Short Doc: A Tent City Survivor
My new video for the Our Town Reno project is a melancholic and pensive profile of William James Wright, aka "Mountain Man". The gentle, giant lost angel has been homeless 15 years since a warehouse accident prevented him from doing physical labor, while he says he doesn't have the education for a "sit-down" job. Wright avoids shelters, which he compares to "prison and jail". He also doesn't want to be separated from his dog Hurley as is the rule for shelters.
In the video, Wright details many simple ideas of how city officials could help people in his situation, with little cost and lots of reward for all. The spot where he has mostly stayed since becoming homeless underneath a bridge recently became a tent city, which was then fenced off as gentrification ramps up in parts of the Biggest Little City. Wright believes developers intentionally drove down prices in the downtown area which services lots of homeless and poor to now rebuild for cheap, but also eventually push out less fortunate Renoites, who live in the shelters, weekly motels, decrepit mansions of yesteryear with slumlords of today, vacant blighted buildings, and underneath bridges along the Truckee river.