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Acclaimed documentary to raise funds for Newcastle support network

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A local support network, Hunter Homeless Connect (HHC), will host the first Newcastle screening of a new documentary about the hidden faces of homelessness – older women.

Under Cover, to appear at Kotara’s Event Cinemas on Monday December 5 from 5.30pm, shares the often-secret lives of an eclectic group of 10 females from across Australia.

The 2022 film, narrated by Hollywood star Margot Robbie, was written, directed and co-produced by Sue Thomson.

The movie’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 shone a light on the devastating reality that those over 50 were the fastest growing group of Australians experiencing homelessness.

“Local services are seeing a rise in Hunter women who, like the women in the movie, are living in their cars, staying on friend’s lounges or living in short-term accommodation or refuges,” she stated.

“Sadly, the majority of people who are ‘hidden homeless’ are female.

“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.

“The impacts are more pronounced for them due to underlying issues such as the ongoing gender pay gap and the lifelong gendered expectation of unpaid labour for caring roles.

“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 locals.

Under Cover powerfully makes the important point that home is identity.

“It’s a holder of memories and helps shape people.

“Can you imagine your life without a home?”

Ms Faithfull will facilitate a speaking panel at the end of the screening – which includes Thomson; Greens MP Abigail Boyd, who initiated a recent NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into older women and homelessness; Housing Older People’s Project officer Seema Sanghi; Our Backyard/Car to Home project manager Danielle Whyte; City of Newcastle councillor Dr Elizabeth Adamczyk and Nova for Women & Children CEO Kelly Hansen – to discuss the issues raised in the film, as well as local concerns.

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.

Tickets, which include grazing tables and a drink in arrival, are available at https://events.humanitix.com/under-cover-the-hidden-faces-of-homelessness or via links from the Hunter Homeless Connect website at www.hunterhomelessconnect.org.au.

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