Project Homelessness: And I Know...

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Project Homelessness is sponsored by the City of Billings as a component of Welcome Home Billings, the City’s ten-year plan to impact homelessness. This joint effort between Venture Theatre and the Billings Metro VISTA Project originated through the City's Community Development Division with the following intentions:
  • Create awareness regarding the experiences of homeless children in Billings. Storytelling can change perceptions and inspire people to take action to help neighbors in need.
  • Provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged children through experiential theatrical learning venues in Venture’s Youth Conservatory. Giving disadvantaged youth access to reading and writing assistance, drama, music and dance helps develop strong character and leadership skills.
  • Meet the basic needs of the homeless / near homeless through the 2014 Billings Community Connect event. This annual one-day, one-stop event ensures over 50 service providers are on hand to help our community members out of poverty by creating access to food, housing and other services.

The City sponsored two AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) members to work on the project full-time from July 2012 to July 2013. Amy Dixon and Jessie Obee conducted interviews with homeless children and young adults about their challenges and triumphs. Thirteen interviews were given to trusted local playwrights, Shad Scott and Ryan Gage, to generate a script illustrating the realities of being young and homeless in Montana. The resulting play And I Know… opened in April 2013 and ran for four weeks. Project Homelessness is on Facebook! Be sure to like!

Tools & Resources

  • Project Manual: This report operates as a model to assist other communities in creating their own production to illuminate social issues, raise funds and inspire collaboration.
  • Homeless Calculator: Have you ever thought about how close you are to experiencing homelessness? This calculator can be used to determine the number of months and days you would have until you expended all resources after the sudden loss of income. The calculator is in MS Excel format and has calculators for both adults and children.
  • Playbill: The And I Know... playbill provides the particulars about the event, including the cast list, production team, history of the project and sponsors.
  • How You Can Help: The quarter sheet handout was available for audience members seeking ways to assist with the overall homeless initiative.
  • Venture Theatre: This website screenshot contains the performance dates/times and additional background regarding the production.
  • Posters: These posters were designed to illustrate stereotypes and the realities of homelessness. They also showcase themes of the play through eye-catching collage motifs.
  • Interviews: This transcript of a completed source material interview is an example of information garnered to generate the script. Names, locations and other identifying information have been altered to protect subject confidentiality. Other interviews can be downloaded here.

Media & News

  • Billings Gazette:

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