Belfast Telegraph

Film-maker challenges attitudes to homeless

By Nicola Irwin

A volunteer who helps out in a homeless shelter is asking people to challenge the stereotypes of life on the street.

Matthew Smyth (22) will make a short film for community groups and schools which looks at negative perceptions of homelessness.

He is working with the charity Fixers, a national movement of young people intent on fixing the future by looking at an issue close to their heart.

Matthew, from Ballymena, in Co Antrim, volunteers at a drop-in shelter in Sandy Row, Belfast. He said: "Despite what people may think, not all homeless people are drug addicts or alcoholics. In fact, many young people become homeless because of family breakdowns and financial problems. Just because someone is homeless doesn't make them any less of a person."

Matthew's views are echoed by the Simon Community.

Team leader Kerry McWilliams added: "More and more we see younger, semi-professional and previously what we would have seen as middle-class people, falling into the homeless bracket."

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