Rough sleepers offer snapshot of life on the streets
A PHOTO exhibition launched yesterday afternoon has given homeless people the opportunity to document their own thoughts on living life rough.
Connecting Homes team leader Holly Loveday came up with the idea to give clients digital cameras and the opportunity to speak out through photography.
"Our aim was to show that sometimes portrayals of homelessness can look very different to what we see and the people we're working with," she said.
The photos will be on display at the Dragonfly Cafe in Carrington St, Lismore, until Saturday as part of national Homeless Prevention Week.
Cafe owner Lisa Yacopetti said she was happy to jump onboard.
"It's just bringing awareness to the crisis that is homelessness in this area," she said.
"(The photos) are really honest and I think they reflect the truth of the people who are actually struggling for housing and fulfilling their basic needs."
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 20% of New South Wales' rough sleepers are in the Northern Rivers.
Ms Loveday said about 10 Connecting Homes clients took part in the exhibition.
"I've been amazed ... when we first thought about it we were worried that people who were in crisis or whose lives might be a bit hectic wouldn't be up for it," she said. "But the response was pretty overwhelming."
One of the photographers, Michael Levett, had no previous experience with cameras but he said he looked forward to taking more photos in the future.
"I had a picture of an alien with a lighter, myself outside my cabin, and I took a self portrait," he said.
Mr Levett said he took part because it was important to raise public awareness about homelessness.
Ms Loveday said she hoped the Homelessness Exposed photo exhibition could be displayed at other Northern Rivers towns including Casino, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads.