Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Young people showcase their talents for Youth Homelessness Matters Day

Young people who have experienced homelessness last night demonstrated their exceptional talents behind the lens, producing short films to raise awareness of the plight of homelessness in the community.

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib last night congratulated Shiv Prasad, Ashley Wilson and James Sherwood who graduated from Foxtel’s Street TV production course, which helps young people who are without a home learn valuable media skills and move to longer-term study.

“The quality of the work that these young people produced was simply outstanding – the whole room was just blown away with their imaginative short films,” Senator Arbib said.

“I know that they have a really bright future ahead of them – possibly Australia’s next Baz Luhrmann, Philip Noyce or Peter Weir.

“Their films serve as a reminder everyone needs to work together to address homelessness and to embrace, foster and celebrate the talent of young Australians, particularly those in need of support.

“These young people have been given the opportunity to shine because of a fantastic partnership between Foxtel, Randwick TAFE and the Salvation Army.

“These organisations are passionate and committed to helping young people experiencing homelessness and helping them to find a better pathway forward.” 

Under the Street TV course, young people who are homeless are able to learn the skills of television and film production, including writing, sound, video, scripting, location planning and direction, as well as editing and post production.

“Most importantly, this initiative is about building young people’s self-esteem, confidence and self responsibility,” Senator Arbib said.

“Solving homelessness is not just about putting a roof over someone’s head. Providing education, training, mentoring and support for people to reconnect with the community is an important part of addressing the issue.

“Many people think homelessness is about older people sleeping rough in the streets – but we must never forget that there are around 44,000 young people under the age of 25 who do not have a home, something that many of us in Australia take for granted.

“They are often the ‘hidden’ homeless because often they are sleeping on mates’ couches. That’s why the theme of this year’s Youth Homelessness Matters Day, ‘Hide and Seek’ is so relevant.

“What’s critical is identifying these young people at an early stage, to prevent or intervene early in homelessness.

“Young people like Shiv, Ashley and James have so much potential and they deserve every opportunity – like all other young people in Australia – to be able to strive towards their goals, which is so difficult without a place to call home.

“I am extremely impressed with the resilience of these young people who have overcome their personal hurdles, completed this intense course, and produced exceptional works of art.

“Street TV is their chance to get their message out to the community.”

The Australian Government has made addressing homelessness a national priority and has invested almost $5 billion in additional funding since 2008 to house the homeless and provide better support and prevention programs. 

“The Gillard Government is continuing to support organisations, such as the Salvation Army, to deliver critical support services such as Reconnect and Emergency Relief, both of which are about helping people in crisis,” Senator Arbib said.

“Everybody deserves a chance to be the best that they can be – these films exemplify how one idea, one film, one helping hand can make such an enormous impact.”