On the Edge: Family Homelessness in America

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ON THE EDGE discloses a world seen by few — the nomadic existence of women and children far from gritty ghettos and urban poverty. This documentary chronicles the struggles of seven women trying to escape homelessness in small towns and resort communities across America. Intertwined in this 60-minute documentary are painfully honest yet hopeful stories poignantly demonstrating the vulnerability of those living "on the edge."

These seven women courageously reveal stories of their fall from housing and independence, insightfully recognizing the traumatic effects of continual displacement on their children. They reflect on destabilizing events in their lives, and astutely point out systematic factors that make homelessness primarily a family and teen phenomenon–contrary to the stereotypes of disheveled men on street corners that have shaped public policy.

Their observations are contextualized within short, incisive interviews with experts who address legal, political and social difficulties that impede women, children and teens as they seek independence. Because of the candid nature of the women’s stories, viewers are exposed to the brutal realities of poverty and homelessness from those who have endured it. The semi-autobiographical narrative style not only lends authenticity to this film, but empowers these women to contribute insightful observations into the rarely considered hardships of homeless women and children.

Without either personally experiencing homelessness or knowing someone who has, housed and economically secure viewers often fail to grasp the nuances of homelessness. ON THE EDGE takes viewers deep into the nomadic lives of impoverished women and children, providing a demographic representation that reflects the homeless population, and a personal, often painful perspective from women whose uprooted lives tragically make them make them experts in this growing social issue.