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Westport Student Spotlights Homelessness

Creates films detailing the rising risks faced

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Westport, CT | Added on July 01, 2014 At 09:21 PM

“People should give these people a chance.  Just because they're doing things, like digging through the trash, doesn’t mean they’re less than a person," said Arin Meyer, a student in Westport.

Fourteen thousand people are living without a home here in Fairfield County.  Last month, a meeting held in Stamford brought awareness to that issue. And, one vidoe presented at the time put much of that dilmma into perspective. 

And here’s the story on how it was made.

“My name is Arin Meyer. I am 17-years-old.  I make films for this thing call Registry Week,” she said.

 Arin is a rising senior at Staples High School, where she fell in love with storytelling.

 “I became interested in film years ago.  Had to be around sixth grade.  I moved to Westport my Freshman year and they do t.v. production classes and film classes. And once I discovered that – I literally never left that class," she said.

 It was there that Arin met two teachers, both playing a big role in shaping her craft.  And one day, they approached her with the opportunity to film Registry Week: The organizing backbone of the 100 Thousand Homes Campaign.

“It’s something that happens in a different town every couple of months.  And it’s a bunch of charities to help homeless people to see which ones need to be housed first. I normally do film jobs to make money, but this one wasn’t paid.  But, it sounded interesting.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” she said.

 One Hundred Thousand Homes Campaign is a national movement, organized by Supportive Housing Works and various shelters. In order to meet their goal of giving that many homes to the most needy on the streets, volunteers search high and low throughout the towns. It was an eye opening process and something critical to capture on film in order to raise awarness.

"There was this little girl who spoke to me for 11 minutes.  It's hard to pick the best parts of the parts that will stand out the most with the footage. Because everyone has really something important or interesting to say," she said. 

Originally Arin planned to just film Registry Week in Norwalk, but later attended the events in both Bridgeport and Stamford.

"I think its something really interesting.  Homelessness has such a stigma.  We're told to keep away from them on the streets and every homeless person is scary, violent person. They are really loving, nice, funny people who ended up in a bad situation. They are working hard, a lot actually have jobs.  I think it's an important issue," she said 

Arin’s video was shown in early June, but she says she will continue to follow the subject in an even bigger way.  She plans to film homeless shelters all across the nation this summer.


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