Student video documents ‘invisible’ homeless in Minneapolis


The homeless — we see them in all the so-called obvious places: at freeway exits holding hand-lettered signs, on shady public-park benches and standing in lines outside social service facilities waiting for food or shelter.

But there’s another side to homelessness revealed in a new 16-minute documentary, the “invisible” homeless, those people walking unidentified through our lives. We hear from four of them in “No Place to Call Home,” the video story of four homeless students — two white, two black; two men, two women — at Minneapolis Community and Technical College where 10 percent of the student body is homeless. We learn of their plight and admire their dogged determination to get an education and get out of poverty.

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Among those students is Daniel, who utters: “When you don’t have a roof over your head, math might just get put on the back burner.” Yet he and the others, with the help of support programs at the college, keep plodding along.

The documentary, which has students describing evictions, chemical use and other hardships, incorporates both still and video photography. It is narrated by Peter Koeleman, former director of photography at the Star Tribune and a friend of mine. He was faculty adviser for the video journalism class project produced and edited by students Shannon Beelman, Anna Kostochko, Darrin Kovar and Brigitta Serrin.

Take a peek here:

Don’t miss the hopeful, innovative program mentioned at the video’s conclusion. Augustana Health Care Center of Minneapolis this fall kicks off a program to provide room and board for up to 10 MCTC nursing students who will “work for their keep” and gain work experience in the process.