‘Real people, real stories’: homeless people speak out

Stereotypical views of homelessness are shaken by four very
different stories shared this week by people who have experienced homelessness.

The Homeless
Persons’ Legal Service*
(HPLS) is helping people who have experienced
homelessness tell their own stories as part of National Homeless Persons’ Week,
2 – 8 August 2010. Kevin’s story is one example of the homeless experience:

‘I first became
homeless at the age of fourteen after my parents separated and my father threw
me out of home.

‘I spent 20 of the
next 30 years of my life living on the street. During that time, I saw many
unprovoked attacks on the homeless. On one occasion I witnessed two men throw
concrete blocks and beer bottles at a group of homeless people whose only crime
was trying to get some sleep.

‘What many people
don’t realise is that homelessness does not discriminate. Anyone regardless of
age, race, sex or social status can have something happen to them that might
cause them to end up on the streets. I have seen barristers, police officers
and public servants becoming homeless after something like a family breakdown
has occurred and sent their lives out of control.’

HPLS and Homelessness
NSW host a forum in Sydney today to explore human rights and homelessness.
Speakers at the Human Rights or Homeless Nights forum include representatives of Sydney’s homeless

‘Giving homeless people a voice challenges the community’s
stereotypes about homelessness. It also encourages governments and service
providers to take account of homeless peoples’ experiences when deciding policy
and delivering services,’ said the HPLS Co-ordinator, Ms Julie Hourigan Ruse.

Media are welcome to attend the Human Rights or Homeless Nights forum. It starts
at 9am on Monday 2 August 2010 at Minter Ellison, Level 19, Aurora Place, 88
Phillip Street, Sydney.

* The Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) is a joint initiative
of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Public Interest Law Clearing
House (
PILCH) NSW. PIAC receives funding from the NSW Attorney General, the
Hon John Hatzistergos
MLC, through the NSW Public Purpose Fund to
operate the Service.



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