KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 10/16/11, 7:30 AM & KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 12/25/11, 10:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Jerry Misner and Stan Wald, producers of “Discarded: The Hidden People,” a documentary on America's homeless.

There are more than 1.6 million homeless citizens in the U.S. Of that number as many as 200,000 homeless vets are sleeping in alleys and under bridges. On any given night, as many as 22,000 individuals and families experience homelessness in Arizona.  

Misner says the economic situation of most Americans is increasingly fragile. He says in one of their early interviews for the film, a Tucson Police Officer put it succinctly: “We're all just one bad decision away from being right where they are, and if you think you're not, you're a pious SOB.”  Misner says while many believe that homelessness is simply a temporary condition that can be cured with money and care, others think it is what it is and the problem will always be with us. He says “Discarded” investigates the complexities and ambiguities of this socially polarizing issue.  

Wald says in researching the issue they found that on any given day, a third of the people in homeless shelters are members of households with children.  He says he hopes the insight he and Misner gained from the process will be transferred to viewers who will discover that the homeless are neither to be feared nor pitied.  He says for the most part, many only need a helping hand to once again become productive members of society.