Homeless Awareness Month | Film & Documentary List
“Under the Bridge: the Criminalization of Homelessness” 2017
By the production team A Bigger Vision, Under The Bridge: Criminalization of
Homelessness is a documentary film about one summer in Indianapolis, a tent
city under a bridge, and the criminalization of homelessness in the United
“Storied Streets” 2015
Storied Streets explores homelessness across America by telling the stories of
those who live it every day.
“Have You Seen Clem: A True Story… Sorta” 2005
Jaymo, an aspiring filmmaker, suddenly finds himself homeless and living out
of his car. Desperate to find a way out, he begins shooting a documentary
about the overlooked homeless people in this sharply divided society. When he
stumbles across a mysterious bum named Clem, Jaymo realizes that every
homeless person has a cart full of secrets and a unique story of personal
collapse to tell. Together they embark on a cross-country road trip meeting a
cross section of forgotten homeless people that struggle to live on and find
contentment on the streets of America.
“Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story,” 2006.
At 15, Liz Murray finds herself living on the streets after her mentally ill, drug
addicted parents falter in their attempts to keep their family together. Instead
of crumpling, the troubled teen clings to hope and determination, and works
her way up out of homelessness all the way to Harvard University. This
three time Emmy nominated film is based on an incredible true story.
“Pursuit of Happyness,” 2006.
This film is a good tour-de-force showcase for Will Smith, who convincingly
portrays a down-and-out dad trying to better his family’s life. A chain of
circumstances left Gardner jobless and homeless at age 30, and he found
himself and his son living a bathroom at a San Francisco train station.
Despite the negative situation, Gardner continued to fight toward his goal of
becoming a broker and would eventually become a self-made millionaire.
“The Soloist,” 2009.
In 2005, LA Times columnist Steve discovers Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill,
homeless street musician who possess extraordinary talent, even through
his half broken instruments. Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed
series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help both him and
the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. However, Lopez’s good
intentions run headlong in the hard realities of the strength of Ayers’
personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless.
“The Blind Side,” 2009
Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a
homeless teenage African American male, Michael “Big Mike” Oher. Michael
has no idea who his father is and his mother is a drug addict. Michael has
had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon
takes charge ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to
succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help
him. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help
him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA
Division I athletic scholarship.
Owned unearths the complicated, painful, often disturbing history of housing
policy in America, shifting perceptions about what the idea of home means.
These are great tools for educating yourself and the public about homelessness! The National
Coalition for the Homeless has produced informative videos available on YouTube:
“Faces of Homelessness” video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD6f2anyof-