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Peer Stories of Homelessness in Naarm

A double event presenting Homeless in Hotels, a three-part radio series documenting life in hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic and Bendigo Street, a film about political resistance through a housing occupation in Collingwood.

Peer Stories of Homelessness in Naarm

Meet the makers and hear the stories of people whose lives on the street became illegal during COVID-19, and folx who participated in the 2016 Bendigo Street campaign. Featuring a screening of the Bendigo Street documentary short film, an immersive audio gallery, project curios, and a panel discussion.

Taking place on Wurundjeri Country. We pay respect to ancestors, spirits and elders past, present and emerging.

Please register to attend. The talks and panel discussion will also be live streamed via Zoom

Curzon St Program, Saturday 13 August

2:00-3:00 pm – Audio Gallery of Homeless in Hotels: Health, Services and Peer Voices in the COVID-19 pandemic

3:00-3:15 pm – Welcome and Introduction by Carlos Morreo and Jasmine Barzani

3:15-3.40 pm – Sovereignty & Dwelling Justice, Uncle Larry Walsh and Robbie Thorpe

3.40-4.00 pmBendigo Street, film screening

4:00-5:00 pm – Panel Discussion and Q+A with Angela Edwards, Frank Hayes, Caitlyn Gough, Spike Chiappalone, Kelly Whitworth, David Boarder Giles and Jasmine Barzani

Homeless in Hotels

Can you imagine what was it like to be homeless in a city under curfew and in lockdown?

Homeless in Hotels: health, services and peer voices in the COVID-19 pandemic is a three-part radio series giving voice to the people who went from a life on the street to life in hotels and the support workers experiencing the shifting ground on the front line of COVID-19.

Hear how people managed their mental health, drug use and access to health services. Listen to the stories of how support workers experienced the shifting ground on the front line of the pandemic and learn how the law affected the homeless community when it was illegal to be on the street. Homeless in Hotels is a peer-produced radio series created in the studios of 3CR Community Radio.

Learn more about the Homeless in Hotels project.

Bendigo Street

Bendigo Street is a documentary about political resistance through a housing occupation in Collingwood that took place in 2016, directed by Jasmine Barzani.

On 31 March 2016, we occupied 16 Bendigo St and made national headlines, forcing the state government into an embarrassing confrontation. The protest drew the support of Wurundjeri and Kulin Nation community who helped us expose the myth of the contemporary housing crisis — housing deprivation and homelessness began with European invasion in 1788.

The documentary draws on conversations and interviews with activists involved in the 2016 Bendigo St squatting occupations.

Read more about Bendigo St.

Chip in and support Bendigo St.

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Date: 13 August 2022
Time: 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm Location: Ashis Nandy Room, IPCS

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Homelessness Housing Jasmine Barzani Kelly Whitworth



Uncle Larry Walsh

is a local Aboriginal cultural leader and storyteller. Much of his work is with the younger generations as he sees them as the torch-bearers of the future. Inspired by his local Aboriginal community and Kulin ancestral blood connections to Country, Uncle Larry is a senior Elder in Melbourne who working with storytelling to ensure the cultural continuity of oral traditions.

He has contributed to many organisations and cultural events over the years – Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC); the First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum; and the Tanderrum celebration at the Melbourne Festival, to name just a few.
Uncle Larry describes himself as a pure storyteller. He sees his focus being on the oral tradition – the story as an important expression and element of Aboriginal culture. He wishes to display that Aboriginal people live in the modern world as intimately as they are connected to their past.

Robbie Thorpe

is a Krautungalung activist and presenter of Fire First, Black Block and Beyond the Bars programs on 3CR community radio in Naarm/Melbourne. Robbie is one of the founders of Pay The Rent, an Indigenous initiative set up to provide an independent economic resource for Aboriginal peoples, and he advocated for the Aboriginal Passport initiative. Robbie participated in the Bendigo Street campaign in 2016 by hosting events and radio broadcasts on the street about sovereignty and decolonisation. Early in the campaign along with other Koorie activists, he established number 4 Bendigo Street a Sovereign House for Indigenous people. As of August 2022 Thorpe’s own story is being captured in a new documentary film, titled Our Warrior: The Story of Robbie Thorpe.

Angela Edwards

is a proud Yorta Yorta woman who has experienced long term homelessness. She was a participant of the Bendigo Street campaign where she occupied a house at the end of street. Through the campaign, Angela secured transitional housing where she now resides.

Frank Hayes

is a Koorie man from Gippsland who before getting involved in the Bendigo Street Campaign had experienced long term homelessness. In 2016, he occupied number 13 Bendigo Street and was an active participant in the campaign. Frank is a survivor of the stolen generations and was a target of police violence during his residency in Bendigo Street. Through the work of the campaign, Frank was able to obtain public housing where he now resides.

Caitlyn Gough

Caitlyn Gough is a peer featured in Homeless in Hotels. She is a proud and empowered sex worker who became homeless during COVID-19. Her life journey has been pathed with mental health challenges, substance use and sobriety, PTSD and all the good things in between. Her hotel homeless experience opened her eyes to the needs of the homeless community, especially the need for peer voices and experiences to be heard to break down stigma and misguided ideas about homelessness. She hopes that the stories told in Homeless in Hotels make change

Kelly Whitworth

produces Radical Australia on 3CR 855AM and previously worked on the peer homelessness show Roominations. She thinks peer-produced media is revolutionary. Kelly was a founding member of the Homeless Persons Union Victoria.

Spike Chiappalone

is a homelessness peer health worker in Melbourne. He co-founded the Homeless Persons Union Victoria and co-produced the peer homelessness radio show Roominations on 3CR 855AM. Spike has been collaborating on the peer homelessness resource Need to Know, a resource for those on the street in Melbourne.

David Boarder Giles

is Lecturer in Anthropology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University. He writes about waste, cities, and social movements. His current projects all explore the ways in which discarded surpluses—of people, places, and things—are circulated in “global” cities. These interests draw him into a range of spaces and problems, from the twin crises of food insecurity and food waste that plague so many cities, to the alternative economies established by dumpster divers and other urban scroungers, from the spectacular “world-class” image to which many major cities aspire to the prejudice and exclusion that shape public space and criminalise the existence of the homeless who sleep on their streets.

His book, A Mass Conspiracy to Feed People: Food Not Bombs and the World-Class Waste of Global Cities, is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Seattle and several other cities in the United States and Australasia with dumpster divers, squatters, grassroots activists, homeless residents, and chapters of Food Not Bombs – a global movement of grassroots soup kitchens.

Jasmine Barzani

is a gen-y Kurdish troublemaker who has worked with several groups including Food Not Bombs, Animal Friends Jogjakarta, 3CR Community Radio, Needle n Bitch, and Médecins Sans Frontières. She was one of the founders of the feminist housing collective called HUSK, an organiser of the 2019 IMARC protests and various projects such as the Lizard Bites Back and the Refugee Arts Festival. Jasmine’s involvement in radical-politics began in 2014 through squatting and attending anti-deport pickets at the Broadmeadows prison. Her involvement in social movements stretches from No Borders to Anti-Facism, and she believes in the imperative for radical media to popularise and expand liberatory struggles. She is currently directing a documentary film about housing, which uses her involvement in a 2016 direct-action housing campaign in (so-called) Collingwood to critique property and the coloniality of housing. Jasmine’s mother tongue is Sorani Kurdish and she is fluent in Persian and Bahasa Indonesia. She is currently based in the unceded land of the Woiwurrung but enjoys spending time outside of Naarm and learning new languages.