Merton young people highlight homelessness through film

Young people from across Merton have made four films highlighting the problem of homelessness amongst people from ethnic minorities.

Called Problems at Home, Souf Weazy, Not for Good and The Making of Not for Good, the films are to be shown for free at a launch event at the Odeon Cinema in Wimbledon on 16 January at 6pm. A few remaining tickets will be available to interested members of the public.

The short films were made as part of the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Video Research Project run by Merton Council in partnership with Pathway Housing Association, Kingston and Wimbledon YMCA, Merton Connexions and Merton Youth Service. The council’s successful bid for £45,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) funded the research and the films. All the films are based on the personal housing experiences of young homeless people from ethnic minorities living in Merton.

The project sets out to raise people’s awareness of the council’s concerns that young people from ethnic minorities have a greater chance of becoming homeless. The project also aims to encourage young people to consider carefully the consequences of leaving home. As well as making films, the young people involved in the project interviewed their peers asking them about where they lived and if they were happy with their home environment. An interim report on the research findings will be available at the film showing.

Having made the films, the next stage of the project is a peer education programme, which will involve the young people taking the films and the key messages into local schools and youth clubs. They will also form a housing youth forum and create their own website. Visitors to the site will be able to share their experiences and ideas through blogs, forums and online chat. The films will be posted on the site.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration Councillor Diane Neil Mills said: “Although Merton has the second lowest rate of homelessness in London (after the City of London), every individual case of homelessness is considered to be a high priority. Merton Council has been very successful in identifying potential homelessness cases and continues to believe that early attention to potential homelessness is critical.

“This project was developed to explore the reasons why young people from ethnic minorities become homeless. The main message coming out of the films is that leaving home is not the easy option. Young people most common