People often ask why I decided to make this film. It all started about three years ago when I was having a coffee with a friend in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. We were sitting at an outdoor restaurant and were approached by someone asking for money. I brushed him off, but my friend took out his wallet, peeled off a $1 bill from a stack of singles and handed it to the man, wishing him a good day. On each of the dollar bills, my friend had written, “Feed the homeless and love them.”
That was a turning point for me and I then became involved with the organization Monday Night Mission. I started going downtown to Skid Row and I met Mel and the volunteers at Monday Night Mission. I began to see each of these people experiencing homelessness as individuals, with stories, not people I should try to avoid. And I thought, I want to make a movie about this. I want other people to start looking these folks in the eye.
The homeless situation in Los Angeles is dire. There are people living in tents in every neighborhood, under freeway off ramps. Angelenos are confronted with this misery daily. It’s not just on Skid Row, it’s everywhere, in every community and neighborhood. We even voted to tax ourselves for the city to fix the problem.
I’m hoping this film will give people a slightly new perspective since it follows the Advocates, the people trying to make a change and help relieve the problem, rather than the people experiencing homelessness. I hope that people will see that if we do nothing, the problem will only get worse. Each of us has the power and the ability to affect change. Each of us has the power of compassion. And as a community, we need to step up.
At the end of the day, if someone walks out of the movie and says hello to a homeless person on the street, looks them in the eye, treats them as an individual worthy of compassion and attention, then I will feel I have succeeded.