Business supports first Newcastle screening of acclaimed documentary

Business supports first Newcastle screening of acclaimed documentary

Thanks to the support of business, civic and community organisations, Hunter Homeless Connect (HHC) is hosting the first Newcastle screening of a new documentary about the hidden faces of homelessness – older women.

Under Cover shares the often secret lives of an eclectic group of 10 women from across Australia. The 2022 film is narrated by Margot Robbie and was written, directed, and co-produced by documentary filmmaker Sue Thomson.

The film’s moving but optimistic portraits reveal the struggles these women face, while laying bare the flaws in our society, as well as our economic fragility in the modern world.

Hunter Homeless Connect Chair, Michelle Faithfull said the film shines a light on the devastating reality that women over 50 are the fastest growing group of Australians experiencing homelessness.

Michelle said local services are seeing a rise in Hunter women who, like the women in the film, are living in their cars, staying on friend’s lounges, or living in short-term accommodation or refuges. She said most people who are hidden homeless are women.

“Women are finding themselves in the uncertain and terrifying position of being homeless in later life because of unexpected life events after losing their job, escaping domestic violence or a relationship breakdown,” Michelle said.

“The impacts of these events are more pronounced for women because of underlying issues such as the ongoing gender pay gap and the lifelong gendered expectation of unpaid labour for caring roles,” she said.

“The women in the film have lived in nice houses, held down good jobs, some educated their children and then suddenly, through no fault of their own, they found themselves unable to pay their rent or mortgage. This is happening and could happen to many other local women.

“The film powerfully makes the important point that home is identity. A home is a holder of memories and helps shape people. Can you imagine your life without a home?”

Michelle will facilitate a speaking panel at the end of the screening to discuss the issues raised in the film and the local issues for women and homelessness.

Panellists include Film Director, Sue Thomson; Greens MP, Abigail Boyd who initiated a recent NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into older women and homelessness; Project Officer for Housing Older People’s Project, Seema Sanghi; Our Backyard/Car to Home Project Manager, Danielle Whyte; City of Newcastle Councillor, Dr Elizabeth Adamczyk; and CEO at Nova for Women & Children, Kelly Hansen.

Proceeds from the event will go to HHC’s Connecting the Hunter project.

An extension of its annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day, the program supplies food and haircut vouchers for use at local businesses. The vouchers are given to  local specialist homeless service providers and community service organisations to provide to clients.

Michelle said the fundraiser screening has been made possible through the generous sponsorship support of The Business Centre, Brave Media Network, Enlarge Living, Home In Place, Nova for Women and Children, City of Newcastle and Our Backyard.

The film will screen at Event Cinemas, Kotara on Monday 5 December from 5:30 to 8.30pm.


IMAGE | Hunter Homeless Connect Chair, Michelle Faithfull

Hunter Homeless Connect

Home matters. Help matters. Hope matters.

Hunter Homeless Connect (HHC) is a not for profit organisation working to build an inclusive community with zero judgement.

Supported by a community coalition of government and non-government services and volunteers, HHC supports people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Initially founded by community services volunteers in 2009, HHC holds an annual Connect Day where people can access a one-stop-shop of services, including free haircuts, massages, immunisations, birth certificates, bedding, phone cards, food, and clothing. Its popular Community Directory of Services is handed out at each event but is now distributed ongoing and is available online.

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