Mythbusting Homelessness

Until each camera was switched on nobody knew how things would turn out.

Accumulated from public responses weeks before Homelessness Week began and laid in front of each group were several cards of written questions. There were no scripts, no pre-warning of questions and definitely no professional actors, just pure, honest and heartfelt answers.

The task seemed easy. Take a question, read it out aloud and then respond.

For the participants it was exciting, liberating and nerve-racking, for those behind the cameras there was apprehension.

Would the participants be offended? Is it wise to have “Are you drunk all the time?” as a question and would some people walk out in disgust? As the first individual reached towards a card there was no turning back.

After the initial shock of each question the stigmas and misunderstandings began to fall away as each participant guides us through their first-hand experience of homelessness, a situation many of us could never understand. What was clear is that everyone has a story to tell and those who have lived through homelessness perhaps more than anyone else.

Participants of the Mythbusting Homelessness Couch Conversation

Each turning of the card would bring on entirely different emotions. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, but always honest, raw and emotional. With a support person on hand participants shared their experiences freely with each other and the cameras.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside a group of such passionate and resilient people,” said Shelter WA Senior Communications and Marketing Advisor Heather Bush.

“To share personal experiences with others is brave, but to share those experiences on film which is going to be shared on social media is awe inspiring. Each person’s experience is so important it was decided almost immediately after filming to create eight short episodes, one per question, that will be posted on Facebook each week after homelessness week.

The first episode which premiered on Shelter WA’s Facebook page last week had over 4,000 views. We do hope that these stories can go some way to breaking down the stereotypes, stigmas and myths surrounding homelessness,” said Heather.

Watch the video here.

“Mythbusting Homelessness – We can answer that” would not have been possible without the support of Lotterywest, Beyond Bank and the Department of Communities.

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