Filmmaker Jim Agapito worked with Sunshine House to create films documenting Sunshine House’s SURP (“Solvent User’s Recreation Project”) initiative. The program, a partnership with Mount Carmel Clinic, offered a series of 5 - 8 week modules that included bike repair, basic small building repair, boxing, auto mechanics, photography, drum making and a music module. Sunshine House aims to address issues of homelessness and substance use through innovative, fun and inclusive programming.
The project spawned a series of documentary films by Jim Agapito, photos and artwork by Chris Friesen and Matt Purchase, a “Get Lit” art installation by the Sunshine House Gang, and a musical performance by JD & the Sunshine Band, an actively performing group that formed directly out of the SURP music module.
Sunshine House is a harm reduction oriented drop-in centre in Winnipeg serving street-involved and homeless people, many of them affected by addictions, HIV and Hepatitis C. The objectives of the SURP program were to provide fun, recreational activities to enhance quality of life; improve motor function and physical ability; expand participants’ circle of social support and assess if participation in semi-structured programs helps stabilize other aspects of participants’ lives, including housing.