How Are Media are tackling homelessness with the Unhoused campaign

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• Nicky Briger, editor of marie claire on the campaign and what Are Media is aiming to achieve with it

Are Media has launched ‘Unhoused’, a major election campaign calling for increased funding of $7.6 billion to address the national crisis that sees 49,000 Australian women homeless each night.

Along with the media company are a coalition of women’s sector groups including Homelessness Australia, Homelessness NSW, The Women’s Housing Company, The Equanimity Project, Lokahi Foundation, and Full Stop Australia.

Mediaweek spoke to Nicky Briger, editor of marie claire about the ‘Unhoused’ campaign and what Are Media is aiming to achieve with it.

“It’s an amazing campaign. It’s one that we’ve been talking about for a long time, just because the statistics get worse every year,” says Briger. “49,000 Australian women are homeless every night, which I was absolutely staggered about – in this incredibly privileged, wealthy nation that there are 49,000 Australian women without safe housing. It’s an incredible statistic. For women over 45, 50, the statistic rises – it’s actually the fastest-growing group of women who are at risk.” 

This campaign is the latest in a series of Change Agenda campaigns Are Media has launched, with previous campaigns tackling coercive control, elder abuse, and the tampon tax. Briger says that homelessness is a topic that made sense for Are Media to shine a spotlight on next.

“We did our first homeless issue about seven years ago, so it’s something that has always been close to our heart, and The Australian Women’s Weekly has also followed as well. So it just seemed like the perfect campaign to jump into.

“It was also something that we’d noticed as well from just looking at the statistics, and that’s why we sought support from the Women’s sector groups like Homelessness Australia, Homelessness New South Wales, the Women’s Housing Company, and a whole lot of others as well.”

Are Media

With the election just around the corner, Briger says that Are Media has been working hard to get the campaign in front of the country’s policymakers.

“We’ve been speaking to a lot of key politicians and people in the homelessness sector, and they were all talking about this particular issue. We had a meeting with Tanya Plibersek about two months ago, and she pinpointed it as probably one of the key issues that really need to be tackled. 

“With the election coming up, it just becomes so much more viable to actually make a change. We did do our own Are Media survey and 73% of the women surveyed said that this was a really key issue for them and would impact the way that they voted.

“It is such a good one to tackle because we can actually say to whoever is the next in power, we need $7.6 billion to provide over 16,000 safe houses for women in need. It’s quite good to be able to give something really specific and put a line in the sand as well, because Governments speak to that.”

Briger says that marie claire is going all in on the campaign, using their platform to spread the message via both digital and print.

“We’ve got an advertising campaign that we’re running across the network – both online and in print – and so that, as you can imagine, will be absolutely huge. But we are also doing editorial stories. We’ve got a big campaign launching in July, which will come out in early June, and that’s where we’ll be getting quite a lot of high profile women who are either involved, passionate about this issue, have actually been homeless, etc. So we’re going to get all of their support as well for a huge campaign launch. 

We did the same thing with coercive control about a year ago, and that worked incredibly well. We had 10 high profile women talking about their experiences, and that went viral. So it’s really just about tapping into the digital audience as well as print.”

Looking Ahead

As for the rest of 2022, Briger says that there are a number of goals on the horizon for marie claire.

“Well, right now I’d really like to get over Covid. We’re all working through Covid, so eventually, we’ll all be back in the office – that’d be a good start. 

“The thing for us for the rest of the year is hopefully, as things do calm down a bit, I’d really like to see a return to events. We just had a big International Women’s Day event that was a really big success, and we’ve got a few things in store for the end of the year – small business, entrepreneurial seminars, etc, which would be such a great thing to get back into because we haven’t done it for two years. We used to do something like 12 to 15 events a year, so you can imagine that’s been really challenging. 

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“We’re ramping up more of our digital presence as well. We’re replatforming for digital later on in the year, which will be really exciting. We’re launching into TikTok quite soon, so that’ll be exciting as well. There are quite a lot of different areas, but I think eventing and digital will be very big focuses for us for the second half of the year.”

The ‘Unhoused’ campaign is calling on all Australians to sign a petition to show support here.

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