Filthy Rich and Homeless

As the minister at Richmond Uniting Church I regularly spend time with people who are experiencing homelessness.

People who have, very often, had a series of devastating experiences and who are now close to rock bottom. People who still maintain a sense of humour and warmth. People who are making the best of awful situations. At Richmond Uniting we are committed to seeking to welcome all people, including people experiencing homelessness.

At times the rhetoric around homelessness is that people have ‘failed’ at life, or somehow deserve to be where they are. When you don’t know someone, or their story, it is very easy to dismissively make judgements about their lives. But when you stop and spend time with people, not only does fear fall away, compassion grows.

If you have not had much to do with people who are experiencing homelessness, I encourage you to take a look at SBS’s Filthy Rich and Homeless 3 Part Documentary (see the link below). It would be excellent if this was compulsory viewing for all policy makers at local council, State and Federal Government levels, as well as everyone else.

In Australia we could build a creative, compassionate, prudent multilayered approach to responding to homelessness, that included emergency and longer term housing solutions, as well as ongoing care for people dealing with long term trauma.

If you do watch the documentary and want to get involved in making a better society, there are many ways to be involved in responding to homelessness. You could start by stopping, and talking with and listening to, people who are homeless.  There are also lots of groups doing great work, some are mentioned in the documentary, there are also groups like Orange Sky, and, locally, Richmond Churches Food Centre, who daily work with people who are experiencing homelessness and you could get involved.

You might also want to let your local member know you have seen the documentary and think things should change.

Thank you to the makers of Filthy Rich and to all those who were willing to share their stories with the nation in this documentary.

Every blessing as we continue to seek compassion in our beautiful, broken world.


Rev Dr Sally Douglas