The Covenant House in New Orleans is a safe haven for homeless teens and young adults who are fighting to stay alive and off the streets. In Shelter, a remarkable documentary produced by VICE, we meet several of the facility's most troubled residents and the caregivers who work to empower them.
To one degree or another, all the inhabitants of the Covenant House have struggled through lives of neglect, abuse or abandonment. Many contend with mental health issues, which are further compounded in some by substance abuse. The facility is their last hope.
Just a few years ago, Elizabeth could be seen frolicking with loved ones and flashing a beaming smile in Facebook selfies. By the time we're introduced to her in the film, she is roaming the city, begging for change, soothing herself in song, and sleeping on park benches fighting back the cold. Her time on the street has clearly left its mark; her behavior is erratic, her mental stability is waning, and she's developed an impulsive distrust of anyone who offers her assistance. But she also exposes a tender vulnerability in her most confessional moments, and she's self-aware enough to realize that something has to change or she will die.
Matthew was tossed aside by his mother and forced to survive on his own at an early age. He's clearly disadvantaged, but determined. The filmmakers capture him as he embarks on his first job search. His story, like so many profiled in the film, is equal parts gut-wrenching and inspiring.
These residents represent the forgotten souls who are too often shunned and ignored in our society. The shelter takes them in and provides them with a warm bed, professional guidance, and an empathetic ear. The counselors who treat them are truly saviors in every respect; they're a constant source of understanding, advocacy, and comfort in the face of unimaginable adversity.
Shelter is a deeply human portrait of young lives in turmoil. On a visceral level, it allows us to experience the day-to-day plights of those less fortunate, and to appreciate the power of unconditional love and kindness. It's an essential film.
Directed by: Brent Renaud, Craig Renaud
Having a shelter is prerequisite to advance further other issues in someone's well-being. Matthew was a good case study on that. One fist doesn't fit in all holes is a good approach to go when dealing with people living on streets. But its certain everyone needs love and compassion; if there is any miracle that will change people it is that. Convenant House is a place of warmth and love and a first step in the ladder to further individuals well-being.
Shelter: weak audio...inaudible,
Anyone who says that there are not good people in the world should watch this! This is a wonderful program that gives me hope for humanity.
This was extremely well done. So many youth suffer with mental health issues that aren’t treated for a host of reasons. Elizabeth touched my heart. I wonder where she is and how she is doing...
I have seen so many young adults with mental issues due to tick borne pathogens. Simple blood testing for these pathogens and antibiotics can turn things around. Addictions, cutting, bi polarity, anger issues, panic attacks, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, narcissism, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and many more. A full western blot is the first test I would order. Kudos to Covenant house.
This documentary shows the power of Love in action, word, and deed. I really think Covenant House is an example all cities should follow. The people working there are so awesome and know what they are doing. God bless them and the kids the serve....truly beautiful..
I suffer with mental illness, I truly understand these children. I just need to say GOD bless these most beautiful people for their love and care for the kids. This doc has brought me out of an episode. I thank you with all my heart for showing me a better way.
What a beautiful documentary. Yes, it is sad to see the sadness in the young people but it is Joy to see the dedicated staff. The Power of One person is enormous in helping; in saving. The world seems to have forgotten this. I was there once, also and one person, just one person, a dedicated person, like the staff in this documentary saved me. It can be done. I wish I could find peope like this in all the institurions around. I wish I could help. Blessings to you all. You are indeed people of God.
Tough to watch, as I was in a situation like this when I was 30. What strikes me is the pain in their eyes, because I know the pain, much of it never going away. You learn things to overshadow the pain, until it comes back to haunt you again. That was 30 years ago. Not much has changed in the world, except I think I see more pain in the world. Being able to help others, is the one thing that really works, because then you find others who share the pain. Well done!
What happened to them?! Will there be a follow-up doc?