The Least Of These
Welcome to the next installment in My Road Leads Home, our on-going documentary film project on homelessness in Spokane. In early December of 2020, we began filming and editing a new documentary, “The Least of These: Communities of Faith Serving the Homeless.” I’m happy to announce that it is now finished and available. This documentary is specifically aimed at Churches, and other communities of faith, as a challenge to discover what it means to obey the New Testament admonitions to serve those marginalized individuals (including those experiencing homelessness) that Jesus referred to as “the least of these” (see Matthew 25:31-46). Let me encourage you to share this documentary with your contacts. Encourage your pastor, your church, your family & friends, and your larger social circles to watch the film and to circulate it as widely as possible, and even host a showing of the film for your Church or organization. It’s time to network and to challenge our larger Community to create the solutions we have been hoping for from others. It’s time to change the conversation about homelessness and to build the Shalom of our Community.
Pop-Up Warming Centers
Have you ever wondered what a police sweep of a homeless camp looks like from the inside out? The first five minutes of this documentary will show you, while laying the groundwork for why we need more community-driven warming centers with low-barrier shelter beds. We filmed this documentary at Westminster Congregational Church in Spokane, Washington during the week of October 26 thru November 1, 2020 (7 days). It records the story of a “pop-up” ( or temporary) warming center that was opened by a local non-profit and a local church when early snow and bitterly cold weather threatened to ravage the local homeless community due to a lack of low-barrier bed space. This is the story of “who, why, and how.”
Everybody Has A Story
Everybody Has A Story is a project of My Road Leads Home dedicated to giving a voice to those experiencing homelessness by allowing them to tell their own story in their own words. It’s how we humanize homelessness and those experiencing it.
Meet Joseph Sampson. We Filmed this interview in January of 2021 at the City Church Warming Shelter in Spokane. As you will hear, at the time of this interview Joseph had been homeless for 10 years. The good news is that he now has a job and is making progress on bringing his ten-year homeless journey to a successful conclusion.
Meet Dennis Mooney. After retiring his small business due to health reasons, Dennis has been in and out of homelessness for several years. His most recent journey has lasted nearly a year. Filmed at the City Church Warming Shelter in January of 2021.
Meet Suki Goldman. Homeless for two years, Suki Goldman is an articulate example of someone who never expected to be homeless, and how has a good grasp of the reasons for her journey through homelessness. Suki was a guest at the City Church Spokane warming shelter in late 2020 and early 2021 where we interviewed her in January of 2021.
Meet Brandon Bridges. Brandon’s journey through homelessness began when he was 14 years old. Discover how a 14-year-old becomes homeless. Filmed at the City Church Warming Shelter in January of 2021.
Meet Kim Leland. Kim is the Director of Children’s Ministries at City Church Spokane. Although she has no personal experience of ever being homeless, Kim reflects on her experience with a homeless warming center hosted at City Church Spokane, and operated by Jewels Helping Hands, from December 1, 2020, until March 8, 2021. Her observations are very insightful.
Meet William Christopher Debois. We filmed this interview at the Westminster Warming Center in Spokane, Washington on Thursday, October 29, 2020. William’s story illustrates the consequences of 1) a broken foster care system that dumps kids into homelessness when they age out of the system at 18, and 2) our City’s lack of adequate planning for an “adult youth” shelter where adult youth like William can avoid life on the street and have the help they need to transition to a stable environment.
Meet Cynthia Sarvis. I met Cynthia at the Westminster Warming Center where I was filming our next documentary, “Pop-Up Warming Centers,” (above on this page) which will have its public Broadcast Premiere soon on Community-Minded Television (CMTV-14) in Spokane. Everybody Has A Story also means that every story is different. While Cynthia’s story is different from Brooke’s, it is no less compelling, just for different reasons. Every person experiencing homelessness has a story. This is Cynthia’s story. POSTSCRIPT: After Cynthia left the Warming Center on the day it closed, she sat across the street with her belongings (which is what you see at the end of her interview). After filming that clip, I walked across the street, knelt down, held her hand, and said, “I promise you that your story will make a difference.” Cynthia shared her story with me, and I’ve shared it with you. Whether or not it makes a difference is now up to you.
Meet Brooke Dombrowik. I first encountered Brooke at the Cannon Street Warming Center in early 2020. I lost track of Brooke when Cannon (under Jewels Helping Hands) closed. Our paths crossed again recently at the Westminster Warming Center where I filmed a soon-to-be-released documentary on the need for “pop-up” warming centers. On Friday, October 30th, I asked Brooke to consider sitting down with me for an on-camera interview. She agreed, and on Saturday the 31st we sat down together and she told me her story. Every phttps://youtu.be/73NmmP7s_0cerson experiencing homelessness has a story. This is Brooke’s story.
This is the broadcast version of a documentary short we first issued as a “rough cut” in preparation for a meeting of the Spokane Homeless Coalition to discuss how the City of Spokane deals with homeless camps (you can view the “rough cut” version in the right-hand sidebar on this page). The broadcast version has been slightly tweaked including some opening music and a few minor edits. We prepared this finalized cut for broadcast on Community-Minded Television (Comcast 14) in Spokane.
The Dignity of A Shower
Do you shower every day? What would life be like if you couldn’t. 52% of the known and counted homeless in Spokane, Washington have no access to a shelter, a bed, or a shower (or many other things you and I take for granted). This is their story.
Give Me Shelter
Welcome to Give Me Shelter: The Story of the Cannon Street Warming Center, our third full-length documentary in the My Road Leads Home series of documentaries on homelessness in Spokane, Washington. This documentary follows the operation of a low-barrier warming center that functioned from November 23, 2019, until April 30, 2020. Below you’ll see a trailer, along with the full-length documentary. Our special thanks to Mary Gauthier for her permission to use her amazing rendition of Mercy Me (you’re going to need some tissues for that one!). As you can see from the promotional flyer in the side menu, the full-length documentary recently premiered on Community-Minded Television (Comcast Channel 14). We want to encourage you to “watch and act.” Watch the film. Then act by getting a shareable link from YouTube and sharing it with all your friends and email contacts (and yes, you may even post it on your Facebook page!).
The Hidden Homeless
On Wednesday, March 4, we premiered The Hidden Homeless: Families Experiencing Homelessness at the Spokane International Film Festival (SpIFF). This represents our second installment in the My Road Leads Home series and looks at families experiencing homelessness in our community. We shine a light on the amazing work being done by ministries like Family Promise of Spokane and their Open Doors 24/7 Family Shelter, along with St. Margaret’s Family Shelter and the work of The Salvation Army. Both the shorter SpIFF version and the full-length Director’s Cut recently had their Broadcast Premiere on Community-Minded Television (Comcast Channel 14)!
The Spokane Homeless Connect
We filmed our first full-length documentary in January of 2019 and held a public premiere in May at the Spokane Public Library (See below). The Spokane Homeless Connect looks at an annual homeless services event that highlights how a community can come together to offer practical, meaningful help to those struggling with homelessness, or trying hard to avoid it. At My Road Leads Home, we don’t want to run around documenting “homeless train wrecks.” We want to document people and agencies who know how to build railroads, who know how to make a difference, and who can teach us how to make a difference, too.
Reactions To My Road Leads Home
I have to say, you knocked it out of the park! – Michelle C.
It shares firsthand stories in a dignified way, it shows the great work and diversity of services in the community and it highlights the realities of the struggle of homelessness that I don’t believe lay-people often consider. . . Well done! – Angela S.
An Amazing Success! The Premiere of My Road Leads Home: Episode 1 – The Spokane Homeless Connect took place on Thursday evening, May 30, in the 3rd-floor event venue of the Spokane Public Library in downtown Spokane. Following the Premiere, the full-length documentary also aired multiple times on Community-Minded Television (Comcast Channel 14). More than 100 people filled the event venue to view the full-length documentary, to hear from the Executive Produce, to meet the documentary team and the planning committee for the 2019 Spokane Homeless Connect and to hear about plans for future documentaries. Now, you can enjoy the festivities and discover what Britain’s Got Talent, Susan Boyle and homelessness have in common. Thanks for joining us for the evening!