"A bigger, a deeper and more lasting...portrait of a situation." (read more...)


"Where The Homestretch most succeeds as a film lies squarely in its authentic, no-frills portrayal of what it means to be young and homeless in America." (read more...)


"The Homestretch follows three homeless Chicago teenagers striving to finish high school and make better lives for themselves. They navigate the turbulence of their own emotional growth even as their home lives constantly shift beneath them. The efforts of the teachers and adults helping the teens to succeed is inspiring." (read more...)


"The Homestretch reveals truths about race, class and opportunity in our own backyard and displays the tenacity of three homeless teens to reclaim and redefine a life of abandonment. These stories are complex. They are transformational. They are necessary." (read more...)


"In the end, Homestretch is story of a broken system, not broken people. After watching, one can’t help but wonder if a small tweak in policy could make a world of difference for thousands of youth." (read more...)


"It was different than a journalist going in and looking for a sound bite. This was something they really researched and prepared for." (read more...)

Tedd Peso, The Night ministry, NCFY Reports

"The Homestretch put a human face on the plight of homeless youth, exploring the lives of three young Chicagoans as they struggle to make a better life for themselves." (read more...)

Chaz ebert, chaz's blog,

"The Homestretch is a high quality film that provides a broad perspective and rare look into the world of three homeless teenagers struggling to obtain what most take for granted." (read more...)

Deidra N. Herring, Educational Media Reviews Online

"Homeless children are one of the most vulnerable and neglected segments of our society." (listen)

Rose Aguilar, San Francisco's KALW

"The Homestretch impact campaign targets federal and regional policy makers to change the current definition of homelessness to include youth." (read more) 

James Michael Nichols, Huffington Post

"The face of homelessness is not the stereotypical drunk on the corner...we're all one paycheck away. We're all one turn away." (listen...)

WGN Radio

"Ahead of the film is the release of an exclusive 15 minute video showcasing some LGBT-related stories. It was created with added scenes and never-before-seen footage that shine a spotlight on the estimated 40% of homeless youth who identify as LGBT." (read more...)

Brendan Davis, GLAAD Blog

"'This film will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you think,' says Kasey, one of the subjects of the film. 'It will warm your hearts.'" (read more...)

Anne M. DiTeodoro, Cleveland international FF

"These teens aren’t the typical faces of homelessness that has been ingrained in our heads." (read more...)

Adrian Gomez, Albuquerque Journal

"Think being a teenager was tough? Imagine going through that period without a steady roof over your head." (read more...)

Matt Smith, YOUTH today

"A great and inspiring documentary that everyone should see, especially Chicagoans." (read more...)


"The documentary dispels traditional myths about the youth homeless population." (listen to the interview...)

Pat O’Brien, The Adopting Teens & Tweens Radio Forum

"[The Homestretch] details the struggles of homeless Chicago teens, and was inspired by Kelly’s interactions with students in the CPS Shakespeare! program." (read more...)

- HEDY WEISS, Chicago Sun Times

"The difficult plight of three homeless teens in Chicago is the subject of this intimate documentary that provides an unsparing look at poverty and its human cost. While systems fail, these inspiring individuals seek a better life." (read more)

Tom Roston, moyers & company

"An inspiring documentary about homeless inner city children that exposes an under-discussed American epidemic and the strength of the human spirit to persevere where society fails." (read more...)

-David Shreve, Audiences Everywhere

"A November 6 film screening at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC, brought together federal officials, national advocates for homeless youth, educators, and the film’s co-director to discuss the challenges of and best practices for supporting and educating young people experiencing homelessness." (read more)

-Family & youth services bureau

"The Homestrech is not a whimsical documentary about kids. It is an honest and intellectually challenging look at the underbelly of American poverty and privilege, which succeeds in growing viewer empathy without ever becoming preachy or forceful with its message." (read more...)


"What is most special about The Homestretch is that it puts a voice, a face, a family and a community to the national crisis of youth homelessness. It humanizes the over one million homeless youth in our nation." (read more...)

Frank McAlpin, Hollywood progress

"One of the year’s best and most vital documentaries." (read more...)

Matt Fagerholm, INDIE OUTLOOK

"This school year, I would love to say, was the year Chicago got behind its homeless students and the organizations that support them." (read more...)

- Maria Rivera, HuffPost Blog

"The directors of the film, Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly, give visibility to an overwhelmingly invisible population, fixing the camera’s gaze on homeless youth." (read more...)

-NewCity, Best of Chicago

"This is an important film that people need to see... It's very heartbreaking, but it's also very inspirational... five minutes in, I was a wreck. It's a great story, a great film." (watch more...)

– Richard Roeper, Windy City Live

“Its intimacy is a reflection of its compassion and its brisk directness is in the mode of a police bulletin: this situation is a problem, the viewer has to multiply Roque, Kasey, and Anthony by a thousand to understand how big the problem is in just one American city." (read more...)

– Glenn Kenny,

“An unstinting look at the reality... It doesn't exploit its subjects. In fact, it films each in such a way that you feel very protective of them." (read more...)

– Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune

“Directors Anne De Mare and Kirsten Kelly persuasively indict America's failure to assist homeless teenagers, which a title estimates at 1.6 million people. Yet the stories they present are genuinely uplifting, charting the lives of three homeless Chicago teens as they find housing, complete their high school educations, and ready themselves for the adult world." (read more...)

– Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

“Dispiriting onscreen statistics include: 'There are 2,000-3,000 homeless youth out on the streets of Chicago every night' and 'There are more than 19,000 registered as homeless with the Chicago Public Schools.' This understated documentary, though, has no agenda to shame any one family or agency." (read more...)

– Bill Stamets, Sun Times

"The Homestretch isn’t a cliche story about teenage gutter punks.  None of the kids make a miraculous journey from homelessness to Harvard — and that makes all the difference." (read more...)

– Mark Konkol, DNAinfo Chicago

“Their compelling stories are presented in an unforced way that allows us insight into their lives and affords these teens the dignity and respect that they deserve." (read more...)

– Richard Knight, Windy City Times

“The strength of the film’s profiles is enough to give some hope — maybe not the hope of fixing our urban homelessness problems, but there is a clear awareness that there are people who are working really hard to make sure those who have fallen into this situation are cared for and have options to live a more comfortable life." (read more...)

– Aaron Pinkston, Battleship Pretension

“De Mare and Kelly's approach to the film's central figures is so compassionate that it branches out to everyone else we see...this is particularly true of the various people helping these youths... As affecting as these teenagers' stories in The Homestretch are, the accounts of their advocates are equally inspiring." (read more...)

– Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies

"'Is this the life I'm going to live for the rest of my life?' Those are the words spoken by one of the three young people at the center of "The Homestretch," a documentary that offers an unprecedented look into the day-to-day lives of three of the estimated 1.6 million homeless youth living in the United States." (read more...)

– Joseph Erbentraut, Huffington Post

"Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly spent lots of time in Chicago over the course of more than four years to shoot their new documentary The Homestretch, a co-production of Chicago’s Kartemquin Films that explores the growing problem of youth homelessness via the lives of several public school students." (read more...)

– Mike Thomas, Sun Times

"The devastation of watching these kids is realizing how much they have to give. Their lives are as valuable as mine, or yours, yet due to circumstances, they are given little-to-zero agency over the outcome. Our society operates on money, education, privilege equating access, whereas Roque, Kasey and Anthony are fighting for something as basic as wanting or needing shelter, a place to call theirs." (read more...)

– Fariha Roisin, Indiewire

"When you leave the theater, you leave knowing people who can succeed and have succeeded because of their enormous talent, skill, and the support of caregivers. And you know that many more kids could succeed, and probably won’t, because they didn’t get these breaks--through no fault of their own, but for lack of a social safety net." (read more...)

– Dr. Patricia Aufderheide, CMSI

"The Homestretch is ultimately a humane accomplishment, very much in keeping with a sentiment expressed by a worker from Chicago's Teen Living Programs to a room full of displaced kids: '[Homelessness is] a situation. It's not who you are.'" (read more...)

– Danny King, Village Voice

"The tribulations of high school are well documented, which makes the realities of this film all the more heart-wrenching. Directors Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly look at the lives of three homeless teenagers in Chicago as they struggle to graduate and transcend unthinkably difficult upbringings." (read more...)

– Stephanie Merry, The Washington Post

"As we delved deeper into the issue, we learned that so many of the homeless kids we encountered weren't rebellious runaways, but fierce survivors." (read more...)

– Interview by Melissa Silverstein, Women and Hollywood

"The Homestretch puts a face on the reality of teen homelessness often “hidden” in plain sight, sometimes silently sitting in high school classrooms unsuspected by classmates and teachers. The Homestretch is a story of poverty, violence, loneliness, and pain." (read more...)

– Bob Duggan, Big Think

"One of the best films to ever be made about the stigma of homelessness, Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly’s transcendent, thoroughly objective look at three Chicago teens forced to grow up too fast is heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure without manipulation of the audience.... It’s nuanced, thoughtful, impeccably detailed, and perfect in every possible way." (read more...)

– Andrew Parker, Dork Shelf

"[Social issue films] keep coming at a rapid clip. At the Hot Docs Film Festival, which ends this weekend, I saw a particularly good one, Homestretch, about the homeless youth in Chicago." (read more...)

– Tom Roston, POV Doc Soup

"The three main characters Kasey, Anthony and Roque are painted in this documentary as dynamic and spirited youth.  They are not defined by their situation.  Instead we see them as positive, effervescent and determined characters. " (read more...)

– thirty four flavours

"The Homestretch is the one to beat so far...despite the horrors and lack of support these kids have faced, the story is hopeful. They're thankful for every little thing they have. Inspiring doesn't begin to cover it." (read more...)

– Devon Murphey

"[The Homestretch] is brutally honest, and puts a very human face on street kids, none of them chose to be where they are, but it’s where they’ve found themselves...An important, and heartbreaking film." (read more...)

– Mind Reels

"One of my most anticipated films at this year’s Hot Docs is The Homestretch" (read more...)

– Christopher Campbell, Nonfics

"The Homestretch is an interesting and somewhat heartbreaking look at the lives of these youths, and thankfully, offers a few glimmers of hope in what seems like an insurmountable number of social issues." (read more)

– Pretty Clever Films

"A poignant project four years in the making, The Homestretch offers a rare glimpse into the Chicago Public School System, The Night Ministry's "Crib" Emergency Shelter and Teen Living Programs" (read more...)

– Windy City Times

"de Mare and Kelly aim to show their three teen subjects on their character arcs — and, through their specific stories, the broader issue of teen homelessness will be not only explored but given a face." (read more...)

– Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune