‘Where ever I lay my hat is my home’, goes the old saying. An arts project in Melbourne is currently exploring what it means to be home. Is it a place, a feeling, a person? Is home really just the place you ‘lay your hat’?
Over the next two weeks the Arts Centre is running a project called Home, which invites members of the public to take part in a huge range of activities, from dancing to painting and talking, that make people think about the question – what does home mean to me?
The Council to Homeless Persons is hoping to use the Home project to expand people’s understanding of what it means to have a home, and what happens when someone loses their home. As part of the project we’re creating a safe space on the Arts Centre lawn where the public can come and speak to people who have been homeless (and in some cases, may still be experiencing a form of homelessness).
The City of Melbourne’s StreetCount last year showed that the number of people sleeping rough in Melbourne is increasing, with 142 people now sleeping rough in the CBD. Statewide, the number of rough sleepers swells to 1,092 according to the last Census statistics. But homelessness isn’t just houselessness, as this this video discusses.
Many Victorians are sleeping on a friend’s couch, or their car, or a rooming house, caravan or motel room. These are all forms of homelessness. Across Victoria every night, nearly 23,000 people are without a home. Last year we asked a group of young people what they would miss if they became homeless, and their range of answers reflected the complexity of the idea of home. The video can be seen here.
As part of the Home project 7,000 little houses have been decorated by people from all over Victoria, reflecting their individual ideas on what home means. Each little house has an identifying number, and they’re being placed all over the city. People are encouraged to pick one up, move it, photograph it, and share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #homemelb. Here’s a photo of our CEO with one of the little houses at CHP’s offices.
We’re delighted that the Arts Centre are getting people to think about the concept of home, and as part of that CHP is collaborating on a series, ‘Conversations About Home’, that invites people to ask questions and think about the idea of losing your home. On Saturday 17th and 24th January, CHP will have a marquee on the Arts Centre lawn where you’ll have the chance to make your own little house, and also have conversations with people who have experienced homelessness.
Members of CHP’s Peer Education Support Program, comprising of people with a lived experience of homelessness, will be there to create a safe place to discuss these ideas which can be confronting.
There are no taboo questions, and you’re encouraged to come along and have an open dialogue about home and homelessness. You can also contribute to our thought wall which asks ‘What would you miss if you were homeless?’
We hope to see you there.