The West Kelowna Shelter Society is marking World Homeless Day Oct. 10 with a screening of the documentary Us and Them at Westbank United Church.
The film, described as an eye-opening documentary, was filmed over a decade around downtown Victoria when filmmaker Krista Loughton befriended four chronically homeless people.
The goal for the screening is to bring more education and awareness to the community.
“On the Greater Westside there seems to still be a lack of knowledge and understanding of what kind of social issues we have going on and the reality of how many people are living homeless on the Westside,” said Rosemary Weighill of the West Kelowna Shelter Society.
“I still talk to people almost daily who do not know that we have 38 people in an interim housing program in that church — 38 people who would be living on the street if they weren’t there,” she said.
Weighill called homelessness a modern crisis in every community in the country.
It’s complicated, tied up in trauma, mental health, substance abuse and poverty issues.
“By bringing this kind of information, it helps bust those myths about safety and crime and fears around homeless people,” she said.
Weighill said the film can help bring compassion and understanding for how people get to the point of homelessness as well as awareness of the realities for people living on the street
“Once you listen to somebody's story, then it’s not just “Why don't they just get a job,’” she said.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the film will start at 7 p.m.
People are welcome to make a donation, which will go to the homelessness initiative.
Following the screening there will be an informal opportunity for people to ask questions one-on-one.
“This is not going to be a debate night. It’s really an information session,” said Weighill.
Westbank United is at 3672 Brown Rd.