The homeless advocacy organization HomeAid Colorado is hosting a benefit concert and screening of the documentary Mighty Ground, about musician Ronald Troy Collins, a man who struggled with homelessness.
"Homelessness really can happen and does happen to anyone,” says Genakos, the outreach and communications coordinator for HomeAid Colorado. “Everybody deserves a safe, stable place to live. We’re trying to provide the housing and the resources needed to get people back on their feet.”
The nonprofit's work is critical at this time: In 2017, the number of deaths of people experiencing homelessness hit a record high in Denver, and rapidly ballooning housing costs are making it harder for many people to find a place to live.
HomeAid Colorado is fighting back and, according to its mission, working to end homelessness within the state entirely. The group leverages connections within the homebuilding industry to build housing for other organizations who are also striving to help the state's homeless population; it's currently building beds for military veterans, teen moms, adults with intellectual disabilities, families and others. HomeAid Colorado also organizes outreach projects such as hygiene-kit drives.
The benefit screening will take place Friday, January 12, at the Holiday Event Center. The film, which is currently on a national tour through HomeAid (the umbrella organization of HomeAid Colorado), delves into the life of Collins, a man who found himself without a home in the skid-row area of Los Angeles. In the film, Collins, a talented musician, gains housing, overcomes an addiction problem and works to record an album.
In person, Collins will give audience members a bonus concert following the screening of the documentary. His gravelly vocals rumble through bluesy but upbeat songs. You can check out his SoundCloud page here.
The film's producer, Aimee Schoof, will also attend the screening.
Genakos is excited to meet Collins. “The aspect of the documentary that resonated with me the most was that although he is living in the streets, he’s so happy and generous. In one of my favorite parts of the movie, he has 75 cents of change to his name, and he’s walking around filling up parking meters for complete strangers so that they don’t get tickets.”
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“Although Collins lived in L.A., a lot of the issues that he faced are here in Denver too,” explains Genakos. The documentary "shows that with support and love and resources on a community scale, we can do this. All it really takes is compassion and awareness and rallying our community to help others.”
The event will raise much-needed funds for HomeAid Colorado. Hats, gloves, blankets and other winter clothing will also be collected at the event.
Genakos hopes that those who attend the screening will gain “awareness and knowledge of something about the experience of homelessness, but also hope that there can be more stories like Collins's. We can see more successes and happiness as we transition people back to safety and security.”
Mighty Ground movie screening and musical performance, Friday, January 12, Holiday Event Center, 2644 West 32nd Avenue, $20 suggested donation.