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Sacramento Professor to Release 3D, Virtual Reality Documentary on Homeless World Cup


A Sacramento State professor is set to release a 3D, virtual reality documentary of the Homeless World Cup street soccer tournament to raise awareness and shape perception about those who are unhoused. 

As reported by Sacramento State, the project is being led by Professor Diego Bonilla and is expected to be released in approximately four months. Filmed in the span of one week from July 8 to July 15 at the event in Sacramento,  Bonilla’s 3D, virtual reality documentary was filmed with a spherical camera that allows the filmmaker to record all angles and sides of the area. 

Featuring matches, ceremonies and interviews, viewers will be given a behind-the-scenes look into the event that’ll emulate being there in person, allowing them to turn or raise their heads for a 360-degree view. To prepare for the documentary, Bonilla used AI to sort through 700 articles about the Homeless World Cup soccer street tournament. 

Previously held around the world in places like Paris and Mexico City, the event features people who have struggled with housing insecurity or have been unhoused in the past year. As part of the project, the Sacramento State professor hopes that his virtual reality documentary will help raise empathy for the players. 

“Once people are homeless, they enter a sort of isolation that makes it extremely difficult to get back on their feet again,” said Bonilla, per the Sacramento State Newsroom. “If I can transmit that message, I am going to be successful.”

Globally, the levels of unhoused citizens continue to be on the rise, particularly in the U.S. 

Approximately 421,400 people living in the U.S. were left unhoused last year. Of this number, more than a quarter were left chronically unhoused with 127,750 individuals reporting that they were left without a home for about a year or more, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness

Since 2017, the rate of unhoused citizens has increased by approximately 6% each year, with issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the housing crisis.  While every demographic is impacted by the loss of housing, Black Americans are amongst those who suffer from unhoused issues at disproportionately higher rates. While they represent only 13% of the overall U.S. population, Black Americans make up 37% of the unhoused population nationally. 

Amongst the rate of unhoused families, Black American families make up over 49% of families, including children who are left without a home.

In cities such as NYC, the number is higher, with 56% of families in shelters for the unhoused being Black New Yorkers, according to the Coalition for the Homeless

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