Finalists Announced for the Victorian Homelessness Media Awards

The Victorian Homelessness Media Awards were launched this year with the support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

The Awards aim to reward and encourage outstanding journalism in relation to homelessness; recognising reporting that goes the extra mile to uncover the underlying systemic drivers of homelessness, resists stereotypes, shows a high degree of ethics and includes a variety of voices including those with a lived experience of homelessness.

Journalists could submit an entry under one of four categories, and each category was judged by a separate multi-disciplinary panel of 4-5 judges against 10 criteria.

After much deliberation over a highly competitive field, the judges of each category have decided the finalists. Click the VHMA Category to view the finalists.

Victorian Homelessness Media Awards – News and short deadline finalists

Victorian Homelessness Media Awards – Long lead and investigative finalists

Victorian Homelessness Media Awards – Opinion and Comment

Victorian Homelessness Media Awards – Student and Early Career finalists

The winner of each category will be announced at a presentation ceremony on Tuesday 15 October at 1pm as part of the Victorian Homelessness Conference.


News and short deadline finalists

Adam Carey (The Age) Housing crisis: Aged in her 50s, Kathy became homeless for the first time

 “A compelling news story but with emotional impact. Sensitively written and captured all the angles…”

“This article shines a light on how difficult it is to find a path out of homelessness, and how long it can take to get the right help.”


Melissa Heagney (Domain/The Age) Working but homeless: Higher rents hitting Victorians with jobs

Heagney’s report reveals the crisis of affordable rental accommodation in Victoria, whereby full-time and part-time workers are increasingly reliant on homelessness services and community housing.

“It focuses the reader to consider some of the structural causes of homelessness and inequality: housing affordability and wage stagnation.

“…a compelling read; an excellent and well-structured article”


Luke Henriques-Gomes (The Guardian two-part series) 1)Homeless Australians given financial penalties under Coalition’s welfare regime’ and 2) ‘Coalition stopped welfare payments to 55,000 homeless or at-risk jobseekers in six months’

“Exclusive reports into an aspect of homelessness that many people would not have been aware of. The stories exposed how the government was financially penalising vulnerable people making their plight worse. Stories with genuine national impact.”

“A fantastic analysis and a challenging story…”

“…show his determination to uncover this practice (of suspending welfare payments to people experiencing homelessness)”


Miki Perkins (The Age) No more referrals to dodgy crisis housing, warn homelessness services

“Strong newsy story with impact and personal stories to humanise the article. Respectful, well-written with multiple voices and strong imagery.

Perkins’ article shines the light on the hidden crisis of emergency accommodation – the chronic shortage of suitable accommodation…”

“By sharing Billie-Jo’s story, Perkins not only speaks to the lack of crisis accommodation, but also housing affordability, rental stress, and the link between family violence and homelessness.


Opinion and comment

Due to the low number of entries for this year’s Opinion and Comment category, we will not be announcing finalists. The winner will be announced on 15 October at the VHMA presentation ceremony.



Student and Early Career finalists 

Imran Ariff (The Citizen), Down and out in Deakin: The word on the street on the homelessness crisis

“Avoids the cliches, and focuses on the issue and its complexity from the personal perspective of homeless people as well as those offering support.  Points to issues away from the inner-city.”

“Well researched, good balance of voices.”

“A good exploration of a number of structural issues underpinning homelessness in Australia in an election context.”


Rochelle Kirkham (Ballarat Courier) This 55-year-old woman is facing homelessness at Christmas

“Tells the story of homelessness from a different perspective.  An engaging read, challenges stereotypes, and shows how issues such as health can quickly change a person’s circumstances.”

“… linked the experience of one woman’s housing insecurity to constraints and limitations of the housing market in a particular regional area.”


Luke Michael (Pro Bono News) Why are so many older Australian women becoming homeless?

Humanised the issue of homelessness for a sector of the community that not many people think about.

“I like the fact I could put a face to the voice. That helps readers connect with the story.”


Long lead and investigative finalists

Brigid Delaney (The Guardian) National obscenity’: Australia’s story of housing boom and homelessness

This piece translates reams of complex economic and social policy about housing and homelessness into easy to understand analysis and insight. Uses good personal examples, is well written.

This is a really thorough investigation into the issue of homelessness, giving a great insight into the many complex reasons that we’ve found ourselves in our current situation and the growing chasm between the haves and have-nots.


RMIT ABC Fact Check Without a home; 3 part multi-platform delivery:

Interactive digital

Facebook Live

Social media videos

 “…this was original, had the requisite depth and used innovative methods to engage and educate its audience.”

An outstanding and well researched and original piece of interactive reporting. Thoughtful, original, using multiple platforms featuring people telling their own stories, with impeccable contextual information.”

“As well as being interesting, the significant interactive component allows people to delve more deeply.”


Allan Murphy (Sunraysia Daily) Three-part series exploring homelessness in a regional Victorian town

“I especially liked, the specific connection to community, the relatability of the material and the balanced analysis of the issues.”

Wow. This is a terrific example of compassionate, engaging and informative journalism which demonstrates how local newspapers can be the beating hearts of the communities they serve.

Not only did Allan highlight this issue in a compelling way, but he made a very real difference to at least one person. This is what journalism is all about.”


CHP thanks the judges of the Victorian Homelessness Media Awards who generously gave their time and provided thoughtful and insightful feedback on the entries.

The judges of this year’s VHMAs were:

Lorena Allam (Indigenous Affairs Editor, The Guardian)

Annie Bracey (Chair of LEAG, and a representative with a lived experience of homelessness)

Rob Curtain (media consultant and former National News Director, Fairfax Radio Network and News Director at 3AW)

Tom Elliott (Host 3AW Drive)

Jacqui Gibson (PESP graduate and a representative with a lived experience of homelessness)

Shelley Hadfield (Deputy Chief of Staff, Herald Sun)

Norman Hermant (National Social Affairs Correspondent, ABC)

Amy Hetherington (Editor, The Big Issue)

Emma King (CEO, VCOSS)

Alison MacDonald (CEO, Domestic Violence Victoria)

Elvis Martin (Ambassador National Youth Commission Australia and a representative with a lived experience of homelessness)

Nigel Pernu (Writer and actor, PESP member, and a representative with a lived experience of homelessness)

Andrew Rennie (Editor in Chief, Leader Community News)

Ian Royall (Senior Reporter and Trainee Program Co-ordinator, Herald Sun)

Jenny Smith (CEO, Council to Homeless Persons)

Wendy Tuohy (Senior columnist and Digital Lifestyle Editor, The Age and SMH)

Bevan Warner (CEO, Launch Housing)