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"Among The Discarded" Screening At The Rex Theatre

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The Mayors Challenge to end Veteran Homelessness will be launched in Pensacola at the Rex Theatre. The event will include a screening of the documentary film about the homeless titled “Among the Discarded.”  It was first shown locally in May as the Mayors Challenge was introduced in Fort Walton Beach.

Originally from Panama City Beach, Trent Dion Soto is a writer and director of several documentary films. His latest film, “Among the Discarded,” shines a light on the homeless population living on the streets of LA’s Skid Row, known as the homeless capitol of the country.

“It is a place where everyone struggles to survive. It is a city within a city. Within its 54 blocks thousands and thousands people call this place home. For some it is temporary, for others a lifetime. Skid Row Los Angeles, I came here to make a change. Instead, it changed me.”

Armed with only a toothbrush and Go Pro Camera, Soto spent 30 days getting to know the homeless on Skid Row, “Tired, worn-out, no sleep, I’ve seen a lot go on, a lot of killing; a lot of friends get killed on Skid Row. I mean it could your grandmother, it could be your grandfather, it could be your sister, your brother.”

I felt like the face of homeless needs to be recognizable, and in order to do that you have to put it in peoples’ face. So, I want people to recognize that this is an issue that touches everyone we know.”

That’s Soto speaking after a screening of the documentary in Okaloosa County in May as part of the Mayor’s Challenge initiative to end all veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. As of this January’s Point in Time count, there were 683 homeless people in Okaloosa and Walton counties, about 17% of which are veterans.

Soto says a little more consideration and kindness is all that is needed in order to make a difference in the lives of the homeless, You know there are so many people that are just standing on the edge, and we overlook them. So, I’m hoping that people will take a little more effort to be more compassionate and non-judgmental. Start there…and without a doubt to evoke the change that it takes to look after one another.”

There are a multitude of reasons why someone becomes homeless Soto says. One major concern is the challenge of mental health issues facing the population living not just on Skid Row but everywhere in America, “Mental health issues, without a doubt one of the largest issues of the homeless population that I dealt with. They’re truly the voices. They’re the ones that nobody wants to deal with. They’re the hardest to deal with. You know, they’re problematic and people don’t have the time, patience or effort it seems, that just means they truly are the discarded.”

Other groups prone to homelessness are women and children without the extra means of financial support, and veterans of the military. However, Soto says he’s looking forward to putting a spot light on those issues in upcoming projects, There are many levels of homelessness. So, what I’m doing now is taking those topics and expounding upon them. And, instead of doing the top 10 homeless populations in the world, I’m doing more subjects that were within my original film. So, I’m doing one now called America the Beautiful?” It’s for the Veterans.”

As for now, Tent Dion Soto will continue to enlighten the public to the struggles that the homeless including homeless veterans endure in hopes of one day eliminating the crisis once and for all.

Beginning with a screening of his film “Among the Discarded” on Friday from noon to 2 at the historic Rex Theatre and continuing with 200-mile walk from Pensacola to Tallahassee scheduled next week on Friday, August 14th