Struggling to keep a roof over your head is now the reality for most Young Australians in Australia. It is a socially accepted rite of passage and their vulnerability, stress, and homelessness is just a ‘part of growing up’. We want to share true stories of how young Australians are living through this generational crisis, from the powerlessness of being a private renting, floating in and out of homeless situations, and the loss of hope for ever owning a home and starting a family.
We want to weave the different stories of renting as a young Australian in the city, and explore the hopes, struggles and fears that we all share. The film opens with archival footage of a happy young couple buying their first home in the 1950’s (in most expensive suburb in Sydney today e.g. Vaucluse), tagged with their ages, incomes and price of the home, a visual representation of the Great Australian dream. We cut to a quote of how achievable the dream of owning your own home was in the past, but that dream looks very different for young Australians today…
The film follows the journeys of five young Australians trying to surviving in the unforgiving housing market of Sydney. Amy, Ben, Charlie are sharing a 2 bedroom unit. We follow them through their first year renting their new apartment, trying to make rent, dealing with maintenance problems and all the while trying to avoid being evicted.
Dave & Erica, a young couple in their 30’s renting a 1 bedroom unit with a new baby. We follow their journey as they navigate the jungle of the auction market in search of a suitable & affordable home for their young family. Harry is young & homeless struggling to find permanent shelter. We follow his daily routine of survival, seeking shelter on couches, shelters and the streets.
In between the stories, experts and researchers provide context & explanations for why young Australians are struggling, and how we can begin to fix some of the many issues of the housing system.
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
Living in overcrowded, poor quality, and expensive housing is considered a rite of passage for young Australians. It is considered ‘normal’ and acceptable for young Australians to live in bad quality, overcrowded housing but unacceptable for older Australians to live under the same conditions. Young Australians do not receive the same level of government support to access safe and affordable housing. In Sydney, the most expensive city in Australia and one of the most unaffordable in the world, Young Renters (18-34yo):
Spend 56% of their income, on average, on housing costs
Make up 40% of the homeless population, with the majority living in overcrowded housing
55% reported experiencing discrimination in the rental market
The conditions for young Australians are vastly different to other generations before them, they no longer have the hope of ‘the Great Australian dream’, to own their own home and start a family. Most face a future shut-out of homeownership.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
Living in overcrowded, poor quality, expensive housing SHOULD NOT be considered a ‘rite of passage’ for young Australians. We want to change public opinion and convince political leaders to take immediate action to ensure all young Australians have access to good quality, affordable housing.
We want political leaders to provide more financial and services support provided to Young Australians (18-24yo) to access secure, affordable and good quality housing in Australia.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Increased understanding and awareness of the struggles of Young Australians in the current Australian housing market.
Increased public support for young Australians to access secure, affordable and good quality housing.
Increased understanding in Young Australians of how to access support and services to address rental issues
Increased Federal & State financial support and services for young Australians to access secure, affordable and good quality housing
Increased funding and support for young homelessness shelters, youth-specific community and social housing, and services
Increase in the supply of social and affordable housing that is available to young Australians.
It is no longer considered a rite-of-passage for Young Australians 18-24yo to live in overcrowded, poor quality, expensive housing.
Australian housing prices, both rental and ownership, have reduced to a level that is affordable to young Australians.
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
We will achieve our target impact by:
Producing the documentary with a focus on shareability, creating individual clips of interviews, to encourage young Australians to share clips of the film and their own stories through social media to encourage a great public debate on the issue of housing struggles in young Australians.
Providing key messaging and guidance in the documentary for young Australians to have an open honest conversation with their parents and other older Australians about their struggles, to help increase their understanding and awareness of the issue and to add their political support to the cause.
Providing a human face to the data and evidence of housing issues to support advocacy efforts.
Inviting political leaders to screenings to encourage them to support the key actions we are calling for.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
In developing this project, we have reached out to a number of advocacy groups who work exclusive in housing issues, youth issues and youth homelessness, including
Tenants Union of NSW
They have expressed strong support for this project and are happy to assist in its development and production by providing research, evidence and data. We are currently discussing the potential to interview representatives from each organisation to be included as part of the documentary.
Our research and story is driven by data and submissions written by these groups as well as other housing researchers. At the start of the year (Jan 2022) we invited young Australians as well as representatives from these advocacy groups (10 people) to a workshop to discuss the key messaging, impact and vision for the project.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
Signing an online petition for immediate action to improve support for young Australians to access secure, affordable and good quality housing including with key actions for policy change.
Invite their friends, parents and older family members to a screening of the film or a home viewing through a streaming service.
Share their own housing struggles and their vision for change and tag us on social media.
Share clips of the film through social media.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
Pre & Post-screening survey results from viewers to measure changes in attitudes. (number of attendees, demographics, etc)
News articles referencing the film when discussing housing affordability in young Australians.
Signatures supporting our petition.
Social Media Engagement (#generationrent use, views, comments, shares)
Quotes from shared videos from young Australians
Changes to State & Federal legislation that realise our key actions