Reporting on Homelessness in Australia. News articles by Ali MC proudly supported by the Yarra Creative and Engage Grant Program.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

2 people leaning on a wall. Person infront has a white shirt and the person behind has a red shirt on
Image: Troy and Cheryl recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary - more than 10 years of this was spent sleeping in the streets of Melbourne. Ali MC met Cheryl selling the Big Issue in 2018, which kickstarted the idea for this project.

Eight articles focused on homelessness have been published in Al Jazeera by Ali MC with the proud support of Yarra's Creative and Engage Grant Program.

Ali MC currently freelances regularly for Al Jazeera, covering both domestic (Australian) and international issues. His photography and writing have appeared in the Guardian, NITV, SBS and Right Now Human Rights. Ali will be discussing his research as part of National Homelessness Week on Tuesday 2nd August in the Richmond Theatrette at 6:00pm.

Ali writes :

"As a photojournalist I was honoured and thrilled to receive support from the City of Yarra to explore the issue of homelessness in Melbourne. Being provided with funding (which for all artists, means time) meant that I could spend two years researching and building networks - and most importantly, trust - with people who have experienced homelessness and relevant organisations.

The result is an 8-part series which was published in Al Jazeera media, which prioritizes the voices of people who have experienced homelessness, many in the City of Yarra. That the interviewees were gracious enough to share their stories and be photographed was the highlight of the project, and a huge learning curve for me to understand more about the issue of homelessness in our city.

The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic created huge challenges to complete the series - not least the impact on the homeless community - but with persistence, the series was completed.

Along with the 8-part series, I am also in the process of completing an exhibition and book concentrating on the story of key interviewees (and now friends) Cheryl and Troy. Remarkably, Cheryl and Troy recently celebrated their 25th anniversary - at least 10 years of which they spent sleeping on the streets.

My overall aim of this project has been to humanise the stories of homelessness. Personally, I believe people experiencing homelessness are highly stigmatised in Australian society, an attitude which filters into our lack of response to the growing crisis. I believe with greater understanding of such stories - which requires us to listen - that this stigma can be eroded and the crisis can be alleviated through action.

The other aim of this project was to provide a platform for people who have experienced homelessness to share their story. Too often such voices are marginalised and discarded, but I believe they should be front and foremost not only in the media, but in policy making and government response.

I hope in some way this series helps in alleviating the crisis of homelessness in Melbourne and provides a voice to an often-voiceless community."

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