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No Room in Paradise 2016


Distributed by Collective Eye Films, 2305 SE Yamhill Street, Suite 101, Portland OR 97214; 503-232-5345
Produced by Anthony Aalto and Mike Hinchey
Directed by Anthony Aalto and Mike Hinchey
DVD, color, 88 min.

High School - General Adult
Homelessness, Poverty, Public Health, Social Problems, Urban Areas

Date Entered: 07/26/2017

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

For many who come to the Aloha State as tourists, Hawaii is nothing short of a tropical paradise, complete with warm weather, lush landscape, and beautiful beaches. For those who can afford to visit or live here, as with other cities in the United States, it’s easy to criticize and complain about the large homeless population found in Honolulu. Not unlike the Victorians who blamed the poor for their condition, many see homelessness as a choice rather than a political, economic, and societal issue.

Made with the assistance of Hawaii News Now, a local news department, the film takes a closer look at the people who live on the streets of Hawaii’s capital, as well as the social workers that regularly interact with them. Justin Phillips, a homeless outreach field manager for the private, non-profit Institute for Human Services (IHS), narrates the insightful documentary, putting a human face on the crisis while allowing individuals to tell their own story. Mental illness, substance addiction, disability, long-term unemployment, and domestic violence may lead to homelessness and those affected include Micronesians, runaway teenagers, senior citizens, veterans, and ex-convicts. In Hawaii, the problem is exacerbated by the lack of affordable housing and low wages.

The film combines individual profiles of those experiencing homelessness with interviews with local community and business leaders, city and state government officials, healthcare workers, and others. Homelessness is a complex societal problem that can and must be solved; the film provides some ideas for how it can be accomplisher.