One of the first things Pope Francis said after he was elected was for people to pay more attention to humans that to the animals, because we spend a fortune on our pets and shelter rescues, almost overwhelmingly over effort to help people.

Second, I am so glad you brought up Los Angeles. It has one of the largest homeless populations. Check out the numbers.

http://www.laalmanac.com/social/so14.htm

Yes, that's about 25,000 people, enough to fill my entire small town and the two towns nearby. It's a crisis. My parents who are active in social justice issues take an annual trip to California, one year, they went to visit the missions there. They spent the day helping out. There is a lot of great work being done out there.

I don't want to tell my personal story here. This isn't just about where I live, it's about everywhere, so I am glad you brought up other locations.

I took a look at Kickstarter. You want to know what is stopping me there? Having to divulge my personal information and put my name on it. I still carry shame from being homeless once. It's so painful even years later.

Sep 03, 2014
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Experienced please advise
by: Carol

So, I may have a lead on a college student who may be willing to prepare a trailer video for me for a Kickstarter campaign. Is this a good idea or not? Please advise. I figure a trailer will get more traction.

Sep 08, 2014
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setting expectations
by: Desktop Documentaries

Sure why not. Sounds like a great opportunity for both of you. The only advice I would give is to find a trailer on KickStarter that you like and show that to the filmmaker as an example of what you're hoping for. That will help set expectations and give you both a starting point of discussion. Good luck!

Sep 08, 2014
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Thanks for the advice!
by: Carol

I will definitely look into that. Interviewing my first candidate tomorrow. Hopefully, I will have a good fit quickly.

Sep 29, 2014
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I am a videographer who is interested!
by: Anonymous

Carol I am a videographer who would be more than willing to do such a thing but can you go Into more detail on how the mechanics of this idea work.

Sep 29, 2014
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Response to Videographer
by: Carol

I am working with someone right now, but there is room for more ideas and collaboration, so I will gladly accept for more to the table. James and I are trying to assemble a thought line and a storyboard. It's slow going! Once we have a clear concept of how we'd like to proceed, it will be a lot easier to speak to this.

Excited to have more interest and encouragement on this project. NO ONE wants to hear about one more social problem so we somehow have to make it interesting, somewhat entertaining and have an urgent appeal for action---THAT IS OUR CHALLENGE.


Oct 08, 2014
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to Videographer
by: Carol

To the videographer who volunteered on the last post, can you please contact me? 616-607-6750.

Sep 01, 2015
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Are you still looking for help?
by: Jason Checketts

I am a college student in Utah looking for a documentary idea. Interestingly enough, I was highly considering doing a project on homelessness. I realize you started this idea almost a year ago, but I would be interested in helping create a project that we could both be proud of! Let me know if you are still interested Carol.

Feb 21, 2016
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Filmographer interested in telling your story
by: Ana Silva

Hi Carol,

I would really like to talk to you about your life journey, if you're still around with this idea, please let me know by replying to this post - I'll contact you asap.

I've been looking for someone who went trough the same as you for a documentary I'm doing on the next few months.

Thanks
Ana

Feb 21, 2016
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reply
by: Carol

Anna, feel free to get in contact with me.

Carol

Sep 16, 2016
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I am a filmmaker
by: Rob Carter

Just wanted to check to see if you got the Documentary done.

Sep 17, 2016
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Homelessnes
by: Marshall Gass

Hi Carol,
I'd like to know how far you have progressed or completed your documentary.
I know a few people who are interested in this type of documentary and have the resources to move forward.The same idea was floated to me two months ago.
If interested to push further get in touch with me and lets see if we can take this forward to production.
I am a filmmaker who is soon to produce a feature. So you need to get in fast.
Marshall

Sep 19, 2016
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Reply
by: Carol

No, I never moved forward because no one ever stepped up to partner with me! I am still open to this getting this going. If someone is interested let's keep talking. Please contact me. I think my phone number is up in the thread. If not, ask me for it.

Oct 22, 2016
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Homelessness in the UK
by: Anonymous

Hi Carol, I would love to work on your project but am in the UK and am going to tackle the same subject, after my first one about the nursing system. This is because of personal experiences I have had with homelessness and nursing. I have a BA in creative media. I am a Psychiatric nurse as well, and have been so busy working twelve hour shifts that I have made slower progress on the documentary front. My next step is to cook up some funding. I am going to give up nursing altogether but it's useful at the moment! Incidentally, I don't know what it's like there for nurses, but I've been told it's well-paid. There is a current crisis in our nursing system though which I will uncover in my documentary. This will be my first go at it, though we made documentaries in university. The thing is, the world needs you to tell this story, so gather your courage and put one foot in front of the other. You'll get help along the way. Just make a start.

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