World Premiere of US & THEM Documentary on Homelessness and Housing First Workshop with Dr. Sam Tsemberis

Dr. Sam Tsemberis, founder of the Housing First movement in the United States, will be in Victoria next week. He will be participating in the world premiere of US & THEM, a Canadian documentary on homelessness and addiction, and will host a public presentation and technical workshop on his Pathways to Housing approach. Both the screening and workshop will take place at Victoria City Hall.

World Premiere of US & THEM

Thursday, December 3, 2015
7 p.m. 9 p.m., Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Victoria City Hall, Council Chambers

The public and media are invited to attend the world premiere of US & THEM on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers. Filmed over a decade, US & THEM is a feature documentary about the unlikely friendships that develop between four homeless and addicted people in Victoria and local filmmaker Krista Loughton. Her own battles with depression become part of the film’s narrative; Loughton sets out to help them, but they end up saving her. 

The documentary features Dr. Gabor Maté, a prominent Vancouver-based addiction specialist and colleague of Dr. Sam Tsemberis. The two recently held a webinar on Harm Reduction and Housing First. Dr. Maté thought the documentary would be of interest to Dr. Tsemberis and introduced him to Loughton.

Loughton and Dr. Tsemberis will introduce the film and will participate in a Q&A following the screening, moderated by Kathy Stinson, Executive Director of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. US & THEM is produced, written and directed by Krista Loughton with multi-award winning filmmaker Jennifer Abbott.

The concept for US & THEM began in 2006 when Loughton made Our Hero, a short film about Reverend Allen Tysick, a street minister who has dedicated his life to serving the poorest of the poor. She also made another short film The New Our Place about the building of the new facility with 45 units of transitional housing, a drop-in centre, and a kitchen serving approximately 600 street people. Both films have won awards at the Victoria Film Festival’s My Victoria Film Competition.

Admission to the world premiere will be free and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Learn more about US & THEM

Note: A second screening of US & THEM will be held on Wednesday, December 9 at 7 p.m. at the Vic Theatre at 808 Douglas Street. Admission is $10 and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Krista Loughton: Director, Producer, Writer
Krista Loughton has been passionately working on her first feature length documentary, US & THEM, for the past eight years. Encouraged by her success of two previous films on homelessness, Loughton created the concept for US & THEM, a feature documentary that chronicles her experience befriending four addicted and homeless street people with tragic pasts, who ultimately change the course of her life. She participates on-screen in the film, while producing and being one of its writers and directors.  Production and fundraising has thrown up no shortage of challenges, but despite it all, Krista persevered and in 2012, a breakthrough came. She ran a successful Indiegogo crowd funding campaign that allowed her to bring multi-award winning filmmaker Jennifer Abbott on board as a director, writer, and editor of the film.

Housing First Workshop with Dr. Sam Tsemberis: Pathways to Housing, New York City 

Friday, December 4, 2015
9 a.m. – 11:45 a.m., Doors Open at 8:30 a.m.
Victoria City Hall, Council Chambers

Dr. Sam Tsemberis’ Pathways to Housing philosophy is simple – provide housing first, and then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment. Housing is provided in apartments scattered throughout a community. This "scattered site" model fosters a sense of home and self-determination, and it helps speed the reintegration of Pathways clients into the community.

The public is invited to participate in a free workshop to learn more about Dr. Tsemberis’ Housing First approach on Friday, December 4, 2015 from 9 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. at Victoria City Hall. The workshop will include a presentation by Dr. Tsemberis and a break-out session for participants to discuss how the model could be applied to develop a regional approach to housing and homelessness. The workshop is for those interested in and working on housing, homelessness and the provision of healthcare to vulnerable citizens. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and refreshments will be served. Registration is not required.

In 1992, Dr. Sam Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing in New York City based on the belief that housing is a human right. He is the CEO of Pathways to Housing National, which trains direct service organizations, conducts research projects and influences policy related to Housing First.

Dr. Tsemberis is also on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and is currently participating in national studies of homelessness, mental illness, and addiction, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on these topics. Dr. Tsemberis is continuously engaging with communities and agencies considering the Pathways' model, nationally and around the world.

Learn more about Pathways to Housing