‘Community First, A Home for the Homeless’ shows life-transforming power of community

Evelyn Burrow Museum at Wallace State hosting screening Tuesday, Feb. 4

Filmmaker Layton Blaylock will be on hand to answer questions after the 6 p.m. screening of “Community First, A Home for the Homeless,” Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Burrow Center Recital Hall at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville.  

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – In the documentary film “Community First, A Home for the Homeless,” one organization’s unique approach to addressing the homelessness crisis is seeing positive outcomes. The Evelyn Burrow Museum at Wallace State Community College is hosting a screening Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. Film director Layton Blaylock will present a Q&A with the audience after the 6 p.m. screening for those interested in learning about the project or the film-making process.  

A special screening for students will be held Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m. in the Burrow Center Recital Hall.  

More than 550,000 people are homeless on any given night in the United States. But, as Alan Graham, advocate for the homeless and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, explains in the documentary “Community First,” “Our friends that live on the streets … never laid in bed at night dreaming about being homeless … they did not make that choice.”  

Community First! Village, an initiative of Mobile Loaves & Fishes designed to mitigate homelessness in Austin, Texas, is a 27-acre master planned development that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. Residents are offered jobs and pay rent, but the real secret to success is the emphasis on developing personal relationships and building a sense of community. Residents begin to think of the future and look forward to the next day rather than simply surviving the current one.  

“Homeless shelters and food kitchens serve a purpose,” film Blaylock said, “but only in an ephemeral way. We need to employ some fresh ideas to tackle this problem, and I believe that Community First! Village is one that is showing real signs of lasting success. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make this documentary and to share with the world this amazing, transformative effort to restore dignity, hope, and self-worth to our most vulnerable neighbors.”  

This screening is made possible through the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, a South Arts program. Since its inception, Southern Circuit has brought the best independent filmmakers and their films from around the country to communities throughout the South. The program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.  

Admission to the screening is free. Information is available at www.burrowmuseum.org or by calling 256-352-8457. View the trailer for the film at https://vimeo.com/277547668. 

The remaining two films in the series are “Mossville: When Great Trees Fall” March 10 and “Who Will Write Our History” April 21. Visit www.southarts.org/touring-arts/southern-circuit/ for information about these films.  

Community First! Village in Austin, Texas is the subject of the documentary “Community First, A Home for the Homeless,” to be screened Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 9:30 a.m. in the Burrow Center Recital Hall at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville.