SBS’ critically acclaimed series Filthy Rich And Homeless will return for a third season, this year following LGBTQI individuals and their struggle with homelessness.

Set to air over three successive nights between June 9-11, Filthy Rich And Homeless will follow five high-profile Australians who swap their privileged lifestyles for 10 days of being homeless in NSW.

NSW is considered the epicentre of the homelessness crisis, with the number of those sleeping rough higher than any other state in Australia. These numbers are only increasing further.

The latest census data shows a 35 per cent increase in those who become homeless – mainly due to a lack of public housing and severe rental increases. These contributing factors are only compounded further in regional NSW.

While the last Census showed 116,000 people in Australia have no place to call home, LGBTQI Australians are at least twice as likely to experience homelessness – as well as more likely to experience homelessness at a younger age. As was the case for Eden, a homeless trans woman, the leading cause of homelessness for LGBTQI people is family breakdown.

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 On Tuesday at 8:30 pm on SBS, actress and model Ellie Gonsalves will be paired up with Eden for 48 hours to experience what life is like for her.

Transgender people are more likely to be victims of physical and verbal abuse both at home and on the streets.

Speaking to Star Observer from a phone in the Wayside Chapel Church in Kings Cross, Eden said that while she and Ellie became close during the experience, it is a friendship that she was not expecting.

“I was a bit apprehensive because Ellie is from another world, so to speak. I didn’t know what to expect… I didn’t know her, so I found that daunting,” she said.

“I didn’t expect us to get along as well as we did. I have the highest regard for Ellie… she’s incredible. Her compassion, who she is as a person, her personality. I’m so glad our life paths crossed.”

Eden, who is still currently homeless due to the “constant yo-yo” of temporary accommodation, hopes that this season allows people to see homelessness in an authentic light.

“I am homeless, but I do what I can to not look the part so to speak. People don’t actually know I’m homeless till they actually talk to me about it,” she told Star Observer. 

“I hope when people see the show, they realise homelessness isn’t necessarily the stigma of a person sleeping in the gutter with ripped clothes, it goes deeper than that. People become homeless for many reasons. It’s not a choice.”

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 While filming took place before the COVID-19 pandemic, Eden noted that the pandemic compounded the stresses of being homeless.

“When it [the pandemic] started, it was overwhelming as it’s the sort of thing you only see in the movies, but it was actually happening. In the beginning, it was daunting, and I got very emotional – thinking what is going to happen to all of us.”

Produced by the award-winning film company, Blackfella Films, Filthy Rich And Homeless has reshaped the national discussion on homelessness since its premiere in 2017.

This year, filming took place in multiple locations across NSW, including Central Sydney, Western Sydney, and regional cities and towns including Newcastle, Wollongong, Dapto and Nowra.

Guiding the participants on their journeys are journalist and advocate, Indira Naidoo, and social researcher and homelessness expert Dr Catherine Robinson.

As well as Ellie, audiences his year audiences will follow Emergency Doctor and Businessman, Dr Andrew Rochford; Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Arron Wood; Restauranteur and Entrepreneur, Pauline Nguyen; and Comedian/Radio Presenter, Ciaran Lyons – as they experience different forms of homelessness first-hand.

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 Each participant gives up their phones, ID and money in exchange for second-hand clothing and a sleeping bag.

Speaking to Star Observer, Ellie noted her distress at realising the disproportionate number of transgender and gender-diverse people experiencing homelessness.

“Honestly, when I first met her, we had a genuine connection and just clicked. She’s the sweetest and most generous person that I’ve met.

“I’ve never really been extremely close with someone who is transgender, so it was just a completely new experience for me. To hear about her struggles and what Eden battled every day, it was an eye-opening experience.

“To hear how many transgender people are sleeping rough was such a shock to me. It is such a delicate situation that should be supported by people around that person. But now I know the reality.

“People are kicked out of their homes. They’re victims of domestic violence, all of these things that put transgender people out on the street. It was really confronting hearing Eden’s experiences. She was heckled on the street and how she’s treated by everyday people – it’s just disgusting and cruel.”

Blackfella Films Producer, Darren Dale, and Filthy Rich And Homeless Producer and Writer, Jacob Hickey, iterated that the third season of the shows aims to hit harder in areas of public awareness. Specifically, with the hopes of appealing to those in power to make more significant efforts towards effective change.

“Our aim with this third season is to raise the bar even higher in terms of the public’s awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding homelessness,” they said.

“This crisis is getting worse, not just in the cities but regional Australia too. And so 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.”

To help people like Eden head to GoFundMe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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