“I was curious as to why people were living in this situation, how they got there in the most liveable city in the world,” Marcus Crook says.
Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but it brought to life a passion within Crook and Nick Pearce. After meeting in 2013, they bonded over their shared passion for tackling homelessness.
Together, they founded HoMie – Homeless of Melbourne Incorporated Enterprises – a streetwear and social justice enterprise that provides employment and training opportunities, and new clothing to people experiencing homelessness through their Fitzroy store.
Though prior to this, neither had any experience working with homeless people – Crook dabbled in photography, and Pearce in media and communications. They simply took to the streets to talk to Melbourne’s homeless population, sharing the stories of the people they spoke to on their Facebook page, Homelessness in Melbourne.
“The conversations really opened our eyes to the fact that the stereotypical drug addict or alcoholic didn’t fit into the reality of who these people were. We wanted to dispel those preconceived notions and provide more insight into the fact that everyone has their own stories. It was confronting how close we were at times, or anyone could be, to that situation,” Pearce says.
That anyone could become homeless or in need at any time is a sobering thought. Of the 100,000 people who experience homelessness each night in Melbourne, only 6,000 are living rough.
“There’s 94,000 plus who we don’t see, who are couch surfing or living in their cars or supported accommodations. What we’re really advocating for is, there’s almost somewhat of a bigger issue behind closed doors, and we need to talk about that, and how to help these people.” Read more