The harsh realities of street life have been laid bare in a new documentary starring prominent youth worker Les Twentyman.

The Westside Watchman was launched on YouTube last Thursday and details Mr Twentyman’s decades of work on the streets with young people.

The 18-minute video shows footage of Mr Twentyman working with street gangs in Los Angeles in the 1990s, a 16-year-old found unconscious in a Footscray laneway after shooting up, and it also delves into today’s ice epidemic, youth homelessness and street violence.

The documentary was shown at a special advance screening early last week to raise money for the 20th Man Fund’s annual kids’ Christmas party. The event raised $1000.

“It was a bit awkward sitting around with all these people, watching myself,” Mr Twentyman said. “Some of the footage went back to when I had a mullet.

“There was also footage from some news stories I did back in the 1990s.

“It’s about the issues we face today, with homelessness and poverty and unemployment and drugs, but swings into a positive mode with the kids at the basketball centre in Braybrook, and doing some rap and dancing.”

Mr Twentyman said it was important for everyday Melburnians to know how the other half lives.

“Our welfare system is dysfunctional, our jails are full, we’re dealing with drugs and gangs, but people can make a difference,” he said. “

Only by knowing it’s a problem, you have the ability to take the baton and do something.”