Australia’s homelessness crisis is getting worse. The last Census showed 116,000 Australians have no place to call home.
Since its premiere in 2017, Filthy Rich & Homeless has sparked a national discussion on this issue, more pertinent now than ever.
Produced by award-winning Blackfella Films (First Contact, DNA Nation, Deep Water: The Real Story), Filthy Rich & Homeless follows five high-profile Australians who swap their privileged lifestyles for 10 days of homelessness in NSW. In place of their phones, ID and money, they’re given second-hand clothing and a sleeping bag. That’s it.
The five participants this season – emergency doctor and businessman Dr. Andrew Rochford, Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne Arron Wood, restauranteur and entrepreneur Pauline Nguyen, comedian and radio presenter Ciaran Lyons and actress and model Ellie Gonsalves – experience different forms of homelessness, from sleeping rough on the streets to living in crisis accommodation and marginal housing, including boarding houses and caravan parks.
New South Wales is at the epicentre of this crisis, its number of rough sleepers higher than any other state, with a 35 per cent increase in the latest census. In regional NSW, there is a chronic lack of public housing and severe rental stress. Filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic, locations include central Sydney, Western Sydney, and regional centres and towns including Newcastle, Wollongong, Dapto and Nowra.
Meeting those who live without a home every day, the five participants hear their heartbreaking stories of survival and gain a unique insight into and understanding of what leads to homelessness. They also meet professionals at specialist services who are trying to end homelessness with innovative and successful initiatives, and crucially, see first-hand the acute need for affordable housing, services and wrap-around support, beyond basic shelter.
Guiding them are acclaimed journalist and passionate advocate Indira Naidoo and social researcher and homelessness expert Dr Catherine Robinson.
Dealing head-on with homelessness, by journey’s end, perceptions have been challenged, views changed, and compassion and understanding deepened.
Blackfella Films producer, Darren Dale, and series producer and writer, Jacob Hickey, said their aim with this season is to raise public awareness of this national crisis even higher.
“We hope this series will have a genuine impact, inspiring and influencing those with the power to bring about the long-lasting change that is so desperately needed.”
Filthy Rich & Homeless premieres over three consecutive nights – June 9, 10 and 11 – on SBS at 8:30pm. The show will be available at SBS On Demand after broadcast, including in subtitled Simplified Chinese and Arabic.
Filthy Rich & Homeless is produced by Blackfella Films for SBS with the assistance of Screen NSW. It is based on a format created by Love Productions, broadcast by the BBC in the UK and distributed by BBC Worldwide.
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The series was produced and completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.