Lead Me Home directors Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk have created a moving and informative documentary about homelessness. Without telling the audience what to think, without a narrator explaining and intervening, they take us into the difficult and heart-breaking lives of people marginalized by bad luck, mental health problems, drug use, class, race, and gender. When a social worker interviewing several unhoused people asks for their "goals," no voiceover is necessary to tell us that it would be nearly impossible to set achievement milestones when you have no home, no place to shower, no place to study at night, no kitchen to cook decent meals, and little or no money. This simple, obvious point underscores the difficulty for unhoused people to reverse their situations without organized help.
Beautifully edited sequences of major construction in cities emphasize the fact that plenty of office and residential buildings are going up in big cities, but housing the unhoused seems to be on the back burner. It's more complicated than that, or course, but at least the film gets us thinking. At the end, the filmmakers invite viewers to go to LeadMeHomeFilm.com to learn more and "take action." The website gives praise to LavaMaeX, an organization practicing "Radical Hospitality," as they bring showers and other services to the streets with an emphasis on recognizing "that how you deliver the service is just as important as the service itself. It's not a transaction, it's about establishing a relationship -- truly seeing people as individuals, accepting them and restoring their self-worth."