Under the Bridge: The Criminalization of Homelessness
Available on Prime Video, Amazon Freevee
Under The Bridge: The Criminalization of Homelessness is a film about the plight of a homeless camp under threat of closure by the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. The unofficial “mayor” of the camp is Maurice. He is a big man with a long, graying beard and dreadlocks. He left his “normal” life to live on the streets, organize the camp, and coordinate with outreach groups who provide the homeless campers with food, clothing and the hygiene items necessary to maintain a decent life. The Davidson St. homeless camp is a community, bordering on family, for the 60-70 camp residents. The community includes the volunteers, many of them church activists, who come on a regular basis to help and befriend the campers. For many of the homeless here, the camp is the only island of stability they have known in their chaotic lives. This is a group of citizens that American society has left behind. As we get to know these residents, and hear their intimate stories, it becomes apparent that in addition to not having homes or jobs, most are battling addiction, mental illness or both. City Hall and many business leaders are hostile to the camp’s existence. Local TV news keeps up a drumbeat of negative stories about crime, filth and drugs. Police harass the residents and arrest panhandlers downtown. But the camp is remarkably well-organized and maintained and has developed loyal supporters. When developers begin to covet the camp property, located on the edge of booming downtown Indianapolis, the city government and police threaten to close the camp and scatter the homeless residents. As the summer heats up, a showdown is inevitable.
Starring Don Sawyer
Director Sam Miro, Don Sawyer