New Documentary Explores Homelessness In Fresno

Apr 7, 2015

Credit Brittani Fanciullo

There's a new documentary about homelessness in Fresno. "Our Lives: Surviving the Streets of Fresno" not only tells the stories of 10 people directly affected by homelessness, it was shot by them. 

Lisa Lindsay joined Valley Edition host Joe Moore for an interview  about the documentary. She directed the film and also is a supervising librarian for the Fresno County Public Library.

“When I got the idea to document the stories of people who live on the streets the initial goal was to create the opportunity for people to know the full stories, instead of just the image you see when you walk by someone homeless," says Lindsay. 

Near the Poverello House in Fresno
Credit Yellowfeather Noriega /

Some of the characters in the documentary are long-time residents of homeless encampments in the city. Lindsay says the film challenges stereotypes people hold about homelessness. 

“You don't expect them to necessarily be someone that you find things you have in common with," Lindsay says. "And you probably don’t expect them to be someone to be friends with. There are just a lot of surprises that I realized if I hadn’t had that opportunity, I wouldn’t have benefited from that.”

This grant funded film was a collaboration between Fresno County Public Library and Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC). Lindsay says the documentary changed her view of who homelessness in the region.  

“One of the goals that I wrote into the grant was to ask audience members afterwards in a survey if they were more likely to look someone in the eye who was homeless," Lindsay says. "Ever since I wrote that into the grant I have been someone that I can’t not look at someone and acknowledge that I see them walking down the street. That’s a change in me and I don’t I could be that way again where I pretend like I don’t see someone.”

The documentary will show Friday April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno (2672 E Alluvial Ave.) and Tuesday April 14 at CMAC in Downtown Fresno, 1555 Van Ness Ave.