In the Public Eye: personal stories of homelessness and fines
Anthony, Richard, Emma, Darren, Hamish* and Julia* remind us that homelessness can happen to anyone at any time in their lives. Different factors pushed each person into homelessness, including job loss, an uncertain and unaffordable private rental market, battles with substance use and relationship breakdown.
While homeless, they received thousands of dollars in fines for 'public space offences' like travelling on public transport without a ticket, being drunk in a public place and begging.
They talk about being homeless and living in the public eye and the risk of being targeted by officers giving fines. They call for greater insight from the people who give fines. They ask the very sensible question: what's the point of fining people who clearly can't pay?
The current fines system in Victoria does not address the underlying causes of a person's offending.
Fining people for being homeless is not the solution - there is a better way.
We are grateful for the generous contribution of the six people who dedicated their time to share their insights about being homeless and getting fined. We express our sincere thanks - it was a privilege to work with each of you.
Homeless Law conveys its enormous gratitude to Jon Frank and Marieka Jacobs from Quiver Communications whose film and photography expertise captured these personal stories so beautifully.