Project HOME: A student-made documentary about homelessness

A Peacemaking Project by Yasha S.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Our project is trying to change the perception of homelessness in Newham, London. A shocking statistic reveals that 1 in 25 adults living in our community are homeless. This is unacceptable given that we are a borough that has recently been given huge sums of money invested into it. Where has all that money gone? We are a group of 30 young people who have come together to create Project Home. We are planning to make a documentary that will raise awareness and shine a light on the issue of homelessness and stimulate a change in our local community. We want to show the realities of life without a home and prove that there is no stereotypical homeless person. We want to empower people to talk about homelessness and we aim to provoke our local politicians to have an open mind to new ideas on how to tackle this issue. According to Shelter, homelessness is higher in Newham than it is anywhere else in the country. As stated by “Worldmeters” the current population in the UK is 66,525,462 - that means that if the rest of the country had the same proportion of homelessness, there would be over 2.5 million people without homes to call their own.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of Homelessness
we will address our local authority and the people living in our area
by making a documentary to raise awareness and stimulate a new discussion around this issue.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • Raise £4000 on our Kickstarter page
  • Host an event to showcase our project and start a serious conversation about this issue - inviting community members, parents, charity workers, businesses and local politicians
  • In 2018-19 we aim to make a feature-length documentary
  • In the next 3 months we will have: - held a demonstration outside Stratford station - raised £4000 funds (if we are not able to achieve this, then as close to this as possible) - created a short film (roughly 10 mins) which represents about 1/6 of the final documentary - Have identified a core team who will take this documentary project forward into the 2018-19 academic year. - Be in conversations with Stratford Picturehouse as our venue for a community screening.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Meeting with former homeless people to hear their story about their time on the streets. This will allow us to emotionally connect with the project because we would have had a personal testimony from them.

How will you show courage?

We will take risks and come out of our comfort zone. An example of this is that we’re planning to organise a demonstration outside Stratford station to educate the public about homelessness, which is something that most students have not done before.

How will you collaborate with others?

We have worked closely with Caritas Anchor House, a local sheltered housing facility, and Lola’s homeless, a local volunteer network.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

We will know that we’re moving in the right direction as we would have met our goal of £4000 and we would be able to buy the right equipment. By raising £4000, it would also show that we have generated a large amount of interest and concern in this issue and we would have a supporter-base for this project in the future.

Key Steps

  • Our first target would be to meet our funding goal
  • Once we meet our first target, a small group of students will take forward this documentary, taking part in interviews, running further community events, and travelling beyond Stratford to continue our investigation about homelessness.
  • We are aiming to hold a community screening in early 2019 of the full documentary.

Comments:

Kelsey T.
15 June 2018 13:57

Hi Yasha! We have conditionally approved your mini-grant application -- Congratulations! We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

We ask that Peace First Mini-Grants be spent within three months -- meaning that the element of the project connected to the application should wrap up within three months -- so that you can write your Reflection based on your learnings in that time period.

Since this is a longer term project that will not wrap until sometime in 2019, before we finalize your grant approval, we'd ask you to provide some additional information about your timeline and steps -- and specifically what you hope to accomplish in the next three months (for example: by the end of September, we will have: -held a demonstration outside Stratford station // - raised £xxx funds // - filmed X% of our footage -- etc -- these are just examples, so whatever the actual steps are for you!) Can you share those additional details through e-mail or in a reply to this comment ? And then also update the list of Steps in your project plan.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

Strengths:
I'm so impressed by your ambitious and strong project idea! I love that you are emphasizing learning more about root causes-- and spreading awareness about them-- as part of the process of creating this documentary, and that the awareness campaign begins NOW, not just once you've created the documentary. I love that you are approaching this work from multiple angles: creating the documentary, holding a community event, organizing a demonstration, etc. I think your project shows strength in courage, compassion, and collaboration, and it is wonderful that you are collaborating with former homeless people to hear their stories in order to dismantle stereotypes. The video clip you've shared is very compelling -- you're doing a wonderful job of telling the story of your work and why it is important, which will serve you very well as you continue to fundraise and build your supporter base.

Things to Consider:
Although you've already listed some smart ways to measure your progress, I'd encourage you to also think about how you can keep track of the impact your project creates in the community -- how can you get feedback from the community to get a sense of potential shifts in attitudes, etc.?

One bit of feedback for your Compassionate Insight -- while I know from the rest of your project that you are thinking about root causes (it sounds like you've identified a lack of awareness/understanding about the issue as one of those core causes), I'd encourage you to rephrase the second part of your Insight statement to better reflect this. Where it says "we will address" -- we are actually hoping you'll list the Root Cause you're trying to change there. This helps folks to understand your theory of change.

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!  

Akila S.
11 June 2018 10:42

Hi Yasha and Team!

Thank you so much for posting this project! I am excited by your commitment to changing the perception of homelessness within your community of Newham, and by your commitment to use the power of story to create dialogue around homelessness. You’re addressing a vital issue -- the stigma those who are homeless face, and the ways in which this stigma can add to existing hardships and further limit the visibility of the homeless in the public sphere.

One thing that can help deepen the already-important work you're doing is by researching both the structural and individual circumstances that cause homelessness to happen, and by talking to existing changemakers in your community who are working to stop homelessness. When you talk to all these groups, you'll gain a deeper understanding of why this is happening, and you'll get to learn from people who are directly affected by this to understand what their priorities and needs are. Understanding the root causes of homelessness will help you address it at the root. Here’s a toolkit we have for helping with this process: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-1-talking-others

We also encourage you to do some reading and learning on your own. There are lots of resources out there--here are a few that touch on these topics:

http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns_/why_we_campaign/tackling_homelessness/What_causes_homelessness
https://www.homeless.org.uk/facts-figures
https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/about-homelessness/
http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-homes-give-homeless-people-a-place-to-live-2016-1/
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/4-simple-ways-to-end-homelessness_us_58a45fe9e4b080bf74f04294
https://thinkprogress.org/it-would-actually-be-very-simple-to-end-homelessness-forever-d6f15852b2ec/
https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2017/mar/22/finland-solved-homelessness-eu-crisis-housing-first


Here are a few awesome organizations working on ending homelessness:

https://endhomelessness.org/ending-homelessness/solutions/
http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/ending-homelessness/proven-solutions/
https://insp.ngo/
https://www.crisis.org.uk/

There are so many more out there, too! Let me know if this is helpful, if you'd like more information or leads, and if there are any other ways we can support you. Thank you for your work on this important issue!


Best,
Akila
 

Amy T. Peace First Staff
27 June 2018 13:52

Hi Yasha,

I'm a member of the Peace First team. I'm excited to hear how the documentary has been going. It would be awesome if you could share some updates on how the process has been going (we're all excited here to see the final product)!

As always, please let us know if we can support you in any way. Keep up the extraordinary work! :)

Amy  

Adrian B. Peace First Staff
5 July 2018 13:33

Hi Yasha,

I hope you're doing well! I wanted to drop by our (new!) project platform and check in about how your project is going--how are you doing with your project? Let me know if you need any help!

I also wanted to let you know about a timeline we have for a UK-specific challenge that's coming up. We'd love to have you involved!

Completion of Understand Phase & Submit Compassionate Insights by 20th July
Submit Project Plan by 17th August
Submit Mini-Grant Application by 31st August
Submit Reflection by 31st October

Let me know if you'd like to know more about the challenge, and if there's anything we can do to help. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best,
Adrian