Documentary-Homelessness in America

$400 of $6,500 goal

Raised by 12 people in 8 days

Homelessness in America is an epidemic with no solution in sight. In fact, the issue is only growing—as seen recently in my home city of Minneapolis with the rise of its largest-ever tent city.

34216458_1541365182197389_r.jpeg-Minneapolis Tent City, also known as "The Wall"

What's going on?

While experts offer some theories, rarely is there a comprehensive overview of this issue.  So, I'm creating a documentary film offering just that.

With the story of the Minneapolis Tent City as its focus, this film will share the history, data, and stories around the issue of homelessness in America. This includes: the stories as told by the homeless themselves, the experiences and insights from those working with them, and various perspectives from the community.

34216458_1541370344628716_r.jpeg-Some of the subjects I've interviewed

This project seeks to make sense of this issue, to uncover the causes and solutions while steering clear of the political sways so often affecting journalism today. 

Would you contribute to help make this happen? 

Much of the filming and research is complete. Here's what's next:

1. Hire help to edit the footage and design the graphical elements of the film
2. Conduct surveys at the Tent City to learn more about the causes of these residents' situations
3. Travel to Houston (Here's why: The Houston metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the country. It's almost twice the size of Seattle (#15) as well as the Twin Cities (#16). And yet, the Twin Cities has more homeless people than Houston, while Seattle has almost TRIPLE what Houston has. What is Houston doing different? To what degree does policy affect homelessness? My visit to Houston will help me find out.)
4. My time to work on, and oversee, all the aspects of this film. 

34216458_1541370393785754_r.jpeg-Me at my home office

My Goal: 

Besides the trip to Houston and some follow-up interviews, I'm looking to have filming finished within a week or two. Then, for the remainder of November, December, and January, I'll be working with my editing team. And by the end of January (or February), I hope to premiere this film in Minneapolis—an event contributors will be given a ticket to. (For contributors unable to attend, I will release the documentary to you on my YouTube channel shortly thereafter.)  

Speaking of social media, see many more of my updates and photos from this project by going to my Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter.


By sharing the stories and lives of those caught up in this rising problem, and by offering clear analysis of this issue, my hope is this project illuminates the best way forward for addressing homelessness in America. 

Thank you for your time, consideration, and contribution. 


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Snow has fallen.

Thursday, I returned to the Tent City in Minneapolis and found a community moving a bit slower.

Yet they are tough. And through the warmth of their community (and some fire-pits) they stay warm.

I interviewed one woman named Tracey (picture #2), who shared her story:

"I went to treatment in 2010. I was sober for five years. I was assaulted really bad [in my apartment]. My grandkids were present when it happened. He (the perpetrator) went to jail for six years. It took them three years to move me to a new apartment. I didn't feel safe in the building. So I just left."

This is how she came to live here. She said she preferred a tent to staying in a shelter. At least here she gets some privacy, she said. But she added that this cold wave has her wanting to leave here as well.

"Where would you go?" I asked.

"I don't know," she answered.

Her story is one of many to be featured in my upcoming documentary, a documentary you're all helping to make possible.

Thanks, and stay tuned.

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In other news: I'll be featured on the TV show Common Ground PBS (in Minnesota) Thursday evening (11/8) at 7:00.

Or, just go here and enjoy: https://lptv.org/common-ground-1003-brandon-ferdig-ann-johnson/

In this show, I am interviewed about my travels and travel stories about cultures and societies.
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Raised by 12 people in 8 days
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