Mary Lou Uttermohlen
Structure Out of Chaos: Shantytowns of America’s Homeless, is about chronic homelessness in the new millennium. The documentary began in 1993 when the city of the Miami, Florida was being sued for arresting homeless people prior to public events. Arrests were a violation of civil rights since homelessness is not...
Structure Out of Chaos: Shantytowns of America’s Homeless, is about chronic homelessness in the new millennium. The documentary began in 1993 when the city of the Miami, Florida was being sued for arresting homeless people prior to public events. Arrests were a violation of civil rights since homelessness is not a crime.
While the Federal case was being litigated the judge ruled that “safe zones” be established where people could eat, sleep, and bath in public without fear of arrest until social services were offered. As a result, over a thousand people were living in Miami shantytowns and camps sprung up across the country.
Camps get organized only to experience sweeps throwing them back into chaos. Eventually they rebuild and experience more sweeps. The cycle is endless. This document consists of people in their homes. It is meant to show their positive progress of getting themselves organized.
This documentary is focused on the chronically homeless. These are people who have been homeless for years on end. They always have an issue preventing them from healing their circumstance. The conditions are usually mental illness, various addictions, health and legal problems.
The story includes a camp of paroled sex offenders where the residents were required to wear leg monitors and check in under a bridge each night. This camp resulted in another lawsuit with the city of Miami for civil rights violations.
The goal of this project is to open a dialogue on chronic homelessness in the US. Unlike during the great depression this situation being exploring has little to do with housing and economics and everything to do with our social ills. Ignoring or criminalizing these social issues does not resolve them. Forcing people to keep moving and appear invisible does not fix it either. Until we understand what is happening and why we are doomed to continue repeating this cycle as the epidemic continues to grow.
Carol and Molly’s Van
The Lone Railroad Camp
Phoenix in the Ladies Room
Lovers Freddie and Olima
Kiki waits on the cot
Life Inside The Bridge
A boy named Sue