Society has conditioned us to be prejudiced against the homeless. We see them as failures — the dregs of society. But these are people who have gone through struggles and hardships, and they need direct action from their community to help them get back on their feet. They need help, not hate.
In this episode, we talk to Glen Dunzweiler, a filmmaker and producer. Glen had a story to tell, but he didn’t wait for someone else to do it for him. He went out and took action himself. He takes us behind the scenes of creating his books and documentary about the homeless. He also talks about video production as a platform to tell the stories of the homeless.
Listen to the episode if you want to find out how the homeless can teach us a lesson or two about personal responsibility.
Glen Dunzweiler is a filmmaker, producer, public speaker, entrepreneur, and a former college professor. He uses filmmaking and video production to tell stories about poverty and success.
- Learn how Glen came about using video production as a platform to express his ideas and give the homeless a voice.
- Discover how personal responsibility leads to success.
- Know how struggles and pain are part of the journey that gets us through life.
[03:29] The Problem with Education
- At school, Glen was told that he was a good writer. He had a natural affinity for writing and was told he had a voice.
- Glen says that we need to learn to find our values rather than rely on others to create it for us.
- The housing crisis in 2008 was a powerful eye-opener for him.
- He was brought up with the idea that poverty equates to legitimacy when pursuing a career in the arts. This concept handicaps many students.
[13:51] Breaking from the System
- We get an education and a job, but many jobs are not sustainable and don’t pay enough.
- The current system promises that education guarantees a better quality of life, but that is not necessarily true.
- Students go to college and follow their passions but have no market for their skills after graduation.
- Businesses will try to sell you a “good story” in which education and a job guarantee a better life.
[18:49] A Different Definition of Success
- Students go to college because they don’t know what else to do.
- We have not trained our students and children to stand on their own.
- Everyone needs to be responsible for their success.
[22:47] Backstory Of A Degree in Homelessness
- Glen’s book delves into who the homeless are, how they got there, how they can get out of it, and how we can make support sustainable.
- The title is a challenge and reality check to readers.
- Don’t wait for someone to provide you with worth as a human being.
- Glen emphasizes that we should not wait to take hold of our success.
- Glen wants direct action from communities to help people living on the streets.
[32:53] The Path of Least Inconvenience
- People naturally gravitate toward the most effortless solutions possible. It is an innate human need to make it as simple and easy as possible
- Current educational systems have failed. It teaches students to pass tests and not to think.
- He grew up with the idea that life is supposed to be hard. He relays that if life is not hurting you, you are not doing it right.
- Through personality or life experiences, Glen advises us to look at life as an adventure. If not, you will be afraid of everything.
- People enjoy stability too much to change the current failed systems.
[47:59] What yHomeless Is All About
- Glen interviewed homeless people and homeless service providers for his documentary.
- Glen performed research on how people become homeless, what the lives of homeless people are like, how to get out of homelessness, and what to do with the housing community.
- yHomeless challenges people to know who the homeless truly are.
[54:27] The Data & Statistics
- According to Glen, there isn’t enough accurate statistical data on the homeless.
- Glen spoke to over 100 people for the interview, wherein a third were homeless service providers.
- He has spoken to a wide variety of people living outside society.
[1:05:55] Why It’s Hard to Find Inspiration from the Homeless
- People are prejudiced against homeless people. They unintentionally view homeless people as a failure or problematic.
- It is always easier to make celebrities as inspirational figures; it is easier to capture someone with a smile on their face.
- There is a lot to learn from people who have lost everything, and it is essential to communicate this to people.
[1:08:38] Solutions to Homelessness
- We need wins; look at a direct return of investment to keep us inspired to continue investing.
- Women and children take less effort to get off the street. Wins, even easy ones, make people feel good and inspire communities to push for more challenging cases.
- We let go of those who walk away from the program. Some people walk away because religion is attached.
- As in business, “no” means to move on — take the next call. Let go of the ones who walk away and keep looking for wins.
[1:11:42] Who Is Responsible for Solving Homelessness?
- Direct community action is the best action.
- Donations aren’t enough. They help people sustain themselves on the street, not get them out of homelessness.
- Once bureaucracy is involved, we get farther away from direct action. The efforts go to paying someone to exist in the system and not helping the person directly.
[1:14:27] What Success Looks Like for Glen
- Even if his programs fail, Glen says he’ll try again.
- Success for him means finding a way to start putting ideas in action, see if they work, and get wins.
5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode
[12:46] “Believe me, my joke is I almost went homeless trying to help the homeless. And then I realized, wait, hold on, what am I doing here? I can’t sustain this, I can’t help anybody if I go onto the streets. It’s not going to happen.”
[24:46] “But I’ve seen what denial looks like and it’s sleeping in your car, and it’s living in poverty. And it’s knowing how waiting for someone to give you worth as a human being. I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want anybody to live like that.”
[26:44] “The only way you can make money starts and ends with you.”
[35:26] “We are all built with our gifts and talents, and some of us can see through that and decide work is what we want and working hard is what we want and those people will succeed. almost, no matter what.”
[1:07:54] “There’s a lot to learn from people that have lost everything.”
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