Founded by documentary filmmaker Daniel Cross of EyeSteelFilm (Taqwacore, Up the Yangtze), Homeless Nation (www.homelessnation.org) is an example of social activism meeting process-based videomaking, where the point is not necessarily an end product, but an ongoing collaboration and community development.
When Cross was making his films "The Street" and "S.P.I.T. - Squeegee Punks In Traffic", he was overwhelmed by the number of amazing stories that he heard from Montreal’s homeless community. He couldn’t fit them all into his films, so he decided to launch a forum where these stories could be told. Homeless Nation is a website as well as a non-profit outreach organization. The website acts as a virtual home, a repository for voices that might otherwise never be heard. The organization helps provide computers and digital tools, as well as training, to the homeless community. Below is more information from their website:
WHAT WE DO
Homeless Nation's outreach workers across Canada work in a variety of ways in collaboration with the homeless community. We work in shelters, day-centres, squats, at protests, community events, on the street and online.
We are dedicated to ensuring that digital tools for media, learning and communication are made available for homeless Canadians.
We place donated computers into shelters and drop-in centres - providing opportunities to create audio, visual or written testimonials from those whose voices are kept silent by their circumstances. We provide computer and Internet training. We meet Canada's homeless individuals where they are, and collaborate to add as many voices to the chorus as we can.
Our website is an on-going community development project...a place for people to share their experiences and to learn about others... a place to look for lost friends...a place to connect to resources in Canada where one can find shelter, food, health care, harm reduction and legal assistance.
www.homelessnation.org is our online home for those who have none, and our tool for social justice and positive change.
In 2009, HomelessNation.org was recognized with the UN-based 2009 World Summit Award. This prestigious award is handed out only once every two years. HomelessNation.org competed against over 20 000 projects from 157 participating countries.
The WSA award marks the fourth such honour over the past year, other recognitions include a Canadian New Media Award and a Society for New Communications Research Award. On September 1, 2009 the New York-based New Media Institute announced that HomelessNation.org had won a 2009 New Media Award.
Despite these accolades, Homeless Nation desperately requires financial support to stay operational. The project is actively seeking corporate sponsorships, grants and donations. After a successful pilot program, HomelessNation.org finds itself without a budget and seeks core funding. Interested partners are urged to act quickly - without immediate assistance this exemplary project will be lost.