Stories of homelessness 

As part of Homelessness Week 2022, the Town of Victoria Park commissioned the Centre for Stories to help a group of people with lived experience of homelessness to document their stories, resulting in the below collection of intimate recordings.

The project was established to acknowledge that homelessness can be defined in many different ways and affects many different people.

This project was funded by The Town of Victoria Park and put together by the Centre for Stories.

Jonathan Shapeira – ‘More than four walls’ 

Jonathan Shapiera went to a private school, then on to university where he got a degree in science, and joined the Royal Australian Navy and travelled for years before he worked in IT and became a project manager; but when contracts dried up and he couldn’t afford rent, he had to live in his car with his 16-year-old son in the heat of Darwin. But his story is not about his experiences of homelessness, but what happened after – which included three major surgeries and more visits to the hospital than he can remember.

What he wants now is to see the government take more action to prevent homelessness, because from his time sleeping rough he knows it’s one of the worst things someone can experience.

Please note there is a trigger warning for suicidal ideation for this story. 

Listen to Johnathan's story

Victor Adeseolu – ‘Based on my Visa’

When Victor Adeseolu migrated from Nigeria to Australia to pursue his studies with hope for a better future, he didn’t know the definition of homelessness, let alone that he would experience it – but that’s what happened when he found himself between jobs and travelling from Perth to Bunbury for classes.

For Victor, and many other international students, COVID only exacerbated the challenges they already faced and when they needed support the government and many universities failed them.

Now Victor is a social worker supporting other international students with a different hope for a better future. 

Listen to Victor's story

Zena Ibrahim – ‘Resilience is not an achievement’

While studying dentistry, Zena Ibrahim experienced homelessness twice. Community and friends, and sometimes someone going above and beyond in their job, was the only thing that kept them from the knife's edge. After they graduated, they started to build financial security but, as dentists work for commission, this became impossible when the pandemic hit, and Zena’s life was thrown into uncertainty again.

These experiences have had a long-term impact, and Zena is not here to share a happy ending, but their own kind of reckoning.

Please note there is a trigger warning for attempted suicide in this story. 

Listen to Zena's story

Tilly G – ‘Dwelling’

When Tilly graduated from Year 12, she didn’t have stable accommodation, and when she graduated from university several years later and this was still the case, she realised that her experiences might not be considered ‘normal’. It took her years to realise that homelessness encompasses more than sleeping rough, and even longer to realise it applied to her situation.

Today, the impact of these experiences persevere because Tilly knows that homelessness waits around every corner.

Listen to Tilly's story

Trish Owen – ‘Finding home’

Trish Owen was a single mother struggling with mental health issues and substance use while experiencing homelessness, so she was given emergency housing.

While she is grateful that the system caught her, she knows that people fall through the cracks far too often, so today she works as an advocate for hope.  

Listen to Trish's story

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