Landmark observational documentary Struggle Street returns to SBS this week, to highlight the issues of disadvantage in rural and regional Australia.
When the Struggle Street cameras first filmed new subject Katherine, she was in tears. The stay-at-home mum, who lives in Wagga Wagga, NSW, had just discovered her Housing Commission home had been robbed and trashed.
Katherine lives with Mason, the father of her daughter Suzianna. But with Mason looking for work, the couple didn't know how they would even afford new locks for the house.
"The break-in was horrible," Katherine, 28, tells TV WEEK. "I felt like my whole entire world had been invaded. They [the intruders] really had taken a lot, and they'd taken a lot of sentimental things."
This is the third season of the documentary series about Australians doing it tough. It focuses on people in the Riverina region of NSW. In addition to Katherine, Struggle Street delves into the lives of 72-year-old tent dweller Bob and dairy farmers Barry and Rosey this week.
Where Katherine lives, in a southern suburb of Wagga, cars are often stolen and burnt out, and houses are sometimes burnt too. The break-in made Katherine question whether it was the right place to bring up her three-year-old daughter. She feared the people who'd robbed her house would return.
"Growing up, I was around some horrible things," she explains. "I was convinced they were going to come back while I was there or perhaps burn the house down. So I was scared.
"I literally was going to up and leave. I didn't think that I wanted to be there."
At the same time, Katherine says she truly loves where she lives, because of her good-hearted neighbours.
"If I was outside crying, they'd stop and make sure I was OK," she says.
"I could go and live in an area that might seem nicer, but I wouldn't know my neighbours. I'm pretty sure if they saw me crying, they wouldn't come and see if I was OK."
Struggle Street's season premiere airs Wednesday, 8.30pm, on SBS.
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