Sydney's story is one of resilience amidst adversity. Born into challenging circumstances, he navigated his experience of homelessness with acts of kindness from the community.
Read Sydney's story here:
Nobody wants to sleep on the streets. Who wants to sleep on the streets, you know? I don't mean it in the wrong way, but when you're out on the streets, you're on the bottom of the ladder. It start's at the top, doesn't start at the bottom. People on the bottom can't change, because the top won't change. My name is Sydney from Melbourne.
Before I even breathed a breath of air, I was an addict because my mum was a heroin addict. So I already had problems at the start of my life. He was very strict with me, my old man. He put me through a private school. He got me tutors and shit, so I did really well at school. I just sort of... went my own way, you know. I moved out at home at a young age, at 15. I got involved in a serious assault, and... Yeah, and... I went to jail for five years. Yeah, that cost me a bit of my time and life. The prison will always provide you two nights accommodation, at least. They'll provide you a few nights accommodation. and go, "Here you go. I've helped you out. The rest is up to you." And I am appreciative of that. You've got to be appreciative for every little win you get. Every little win you get out there counts.
I very rarely slept on the street - like on the sidewalk. I tried to have a spot where I could go that wasn't in public view. Yeah, it is a little bit of pride. "Remember Sydney from school? He's sleeping on the street". Not so much that. It's just... I don't know. I didn't want people to have the opportunity to look down on me. I met this Aboriginal fella. He told me how he's going to try to help all the brothers out. He had all these big plans. And he was doing it too. He goes - "The only time I've ever looked down on someone... ... is when I'm giving them a hand up." And that's when he picked me up. He goes, "Come on, bro." We went and got a feed. He gave me some money. He said, "I wish I could take you home, but I can't." I said, "I'm right."
A lot of people are just in a bad rut. What I'm going through now, I'm in a rut. And some people just stay in that rut longer than others. My life's an open book. And I'm like that because I've walked down the... I've walked the hard line. I want to use my experiences and stuff to possibly help other people. They're going through the same struggles.
Melbourne is one of the world's most progressive and liveable cities, yet thousands of Melburnians are homeless today. We want more for Melbourne - a liveable city for all of us. We want to be Australia's first city to end street homelessness.
Together, we can make Melbourne a world-leading city in ending homelessness, starting with ending rough sleeping by 2030. Be part of change today. www.melbournezero.org.au