Last month our Southern Youth and Family Services including its Youth Foyer in the southern part of NSW was part of the SBS Documentary Filthy Rich and Homeless.
We asked the Foyer coordinator Belinda Manevski for her reflection of this experience:
It was a great experience to be a part of show which again puts a spotlight on homelessness and the devastating effects it has. It also highlighted youth homelessness especially in regional areas of Australia such as the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
Sharing their stories and views was very empowering for the young people who participated and it took lot of courage to do so.
One of the young people who participated in the filming of the Show and then watched it with his friends and Staff was very emotional and said to the Staff “Aren’t I lucky”. He was referring to the time when he was homeless, being bullied, felt unsafe then found SYFS and eventually was housed in the Foyer and has recently moved independently into his very own unit
The show exposed the terrible conditions some people are forced to live in, the lack of safety and vulnerability of homeless people, the low incomes and how this means people do not have enough money to pay for housing and that people do not choose to be homeless.
The show also had clear messages about how people need to be treated with respect and dignity, the importance of having quality crisis accommodation, the need for affordable transitional housing and support, the need for all different models of housing, and the need for increased social and affordable housing.
We have had lots of feedback and it seems it was very moving for many people and this can help change the community’s attitude to homelessness and what we need to do to address it.
For more info on Filthy, Rich and Homeless and to watch the episode, click here
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