“I’m not homeless. I’ve got a home – it’s Byron. I just don’t have a house.”
Anonymous, Community Breakfast, Byron Bay
Most Australians find it hard to look at a ‘homeless’ person. They prefer to stare straight ahead and pretend that the hungry, damaged and lonely human being in their peripheral vision simply doesn’t exist. Apparently, it’s just easier that way. If refusing to even make eye contact is hardwired in the masses, then talking to them and listening to their stories is out of the question.
This book gently addresses that callous disconnect by giving otherwise stifled, invisible Australians a face and a voice. By exploring the stories of people from around Byron Bay who’ve fallen through society’s cracks, readers can only better understand some of the common trajectories of disenfranchisement – and what a truly horrible thing it is to be without a home.
People of no fixed abode are in the critical eye of those who live comfortably and don’t want their neighbourhoods to play host to ‘social misfits’ and ‘undesirables’. They have no money and therefore, in the eyes of our consumerist world, they don’t contribute to the economy. It’s sad to admit but if a human being has no money then, as far as capitalist society is concerned, they have no worth. They become invisible and almost cease to exist. The photographs and stories in this book prove otherwise.
Without these brave men and women who have been prepared to share their experiences from life on the periphery – no matter how uncomfortable the experience – there’s little hope we will ever bridge the gap. So the next time you see a ‘homeless’ person, consider that it might be your turn to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact, don’t hesitate to smile, and don’t think twice about saying g’day. It could only start to make life a little better – for both of you.
“Every person has a story. And everyone’s story is unique. This book is full of the stories of people who walk our streets but often remain unseen or unacknowledged. It’s a tribute to unique lives that matter, despite whatever struggle or present circumstances they face. There’s great heart here, and honesty. No Fixed Abode deserves pride of place in a community such as Byron Bay.”
Tim Costello, chief advocate, World Vision Australia
“I’ve asked myself how I’d cope with homelessness. The answer is, I wouldn’t. These extraordinary stories reflect a social divide that should not exist.”
Kerry O’Brien, journalist, author, tv presenter & interviewer
“An astonishing book… the photographs by Drew of these homeless people are brimful of humanity, almost glamorous… heartfelt stories by the writers… I hope one of these days a book like this won’t be needed.”
Craig McGregor, writer, journalist, & academic