Pushback (2017) documentary poster and cover. Image via IMDB.

On Thursday March 15 at 1:00 PM, the Student Centre Event Space (room 1.07) will be hosting a screening of a documentary entitled Pushback, which outlines the poverty and homelessness issue within Peterborough, by investigating the Warming Room, a community homeless shelter.

As the film description reads, “Pushback is a feature-length documentary film about poverty and homelessness in Peterborough, Ontario – a community which has had, since the 2008 recession, one of the highest rates of unemployment in Canada.”

When they first come to Peterborough or Trent, many students are alarmed by the amount of homelessness downtown. I know I was, when I first come here. But in innocence and ignorance, this problem is often looked over, or ignored. It’s not a problem that many people want to acknowledge, let alone face head on. This is an unfortunate fact.

Filmmakers Matthew Hayes and Benjamin van Veen don’t shy away from the topic, however, facing it directly by focusing on the daily struggles of five people associated with the Warming Room. The Warming Room is a last resort, homeless shelter that allows people in from 8:30 PM until 8:00 AM during the winter season.

Again, as the description eloquently reads, “…The Warming Room has literally saved lives, but like similar initiatives, it’s been plagued from the start by a lack of funding. It serves an essential need in Peterborough, and is our window into the ways in which people push back against the invisible world of homelessness in Canada.” The five individuals spotlighted in the film are two current guests, two former guests, and a staff-member of the shelter. Each will surely provide a unique perspective to the issues of homelessness in the town, which we choose to study, live and work.

The front page for the film’s website is a picture of a crudely made bed on a cold-looking floor. The words, “WHERE WILL YOU SLEEP TONIGHT?” are front and centre in capitalized, white, and bold text. This simple statement brings into the light, one of the key privileges that most of us take for granted. We have a home, a place to sleep, a room to stay warm in. Some people don’t, and it is important to realize, accept, and interrogate that fact.

The screening is hosted by Trent’s Homelessness Research Network. It will be held in the Student Centre room 1.07 on March 15, from 1-4 pm. The screening is free and all are welcome to attend.

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Tyler works out of Peterborough, Ontario, and reluctantly attends Trent University. He loathes deeply, while drinking often. The cigarettes will soon consume his life. Read his poetry while you still can at https://aforeword.com/tag/tyler-majer/ while reading his journalistic work at this very site. I would say that he would be appreciative, but that may not be the truth.