Press Release for US AND THEM
Homelessness Costs Canadians $7 Billion Annually (But it Doesn’t Have To!)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[24 August 2016 – CANADA-WIDE] Homelessness isn’t just a municipal issue; it is a national epidemic. Not only is the life expectancy of homeless people almost half that of non-homeless Canadians, our homelessness epidemic costs tax payers an estimated $7 billion every year (as shown in a report by the Look Out Society). Switching from reactionary measures to preventative measures and providing homes to those that need it would save billions. Even to those that believe in a bootstrap mentality, it is difficult to argue the numbers.
US & THEM, filmed by Krista Loughton and Jennifer Abbott (The Corporation), shatters misconceptions about why people end up on the streets, and reveals why the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" narrative is heavily flawed. As one such interviewee, Dawnella Gautherier, reveals, leaving the streets is not as simple as going to the neighbourhood shelter. In the late 2000s, Dawnlella found herself banned from multiple shelters because of violent night terrors that she was afflicted with, caused by the death of her son.
In order to explains the deep connection between emotional trauma and homelessness, US & THEM features insight from such experts as addictions specialist and author, Dr. Gabor Maté. As Dr. Maté explains, the environment that a baby is exposed to shapes the development of the brain. Those that "were traumatized and abused in their childhood simply [did not] have the right conditions for healthy brain development. ... Later on when [abuse survivors] come across substances which activate or sooth these circuits," such as a homeless person turning to an opiate for comfort, "they're prone to become addicted on first contact because finally they're getting what life should have given them in the first place."
Although filmed around downtown Victoria, US & THEM could take place in any Canadian city or town. Through her compassionate style of documentary filmmaking, Krista Loughton lends a familiarity to all that she interviews. Krista's subjects aren't "just homeless." They are not faceless apparitions wandering the streets. These people are the friends and family that we all know in our communities, who need our support.