Living among the poor and homeless, the American dream lost its shine for a couple trying to keep their family together.
Editor’s note: This film is no longer available online.
Filmmaker: Tessa Boerman
Florida has been hit particularly hard by the recession. Nearly one in ten people are out of work, and it has the second-highest foreclosure rate of the country.
Family life turns into tragedy, when homeless parents face the law which takes their children off the streets. Losing your job and house is one thing, but how to avoid losing your children as well?
My dear boys ... There are many things happening right now in our lives that are hard to understand. Because you are too young to understand. When your grandparents came to the States, they envisioned a life full of opportunities. Definitely not what your father and I are going through. So we write you this letter, knowing you are mature enough to understand the full picture of what is happening.
We zoom in on the one-room shelter where Tony and Dion Lopez and their three young boys, Esai, 6, Elias, 5, and Elian, 3, try desperately to keep their family together.
Their grandparents came from Cuba to the US, in search of a better life, but now the grandchildren – all born in the US – have ended up with their parents in a shelter.
Diane Del Rio, their grandmother, says: “I definitely look at the world in a different way because of it. These are not bad, dirty people. They just … they have just signed off from life …. They’re empty. They’re empty. And … that’s the first time in my life that I can actually understand them. I didn’t before. I was one of those people that looked down my nose and said: Well, if you had a job, you wouldn’t be where you’re at.”
Living among the poor and homeless, the American dream has lost its shine. So, how do the Lopez’ explain to their children their current situation, and how do they prepare their children to face an insecure future?