BUM: 7 Days on the Streets of Melbourne

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More than 100,000 people in Australia live on the streets without any access to secure and adequate housing. Almost half of them are under the age of 25 and a little over 50% are male.

Melbourne is a modern city with beautiful architecture. Many of its homeless sleep under bridges, in alleys, and in abandoned buildings. A young film student, Callum Padgham, decided to spend a week on the streets of Melbourne with only the clothes on his back while his best friend filmed the whole event during the daytime.

On day one, after stealing a blanket to ward off the cold, he begs a few strangers for money to buy something to eat. People seem willing to give him their spare change. That first night he finds an abandoned building with a few pieces of furniture and spends the night there on a tiny rooftop.

The following day, as he sits on the street holding up two signs, local authorities tell him that he needs to have a busking permit. Of course, he can’t get one because he doesn’t have enough identification.

As the days go by, he starts to feel very lonely and sad and the cold is almost unbearable. He decides to look for a job, but everybody seemed to need him to hand in a resume. As a homeless man, he has no access to a computer. Finally at one fast food restaurant he is given a form to fill out but finds that he can’t answer most of the questions because he has no home address, no home phone, no mobile phone, and no legal identification.

Eventually he decides to go to the government office to seek some type of help. Then he goes to a local church. As each door seems to slam shut in his face, he is filled with anger and deep sympathy for those who are really homeless and don’t have the energy or motivation to go out every day begging for money to be able to eat, much less to look for a job.

Towards the end of his special project, Callum is filled with genuine compassion for the homeless and their daily plight. If only more organizations were willing to lend the homeless a hand and help them to recover their dignity. At the age of twenty, Callum expected to create a hit. Nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to learn on the streets.