Anne Kidd is a qualified social worker who has worked in the community welfare field for the past 24 years in Melbourne Australia. She has worked in child protection, the adoption area, home based care, a crisis accommodation service for homeless young people and with adults who have experienced long term homelessness. Anne currently works with Forgotten Australians, adults who as children were placed in state institutional care such as children's homes and orphanages.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing The Meaning Of Home became quite a passion for me. Writing became my creative outlet and helped me make sense of the work that I was doing with those experiencing a life of homelessness. The writing helped me question my own belief system and what is really important in life. The joy was and still is in the creative process and the freedom of following my thoughts through the actual writing process. The joy is in writing about the small things that take my eye in the hope that my writing might also interest or resonate with others. Writing is my quiet time and a time of deep reflection and I like that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I worked as a case manager in a program to assist long term homeless people access safe, stable, affordable and long term housing. I learnt how difficult this can be as it is not an immediate thing that just happens. Firstly there is a shortage of good local community, social housing and public housing. There are long waiting lists. When housing does eventually become available it might not be in a person's area of choice and near their social networks. Secondly, stable housing also does not immediately fix lots of other problems long term homeless often struggle to overcome due to their circumstances. So my aim in writing this book was to show how difficult life can be for some people who have never had stability in their lives due to early childhood trauma, ongoing mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues, fractured family relationships and little support. Those experiencing a life of homelessness are also often misunderstood and judged. There are many myths associated with homelessness and I wanted to dispel those myths. It can be difficult to gain acceptance and to be socially included. I wanted to shed light on their stories and struggles to show the importance of what home means and that home in fact means different things to different people. It is not just a roof over your head: it can and does mean more than this.
This book explores the notion and meaning of home from various perspectives. It is about what it is like to live and experience a life of homelessness in Melbourne. Despite the awful things that happen in the lives of the nine people; the violence and drug use and the toughness of life on the streets, it is full of hope.