I just watched Lead Me Home on Netflix, a 40-minute documentary on homelessness in three major West Coast cities. The short video documentary has a visual quality of a Hollywood movie, which makes it unique, but it is desperately (or is that thankfully?) short on time, plot, and details. Somehow it manages to be almost great and yet almost lousy all at once. (I cried.)
But I looked it up on IMBd where it is said the project “aims to spark a national conversation.”
I’m conflicted about that too, really. A conversation? Like a book on my mom and dad’s coffee table in their living room – conversation? Is that what we need?
But then on the other hand, if you are conversing, then you aren’t ignoring, and that surely has got to be a step in the right direction. No?
Well, let me presume it is and do my little part to help set off the spark.
I have visited all three West Coast cities over the years, LA and Seattle both several times. But it has been many years since I visited too, and though I went down to the original Skid Row in Seattle to share the love of Jesus with the bums there, I must say, the video is eye opening. The ranks of homeless in these cities has swollen tremendously since I last visited; I was shocked.
I don’t know why they call those “squatters’ camps” since to my eye those are shantytowns woven right into the fabric of the city. I’ve become accustomed to small town and rural life since living in Phoenix and Denver. We have a homeless population here in Lubbock too, but nothing on that scale. And it appears, based on the documentary, and information I have through the years, that the explosion of this problem has grown exponentially in recent years.
Homelessness has been there a long time, but these levels are recent. And they are heartbreaking.