Every day in Houston, homeless men, women, children and animals can be found tucked under underpasses, sitting aside streets and beyond plain sight across the city.
Baylor College of Medicine family and community medicine physician Fabrizia Faustinella, M.D., has spent her career caring for Houston’s homeless residents and was inspired to create a documentary to share their stories.
“I was trying to put a human face to the problem,” Faustinella said. “When we talk in general about homelessness, it is very hard to relate to those individuals, but these are human beings and I wanted to focus on the shared humanity.”
Faustinella wrote, produced and directed the The Dark Side of the Moon, a 63-minute documentary addressing the causes of homelessness, the biases against homeless people and possible solutions.
“A change in public policies can really make a big impact,” she said. “By increasing public awareness and a change in attitude towards homelessness, maybe people will be more prone to support those public policy programs.”
While homelessness rates in Houston have dropped, people lacking housing remains a national challenge.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, there were more than 550,000 people in the nation without permanent housing on a single night.
“The challenge with being homeless is that every day you are not only trying to find food and shelter, but it is also an issue of isolation,” Faustinella said. “As much as they try to form a community, there is an issue with being isolated and feeling completely on the margins of society.”
Faustinella cites mental illness, domestic violence, unemployment, access to health care and insufficient affordable housing as major factors that lead to homelessness.
“I’ve worked at county hospitals—Ben Taub, LBJ—and in county clinics,” Faustinella said. “Currently, I am with the Harris Health same-day clinic system where I see many racial and ethnic minorities and homeless patients. I have also worked as a consultant for the Harris County Psychiatric Hospital (UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center) where I really could see the impact of mental illness on people and see how that could really become a contributing factor to homelessness.”
In addition to raising awareness through the film, Faustinella is proud of the work being done by Texas Medical Center institutions to combat homelessness in Houston. The HOMES Clinic, a nonprofit organization staffed by students from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, provides care to the local homeless population, as does the Health Care for the Homeless program at Harris Health System.
Faustinella, who also has a background in filmmaking, shot the documentary with a crew in different locations around Houston and Austin.
“I just went out in the streets with my cameramen and I went to city parks and underpasses to see who would be willing to participate,” she said.
The Dark Side of the Moon has received national and international attention, including being chosen as an official selection at the 2019 International Christian Film Festival.
Currently, the film is not scheduled for any public screenings in the area, but has been shown privately and for educational purposes at Baylor.
Click here to view a trailer of the film.
Harris Health System@harrishealth
Happy Fall! https://t.co/wjF8teaVxm
Learn more about the rise of the anti-vaccination movement in @TexasChildrens second season of Outcomes. Listen here: https://t.co/4a9hcW4WyQ #OutcomesPodcast #TexasChildrens https://t.co/MxsKLH8Ory
RT @MoveItMonday: You don't have to leave your chair to #MoveItMonday! Try these three simple chair yoga exercises to stretch away stress,…
University of Houston@UHouston
RT @houstonalumni: Naming the mascot “Shasta” was an idea that came in 1947 when Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity bought UH’s first live…
MD Anderson Cancer Center@MDAndersonNews
#Clinicaltrials are at the core of our mission to #endcancer. Learn from our Dr. Patrick Hwu how they help us discover new treatments to benefit future and current patients: https://t.co/ENqWbPrvNt https://t.co/Jkuu9JlXbg
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Charles J. Gestrich, who served as a railway mail clerk during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953: https://t.co/6mzBvGdZtR
@USMC Veteran Kionte lost his leg in an IED blast. During recovery, he experienced depression and sought support. Visit https://t.co/tBxE005jeW to hear more about Kionte’s journey back to physical and mental health.
Malawi’s national adoption of affordable neonatal CPAP technology developed at @Rice360atRiceU resulted in sustained improvements in the survival of babies with respiratory illness, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. https://t.co/mYtNlEf8uz
@USMC Veteran Kionte lost his leg in an IED blast. During his recovery, he experienced depression and sought support. Visit https://t.co/tBxE005jeW to hear more about Kionte’s journey back to physical and mental health.
RT @RiceUNews: Here's to 10 years of fun and fitness!@ricerec is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a week of events, starting today…
Happy 20th Birthday to the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative! Find out how this program has grown over the last two decades. https://t.co/S5PSODwhVt #BIPAI
@lesmiskid @blummer27 @JuliaMorales @RealToddKalas @astros Thanks for sharing this great pic!
MD Anderson Cancer Center@MDAndersonNews
How researchers, led by our Dr. Rodabe Amaria, are working to make pre-surgical treatment an option for more #melanoma patients: https://t.co/ljUwUPQxav #endcancer
Each year, our faculty and staff are given a work day to pursue a volunteer activity they are passionate about. Learn about some of their experiences. https://t.co/xErhwmEeds #volunteering #community https://t.co/uupd0H3YVS
RT @RiceUNews: Wondering about the new #art going up inside Brochstein Pavilion this week?It's the first in @RiceUniversity Public Art’s…