For the five high profile Australians involved in the SBS program Filthy Rich and Homeless (FRH), who took 10 days out of their lives to experience what it is like to be homeless - it was a real life experience with long-lasting impact.
The social experiment threw all five celebrities out of their privileged lives and into the everyday struggles of Australia’s homeless population.
Almost one year has passed since series two was broadcast. All five celebrities – Skye Leckie, Benjamin Law, Alli Simpson, Alex Greenwich and Cameron Daddo – are still fuelled by their personal experience of homelessness and are using their position to raise awareness about the cause.
The event will raise money for the organisation and awareness about homelessness. FRH’s host Indira Naidoo, Daddo, Simpson and Greenwich will all join Leckie at the fundraiser to speak about their lived experience on the streets and what they learned.
Director of Thread Together, Greg Fisher, works with vulnerable Australians including homeless individuals every day. At one point in his life, Fisher was also homeless.
Fisher tells SBS he’s had contact with some of the show’s participants, in particular Skye Leckie, since FRH aired.
“One of the reasons people watched FRH was to see how celebrities coped [without a home],” says Fisher. “You can be cynical about it or you say that is life. But what FRH did was force politicians and the community into conversations about homelessness. And if the show raised awareness, then I am all for it.”
Leckie has also spoken about her lived experience of homelessness for charities including Lou’s Place, Wayside Chapel and Social Ventures Australia.
The socialite has continued to stay in touch with the young single mum, Selvi, who she met in the show.
“What my experience on FRH showed me is that these people are desperate, lonely and helpless,” Leckie tells SBS. “How could we turn our backs on them?
“I will continue to be involved with the people I met on FRH and the causes I am asked to support. I must admit, I surprised myself about how passionate I feel about this problem: but it is so real and it ain’t going away any time soon.”
Since the show aired, Law has gone on to support numerous youth charities.
In January, the writer got together with the Sir David Martin Foundation to raise awareness and money for Triple Care Farm – a rehabilitation program for vulnerable youth, 52 per cent of which have a lived experience of homelessness.
The fundraising event saw Law abseil 135 metres down a Market Street building in Sydney alongside some of the young people who are served by the charity.
As the writer wrote in a blog post, the adventure helped Law face his fear of heights, which is probably nothing compared to what vulnerable youth face in their lives each day.
Social media star, actor, model and singer – Alli Simpson – used her experience of homelessness on FRH to inspire a new song for the music charity MMAD (Musicians Making A Difference) in October last year.
Simpson first came across the charity during FRH. “My short homeless experience on Filthy Rich & Homeless was life-changing for me,” Simpson told MMAD. “I met MMAD when I was in a refuge and their music program was so inspiring, so now I really want to help them to reach more young people.”
The 21-year-old made the song, Concrete Pillow, with Sydney rapper D Minor, who has a lived experience of violence and homelessness. The song raised raise awareness and money for MMAD and their many charitable programs.
Alex Greenwich, MP
Alex Greenwich, the Member for Sydney, tells SBS he couldn’t go back to normal life after the series ended, without committing to take ongoing action.
“I’m more motivated than ever before to end the homelessness crisis and grateful for the platform that show gave me to make a difference,” Greenwich says.
Greenwich has since used his parliamentary position to call for a state of emergency for homelessness and ensure victims of institutional childhood sexual abuse get priority access to social housing.
“I’ve also worked with the NSW Government to commit to bold targets to reduce homelessness and ensure a number of important projects supporting people who are homeless are funded and their concerns heard by government.”
The politician has stayed in contact with a number of the disadvantaged people he met during the filming of FRH.
“My involvement in the show left me both frustrated at the state of homelessness and energised to make a difference. People are homeless because we do not have enough safe, supported, social, and affordable homes and I’m determined to see this fixed.”
Not long after filming FRH ended, Daddo created a new online initiative, Men’s Team, which is still running to-date.
The organisation is designed to give men, who are facing tough times, the resources needed to start a male support group. It aims to prevent homelessness by intervening before the individual gets to a point of crisis.
Men can also sign up to a newsletter and social media feeds to receive regular male-orientated inspiration and support to get them through life.
“The express intention of Men’s Team is to help men to support men in an alcohol-free environment, where you’re not giving advice but listening to other people and sharing your own experience,” Daddo previously told SBS.
Daddo has also spoken at various charitable events about homelessness including the Side by Side free long-table lunch, held by Wayside Chapel in October last year.
If this article has raised an issue for you or you/someone you know is in need of support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you have experienced sexual assault or domestic and family violence, you can also receive counselling, information and support through 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Filthy Rich and Homeless Season Two is available to watch on SBS On Demand.