This year VICE spent four months at the Stay Inn; the infamous Melbourne residence best known for the lowest Tripadvisor rating in Victoria. But while reviews left by tourists complain about boarded up windows and bullet holes, the Stay Inn is far more complex than a simple dive.
Most of the guests are individuals whose lives have been devastated by drugs, sexual abuse, crime, and mental as well as physical illness. They end up at the Stay Inn because cracks in the public support networks have left them with nowhere else to go. Without the hotel’s manager Phil, and the support of the hotel staff, they would become homeless.
During our months at the Stay Inn we witnessed the impact of individual altruism on a community, and got to know the residents as they worked to break out of cyclical poverty.