There’s a crisis in Australia. More than 100,000 people have no place to call home.
And with house and rent prices rocketing - homelessness is a frightening possibility for more of us than ever before.
For five wealthy volunteers, it’s about to become a terrifying reality.
They’ve all agreed to swap their lavish lifestyles for 10 days living on the streets of Melbourne. They’re going to find out what it’s like to go from having everything to having absolutely nothing.
Preparing to live amongst Australia’s homeless are: Self-made millionaire Tim Guest, daughter of boxing champion Kayla Fenech, rags to riches beauty entrepreneur Jellaine Dee, third generation pub baron Stu Laundy and model & Sydney socialite Christian Wilkins.
Leading the five on this social experiment are presenter Indira Naidoo and homelessness expert, Dr Catherine Robinson.
The founder and owner of a multi million-dollar beauty and cosmetic company, 33 year old Filipino Australian Jellaine Dee, is a self-made success story.
But life wasn’t always this good.
As a child, Jellaine and her mother spent time in family refuges.
The experience gave her a first hand insight into what it’s like not to have anywhere to call home.
Having turned her life around, Jellaine has formed some strong opinions on Australia’s homeless population. She wants to meet those who’ve fallen through the cracks, and understand what can be done to help fix the problem.
The daughter of Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech, Kayla admits her childhood was far from run of the mill. She says she’s grown up spoiled, and that dad made sure she never wanted for
The 20 year old whose dream is to become a pop star admits she loves her hair straighteners as much as she loves singing.
But Kayla doesn’t take her pampered life in the Fenech family mansion for granted. She knows she’s been lucky and wants to open her eyes to the lives of those who are less fortunate than herself.
A self-made millionaire, 39-year-old Tim was financially retired by his late twenties.
Now a ‘financial educator’, Tim shows everyday Australians how to do the same, and believes anyone can hit the heights he’s reached if they put their mind to it.
A generous donor working with various charities, Tim’s frustrated more can’t be done for homeless people. But he also believes people have to take responsibility for their own lives.
Tim’s motivated to take part in this experience to explore his preconceptions, and be challenged by the homeless people he meets and educated by the situations he finds himself in.
A third-generation Sydney publican, 43-year-old Stu was born into an empire and has seen it grow into a multi-million dollar business.
Stu enjoys a work hard, play hard lifestyle. When he’s not in the boardroom, he enjoys cruising around Sydney harbour aboard his luxury super yacht.
If he were homeless Stu says he’d find a job some way, somehow. Starting at the bottom doesn’t worry him because he knows what it takes to get to the top.
The father of four has a compassionate side, and is motivated to find out more about homeless people and what the answers are to the problem.
Socialite, red-carpet regular and a bona-fide member of Australia’s entertainment royalty, the 21-year-old son of
television presenter Richard Wilkins lives his life in the spotlight.
Known to his social media followers as ‘The Prince’, Christian has always had the best of everything and loves being surrounded by supportive family and friends.
Christian admits he’s always had a safety net, a backup plan, somebody to pick him up should he fall. But he realises that for homeless people, that’s not what life’s like and he’s keen to meet them and hear their stories.
Indira Naidoo is one of Australia’s most popular broadcasters and authors.
During her 30 year award-winning journalistic career, Ms. Naidoo has hosted and reported for some of the country’s most distinguished news and current affair programs – including ABC TV’s Late Edition nightly news and as an anchor and reporter for SBS TV’s World News Tonight.
In recent years Indira’s journalistic interest has shifted to the role global environmental issues play in conflict, poverty, food security and homelessness.
She has been the media manager for consumer advocacy group Choice where she created the much anticipated, now yearly, Shonky awards, and in 2008 was a Geneva-based sustainability consultant with the United Nations’ trade development arm – The International Trade Centre. In 2009 Indira was selected from 2,000 applicants to be trained by former US Vice President Al Gore as a climate change presenter.
For the past 10 years Indira has been an ambassador for Sydney’s homeless crisis centre The Wayside Chapel. She has helped establish the Wayside Chapel’s award-winning rooftop vegetable garden, and conducts gardening and cooking classes for its homeless visitors.
Her first book, the best-selling The Edible Balcony, published in 2011, about growing food in small spaces, has been launched in London, Hong Kong and New York. Her second book The Edible City, about the Wayside Chapel and community gardening, was published in 2015.
Indira has designed two award-winning gardens for the Australian Garden Show Sydney in Centennial Park, and through her garden company helps community groups build their own
In 2017 Indira was a special guest presenter on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia program.
Dr Catherine Robinson
Catherine Robinson is a social researcher currently working in the NGO sector at the Social Action and Research Centre (SARC) at Anglicare Tasmania.
Catherine is an international scholar and national advocate on issues related to homelessness, including complex trauma and violence. She is a sociologist by training and has a broad interest in social suffering, compassion fatigue and ethics in research with vulnerable populations.
Catherine returned to Tasmania and joined SARC after 13 years as an academic at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
Her current research focuses on the needs and experiences of highly vulnerable teens in Tasmania.
Her key publications on homelessness include Beside One’s Self: Homelessness Felt and Lived (Syracuse University Press) and (with Chris Chamberlain and Guy Johnson) Homelessness in Australia (NewSouth Publishing).
Filthy Rich and Homeless airs Thursdays at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND.
The entire series is streaming at SBS On Demand: