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Film of the Week An advocate for the homeless

MARIA DUARTE recommends an insightful and very moving documentary in which the homeless take centre stage

Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son (15)
Directed by Lorna Tucker

 

 
HOW do you resolve Britain’s homelessness and rough sleeping crisis? That is what writer-director Lorna Tucker outlines in her most personal and intimate film to date as she returns to her former haunts on the streets of London where she lived rough as a 15-year-old. The response from experts is: it isn’t rocket science. 

This documentary, narrated by Academy award-winner Colin Firth, who was also an executive producer, primarily humanises the homeless. Tucker speaks to current people living rough across the UK, as well as those who have come out the other side such as Earl, now an outreach worker.

Their stories are compelling and at times heart-breaking. What comes out loud and clear is the lack of support and help available to them, particularly in terms of assistance with mental health issues. What is surprising is how dangerous hostels are, especially for homeless women, though they are seen as part of the solution. 

“We are still human beings, we’re not invisible,” says one woman who has been living on the streets for five years after suffering domestic abuse and who would like to go into higher education and retrain. 

What strikes you about these people’s stories is how many of them suffered child abuse and trauma. 

Tucker also interviews Lord John Bird, the co-founder of The Big Issue, who discusses how and why he launched it and what needs to be done now. Also she interviews experts in the field who appear only at the very end of this frank and raw documentary as it is the homeless who take centre stage. 

The consensus is that homelessness can be resolved by the government investing in building more social housing, pushing for Housing First (which prioritises getting people quickly into stable homes) to be in every city and reinvesting in mental health.  

Hopefully this insightful and very moving film will spark a much-needed debate and spur the government into action to finally end homelessness and rough sleeping in Britain. It will certainly change the way we perceive those living on the streets. 

Out in cinemas February 16.

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