The Homestretch follows three homeless teens in Chicago as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Each of these smart, ambitious teenagers—Roque, Kasey, and Anthony—will surprise, inspire, and challenge audiences to rethink stereotypes of homelessness as they work to complete their education while facing the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age. Through haunting images, intimate scenes, and first-person narratives, the teens take us on their journeys of struggle and triumph. As their stories unfold, the film connects us to larger issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBT rights. The Homestretch is a powerful, original perspective on what it means to be young, homeless, and building a future in America today.
In May 2010, Human Rights Watch published My So-Called Emancipation: From Foster Care to Homelessness for California Youth that documented the struggles of foster care youth who become homeless after turning 18 or "aging out" of state care, with insufficient preparation or support for adulthood. While exact estimates vary, research suggests that around 20 percent of the approximately 20,000 youth leaving foster care nationally each year will become homeless. Those who leave foster care with special needs often face a particularly rough road: mental health problems or cognitive limitations can bar entry to a transitional living program. So can being a parent. Youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender often have even fewer community resources and support to avoid homelessness.