Evansville Native's Life on Skid Row Depicted in Hollywood Movie

Published 02/10 2014 06:08PM

Updated 02/10 2014 06:40PM

The issue of homelessness and mental illness is depicted in the 2009 film "The Soloist". One of the actors is Evansville native Terri Hughes. And she says she personally knows the plot all too well. Hughes shares more with Eyewitness News on how she overcame her battle with homelessness. As part of USI's symposium on homelessness -the film "the soloist" will be shown this evening. In that screening tristaters will see Evansville native Terri Hughes in a role that closely aligns with her own life.
"On skid row, I've seen people from the ages of 15, 16,17,18,all the way up to 90", says Hughes.

In the film, "The soloist"; Terri Hughes plays herself as a homeless 88 pound drug addict suffering from mental illness and  living on Skid Row. In the documentary  'lost angels' hughes describes her downward spiral into living on the streets.Homelessness to hughes is a small part of a larger issue in our society.

"I really want to get the message out that homelessness has nothing to do with having a roof over your head", she says.

Hughes was born in Evansville and adopted into a family in California where she says she didn't lack for anything.

"I grew up with housing... food, shelter and clothing; I went to a very nice school".

But that didn't last forever. After dealing with a divorce and the death of her father, Hughs eventually found herself on L.A.'s Skid Row.  Some of the issues facing her were a broken spirit, mental illness and physical insecurities.

"You have these three things that you're dealing with; You put them all together and that's called homelessness" Hughes added.

Three struggles she says can lead anyone to drug and alcohol abuse and they are topics that are still taboo for some.

"We wouldn't talk about not having enough food or not having housing or mental illness , who talks about mental illness?!"

Hughes  is talking to dispell what she calls misconceptions about homelessness and to encourage those who need help to seek it.

"Today there's help.  I'm living proof that there's hope".

Hughes is the Keynote speaker at U.S.I 's symposium on homelessness. She spoke just before this evening's screening of the movie, "The Soloist" and will speak again tomorrow morning at the University.

Report by Fadia Patterson

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