‘The Homeless Chorus Speaks’ Amplifies Voices Of The Silenced

Documentarian Susan Polis turned her lens on those that have fallen on hard times to use the power of music to elevate their spirits. Airing on PBS and Fusion in April, 14 people who became homeless due to uncontrollable circumstances like unaffordable health insurance, high rent prices, or domestic abuse formed a choir that’s based on hope.

Voices of Our City Choir was established in 2016 to provide a home for lost voices and educate viewers on the realities of having it all one day and losing it the next. A few people featured in the documentary are veterans, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree holders, families navigating their way out of shelters, and the everlasting psychological effects of sexual assault.

“While singing inspirational songs such as “Over the Rainbow,” their voices soar, and the harsh realities of the street evaporate if only for an hour,” a synopsis for the reel outlined. “Together, in their shared voices, they find joy and family. And from there comes the power to change lives.”

According to a 2017 report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the homeless population in the U.S. increased to 554,000. BBC notes New York City and Los Angeles’ numbers greatly contributed to the report.

In a feature on homelessness in NYC, subject Roberto Diaz invited VIBE readers in on a first-hand look at lacking shelter and how he views himself given his circumstances. “I was proud to go to college. I was proud to graduate. And I was proud to be a man,” he said. “But I’m very sorry that I didn’t become the man that I wanted to be. I’m very sorry.”