(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This documentary is a serious look at the problems of extreme poverty in the City of Los Angeles. It is a city with many of the most successful corporations in the country but at the close of 2018 there are more than 53,000 people living homeless on the streets. This is a look at these homeless who have very little income and almost no political power. It also looks at the people who volunteer their time and money to improve the lives of the destitute. Directed by: Remi Kessler. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10

Los Angeles is the home of many large and profitable corporations. But in some ways it has more poverty than any other big city in the United States. When adjusted for the cost of living the median income is $1300 a month. There are tens of thousands of people living on the streets in Los Angeles. There are more than 53,000 homeless living in Los Angeles County disenfranchised. These people are too easily ignored because their money goes to just surviving so they have almost no political power of their own. There are, however, volunteers who are willing to stand up and advocate for the well being and rights of the homeless. This is a documentary that looks at those disenfranchised and those who make sacrifices to help them.

THE ADVOCATES looks at people living in poverty in Los Angeles. It introduces the viewer to a little of the history of the problem of homelessness in the city. Also it examines those standing up for the people living in these neighborhoods. Examined are the programs of support for those living on the street and for those working at what are barely subsistence wages, one of which is an organization that has in eight years prepared and served over half a million meals to people on the streets. It is highly stressful to day after day deal with really unfortunate people in various stages of hunger. It is even more stressful to deal with issues of substance abuse. The growth of funds allocated to support low- income housing has simply not kept pace with the costs of housing for several decades.

The film goes into political wrangling on ballot issues that have improved the lives of the homeless, and have funneled political help in high poverty areas. These are held toward late in the film. Remi Kessler injects a spirit of some optimism toward the end of the film showing a ballot victory and the case of a homeless man whose condition was significantly improved by the extensive help of a volunteer. The overall condition of the problem does show improvement. This however takes the viewer away from covering a wide piece of the issues and concentrates only on a very narrow one-person sliver of the problem.

I rate THE ADVOCATES a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 4/10.

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2018 Mark R. Leeper