From our comfortable lounge rooms, most of us think we know something of the homeless problem faced by the increasing number of Australians forced to live on the streets.
But living it is entirely different, as five well-known Australians have discovered.
Last year SBS Television launched the short series Filthy Rich and Homeless, which resulted in a huge response, says SBS’s director of TV and online content, Marshall Heald.
“Homeless organisations saw an increase in volunteers and donations—it helped spark a national conversation and exceeded our expectations. We hope to raise the bar even higher this time by introducing five Australians with the potential to elevate the national discussion and effect real change.”
Enter politician Alex Greenwich, actor and broadcaster Cameron Daddo, author and journalist Benjamin Law, Los Angeles-based actress and Instagram star Alli Simpson and Sydney charity queen Skye Leckie.
Over the course of the three-part series, our celebs have all their possessions and money removed from them and are sent to survive as rough sleepers on their own. After this, they stay on the streets with a real homeless buddy, and finally, discover the reality of life in crisis accommodation.
As one of the largest providers of services to homeless people in Australia, this series is close to the heart of the Salvos. In fact, the program quotes research by The Salvation Army, saying that only one in three people will give to those who beg for money.
That’s a reality soon discovered by socialite Skye, whose previous mantra was that anyone with drive can be successful. After just a day as a homeless person sleeping rough, she has already had several knockbacks when asking people for help. Her change of attitude from blithe confidence to shattered rejection is powerful, as is her experience of the one person who gives her money, food and coffee and tells her never to look down, but to look up, and see an angel.
By Day Two Cameron Daddo is rough-shaven and in tears, saying being homeless feels like you have lost everything. And he is shocked by the need to be hyper-vigilant, always being switched on to avoid danger.
The series is anchored by journalist Indira Naidoo and homelessness expert Dr Catherine Robinson, who warns our celebs that they will experience first-hand just how tough life is for homeless people forced to survive without a permanent roof over their head.
This program challenges us to see what it’s really like for people who are forced to live on the streets—something the Salvos know only too well.