Homeless Nation was a non-profit endeavour founded by Daniel Cross in 2003. In the making of his films THE STREET: a film with the homeless and S.P.I.T. – Squeegee Punks In Traffic, hundreds of Montreal’s homeless community shared their many, amazing stories with him. So many, that he was not able to fit them all into his films.
He conceived of a forum where these stories would not be lost. Where Canada’s homeless community could share their stories and refuse to be ignored. A place to create equal access to online media, of sharing truths through audio/visual content for everyone to learn from. To have these stories told as an ongoing dialogue for social awareness and positive change. The site went live in 2003 and was actively used until 2007.
From 2003 to 2007, Homeless Nation’s outreach team across Canada worked in a variety of ways in collaboration with the homeless community. They worked in shelters, day-centres, squats, at protests, community events, on the street and online.
We were dedicated to ensuring that digital tools for media, learning and communication were made available for homeless Canadians.We placed donated computers into shelters and drop-in centres – providing opportunities to create audio, visual or written testimonials from those whose voices are kept silent by their circumstances. We provided computer and internet training. We met Canada’s homeless individuals where they were, and collaborated to add as many voices to the chorus as we could.
Homeless Nation was an ongoing community development project…a place for people to share their experiences and to learn about others… a place to look for lost friends…a place to connect to resources in Canada where one can find shelter, food, health care, harm reduction and legal assistance. It was an online home for those who have none, and our tool for social justice and positive change.
In 2009, HomelessNation.org was recognized with the UN-based 2009 World Summit Award. This prestigious award is handed out only once every two years. HomelessNation.org competed against over 20 000 projects from 157 participating countries.
The WSA award marks the fourth such honour over the past year, other recognitions include a Canadian New Media Award and a Society for New Communications Research Award. On September 1, 2009 the New York-based New Media Institute announced that HomelessNation.org had won a 2009 New Media Award.