Dine Out, Discover, Do Good – A DineSmart Guide to Brisbane

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From classic Italian, to cutting edge European – we have the ultimate guide dining out in Brisbane while supporting local projects that tackle homelessness.

DineSmart Ambassador Andy Buchanan owns two of Brisbane’s leading restaurants – Urbane and The Euro – “We are proud to participate in DineSmart. StreetSmart have strong relationships with the homelessness sector, and the funds we raise support a range of really great projects in Brisbane.” If you have not indulged in the award winning fare Andy’s team dish up, DineSmart is the perfect excuse.

As the name suggests, The Euro offers continental fare, inspired by local ingredients and herbs grown in their kitchen garden. With a menu that ranges from Duck Parfait to Crispy Skin Barramundi you are sure to leave full and feeling a little spoiled.

Urbane is a degustation-only restaurant offering sittings of five or eight courses. Organic and local produce inspire courses made to excite the palate, all of which can be paired with matched wines from the extensive wine list.

Kym Machin is the award winning former head chef at Urbane and The Euro. He and his wife Jade decided to stray from the inner city, and have two offerings in suburban Brizzy. The Bare Bones Society is all about keeping it simple and fresh. The menu is a balanced mixed of healthy treats, like the marinated ocean trout poke bowl – and heavier options like a double bacon cheese burger. You’ll need to keep some room for their Christmas inspired menu serves up treacle baked Christmas ham and Eggnog’ crème brûlée.

Same Same But Different in Corinda is a spin off of Bare Bones offering staples like eggs on sourdough, along side twists on American classics. Think southern fried chicken, burgers and tacos. For dinner you can indulge on Thai broth pork belly, or Confit duck leg.

The Spaghetti House Trattoria is a cosy, family run restaurant located at South Bank. Serving up rustic Italian fare, the extensive menu has you covered for pizza, pasta, gnocchi, and risotto along with a decent selection of cocktails and vino.

Also in South Bank, is the Charming Squire where you can get acquainted with the brewing process as you explore their craft beer range. The chefs put together seasonal menus that are based around locally sourced produce from ethical purveyors, farmers and fish mongers. Expect homemade gnocchi,  fresh seafood, and butcher made sausages.

Some StreetSmart Supported Projects in Brisbane: Zig Zag, West End Community House, The Big Issue, Homeless Persons Legal Clinic, Immigrant Women’s Support Service, Micah Projects, Sisters Inside Inc, Women’s House Shelta, Othilia Young Women’s Housing, Bahloo Women’s Youth Shelter, Suited to Success, Open Doors Youth Service, Tenants Queensland Inc, QCOSS, Third Space and Orange Sky Laundry.

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CafeSmart Supporters Power 156 Community Projects

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Here at StreetSmart we love this time of year.  DineSmart is in full swing with 122 restaurants around the country busy raising funds for us and we get to announce our CafeSmart Community Grants – the culmination of all that hard work a few months ago. With the support of thousands of coffee drinkers and more than 763 cafes we were able to raise a record $215,500 back on 4th August. Our generous Sponsors sponsored, Roasters donated beans, baristas brewed, and thousands of people came together to raise funds and take action against homelessness.

The Grenet Foundation and the Australian Communities Foundation kicked in an additional $70,000 in matched funding through our ‘Collective’ – bringing our CafeSmart total to $285,500 for local homelessness projects.

We have been able to support 156 organisations across Australia, including 46 new organisations and 12 Lead Grant projects. A massive thank you to everyone who got involved and made these grants possible – here is where your dollars are headed….

 

Lead Grant Projects

With public funding uncertainty many important organisations find it hard to test good ideas, extend proven programs, or fully fund priorities. We have selected a number of ‘Lead Grants’ which have received larger grants and through The StreetSmart Collective and philanthropic matched giving we were able to scale these projects to multiply their impact.  

Our First National Lead Grant:

Registry Weeks mobilise people and resources at the local level to understand and respond to individuals experiencing street homelessness in their community with the aim to end street homelessness. Working closely with Australian Alliance to End Homelessness, Mercy Foundation and Micah Projects we are funding more Registry Weeks across Australia to enable more local communities to end street homelessness  Find out more about Registry Weeks here https://www.mercyfoundation.com.au/our-focus/ending-homelessness-2/registry-weeks/

 

A Look at some State Based Projects…

ACT:  $1250 for food rescue organisation OzHarvest to improve their capacity and storage.
NSW:  $2250  for Make a Difference to help establish and run an Orange Sky Laundry Van in Port Macquarie.
NT: $1250 for The Schools Project to support kids in crisis accommodation to attend school and their after school activities.
QLD:  $1250 for West End Community House to provide a free Community Breakfast to people in their neighbourhood
SA: $1250 for Heart and Soul, a volunteer led food assistance program in Adelaide to purchase an industrial bread slicer.
TAS: $1250 for Tassie Mums, a volunteer led organisation providing support to families in crisis through repurposing kids clothes and equipment.
VIC:  $1500 for NDCH and Mallee Family Care to support people into housing with New Tenant Packs.
WA:  $2,000 for South West Community Legal Centre to support their Homeless Legal Pop Up and Outreach service in regional areas south of Perth.

And here is a wonderful word of thanks from one of our new projects, Camera Story in WA. Working with Youth Futures, Camera Story provide young people experiencing homelessness with a creative outlet to tell their stories and build self confidence.

“Camera Story would love to thank StreetSmart for their decision to award our small but dedicated team this generous grant. Camera Story cannot wait to utilise the grant money to purchase equipment. We intend to place these resources in the hands of the young people we work with, and watch them grow in confidence and capacity through the power of positive photography. We couldn’t have done it without you” Cheers, Jacqueline Warrick & Sarah Landro, Co-founders.

 

Here’s the State breakdown –   reflecting the funds raised in each State

Lead Projects Total Projects Project Funding
VIC 6 51 $122,750
NSW 5 51 $92,000
QLD 1 22 $33,500
WA 16 $19,000
SA 9 $9,000
TAS 2 $2,500
NT 4 $5,500
ACT 1 $1,250
12 156 $285,500

For full lists of Grants made for each state:

ACT Grants | NSW Grants | NT Grants | QLD Grants | SA Grants | TAS Grants | VIC Grants | WA Grants

Here’s what some of the grant recipients said…

“Yet again StreetSmart have generously supported the Margaret River Soup Kitchen run by the Margaret River Community Centre through the CafeSmart grant. Your support is an invaluable addition to the soup kitchen that provides healthy meals twice a week to people experiencing homelessness and in need and will this year assist us in preparing some caravans for interim housing. Thankyou!”

Tassie Mums loves Street Smart’s support without it we wouldn’t be in a position to continue to provide babies and children of Tasmania with clothing, toys and nappies, including those experiencing homelessness. Thank you Street Smart for your support, it is very much appreciated.”

Albany Youth Support Association would like to thank Street Smart for supporting our self-funded kitchen Garden program, Our application process was very straight forward and we appreciated being approached by Street Smart who have identified the work we do in complex homelessness is worth getting behind with a small grant. Small grants help little things grow into big things.”

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Dine Out, Discover, Do Good: A DineSmart Guide to West Melbourne

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One of the things we love about DineSmart is it is a wonderful excuse to explore and fall in love with new restaurants while doing some good.  This year, we have an exciting bunch of venues in Melbourne’s inner west  – and the ultimate guide dining out while supporting local projects that tackle homelessness.

The Bad Love Club is a new kid on the block, and wife and husband team Sarah Ryan and Damien Shaw decided to open in Footscray where Damien grew up. “We have lots of regulars, but we’d also like to see Footscray become somewhere people come to eat and drink. There are lots of great spots – and we all support each other.” The Bad Love Club is your go-to for early morning and after dinner fixes. By morning they serve up Sensory Lab coffee, jaffles and bagels, and by night they do “boozy bakery” treats that pair house baked goods with delicious dessert cocktails.

For a fresh produce inspired lunch head over to Small Graces, a classy but cosy spot opposite the old Little Saigon Market. Owner’s, Diego Portilla and Rebecca Howell are committed to using local, ethically sourced ingredients and produce and are bringing their passion for local impact to DineSmart. “We were looking for ways that we could support community initiatives, and then we found DineSmart.” Vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free will find a variety of options as well as well rounded dishes for the carnivorous.

For some relaxed dining and drinks, head down the road to The Creators Lounge, offering beer, bands, a barbershop and an American diner-inspired menu. The spacious venue offers a relaxed atmosphere to try local brews, and indulge in some loaded fries, burgers, and classic American sandwiches. If you’re feeling the 5 o’clock shadow, pop into the barbers for a quick shave!

La Tortilleria was one of the first restaurants to bring authentic Mexican to Melbourne, and are joining DineSmart for the first time this year. They have already proven themselves to be fundraising heavyweights – recently raising over $20k to support Mexican Earthquake victims. La Tortilleria specialises in in-house real tortillas, and no-frills street inspired Mexican. Enjoy tacos with a chilled sangria in the colourful outdoor dining area.

StreetSmart Supported Projects in the West: Flat Out, Melbourne City Mission, Footscray Community Legal Centre, Second Bite, Multicultural Sudanese Centre, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. We also support domestic violence shelters and indigenous women’s groups.

Where to Go: Bad Love Club, Small Graces, The Creators Lounge, La Tortilleria

How to get there by Public Transport: Sunbury, Werribee and Williamstown for Footscray, and Upfield or 57 tram to Kensington.

Looking for something a little closer to home? Check out the full listing of participating restaurants over here.

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Coffee Lovers Unite For CafeSmart’s Record Year – plus Awards!

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On the 4th August 763 cafes and 50 Coffee Roasters teamed up with their customers to raise over $200,000. HOW GOOD IS THAT! It was a massive community effort resulting in an increase in donations of 25% (on 2016 results) so we are all pretty chuffed!

A huge thanks and a hearty slap on the back to everyone who participated and chipped into the CafeSmart pot, all those micro donations really add up. We are now busy working to distribute these funds to support local homeless services and will announce recipients in late November. CafeSmart is all about the $1 micro donation and how we can all take action and chip in to make a difference. We love and appreciate all our CafeSmart supporters and participants, and it is certainly the case that the sum is more than the parts, however, we also like to acknowledge our top contributors…

Roaster Awards

The drivers of CafeSmart are our Roaster Partners. They help us connect with the industry and cafes across the country. Coffee Roasters are the engine room of CafeSmart. Our 2017 Roaster Champs were the awesome crew at Single O who recruited and supported 64 of their wholesale customers. A close second and runners up were long-time supporters Five Senses. Our Top Five Coffee Roasters were…

  • Single O
  • Five Senses
  • Campos Coffee
  • Allpress
  • Axil Coffee Roasters
The Single O team take out the Top Roaster Award

The Single O team take out the Top Roaster Award

2017 Café Fundraising Awards

This year we had 30% more cafes involved across Australia with a big jump in NSW and QLD. This means that more homeless projects in those States will be funded and more people helped. Every café who gets involved has an impact on their community, and in some cases cafes go beyond the call of duty. Hats off to our top fundraisers…

The team at Yellow Bernard in Hobart were once again our National Fundraising Champions raising a staggeringly huge $1,686, and Two Chaps in Marrickville were our Runners Up raising an equally amazing $1,541. Single O CBD in Sydney were our ‘Beat Your Best’ Champs increasing their Year on Year tally by the most, and the ‘Best New Café’ went to The Grounds in the City in Sydney. This year we also introduced the ‘Collection Box Challenge’ which was won by On The Go Espresso in Marcoola, Sunshine Coast, who collected $822.50 from their very generous customers. We also acknowledge cafes and people who shone as our Community Champions – putting in a huge effort to make CafeSmart such a success.

David and team at Yellow Bernard, Hobart, Top Fundraisers Award

David and team at Yellow Bernard, Hobart, Top Fundraisers Award

The Full List of Awards…

Fundraising Awards Café Name
National Fundraising Champions Yellow Bernard
National Top Fundraiser Runners Up Two Chaps Cafe
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No. 3 The Grounds of Alexandria
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No. 4 Kwik Koffee Busselton
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No.5 Higher Ground
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No.6 The Grounds of the City
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No. 7 Yelo
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No.8 Single O - Surry Hills
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No.9 Axil Coffee Roasters - HQ
Top 10 National Fundraisers - No. 10 Top Paddock
Beat Your Best Champs Single O - CBD CAFÉ
Beat Your best runners up On The Go Espresso
Beat Your Best - No.3 Kwik Koffee Busselton
Beat Your Best - No.4 Flock Espresso & Eats
Beat Your Best - No.5 The Cog
National Best New Café The Grounds of the City
Best New Café runners up Axil Coffee Roasters - Chadstone
Best New Café - No.3 Le Grove Cafe
Best New Café - No.4 Padre Coffee Sth Melb Mkt
Best New Café - No.5 Milky Joe's
State Champs
ACT Stand By Me
NSW Two Chaps Café
NT Laneway Specialty Coffee
QLD On The Go Espresso
SA Taste the Yorke
TAS Yellow Bernard
VIC Higher Ground
WA Kwik Koffee Busselton
Collection Box Challenge - Winner On The Go Espresso
Collection Box Challenge- Runner up Yellow Bernard
Collection Box Challenge - 3rd Taste the Yorke
Collection Box Challenge - 4th Kwik Koffee Busselton
Collection Box Challenge - 5th Single O - Surry Hills
Community Champions Awards Alowishus Delicious
Danni Mann - Besser Kitchen
Dave Humphrys - On the Go Espresso
Mrs P's
Pioneer Coffee Roasters
Stand By Me Café
Two Chaps Café
Vertue of the Coffee Drink
Yellow Bernard

We couldn’t raise these funds without the support of our event sponsors so a huge shout out and thanks to SKIP (our Principal Sponsors), Broadsheet, La Marzocco and Ordermate for their financial support and commitment to the event and cause, and for the help from supporters Cargo Crew and Beanscene.

Photo Competition

We had over 1250+ photos posted to social media – check out the winners here.
And a selection from the event in our Facebook Photo Album

Finally – thanks to everyone who drank a brew or two on the day and chipped in to help us support people across our communities doing it tough.

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Dine Out and Help Someone Sleeping Out this Festive Season

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DineSmart is our longest running campaign, we are more determined than ever to raise much-needed funds for local homelessness services. The backdrop to this year’s campaign is a rising homelessness crisis, and a critical funding shortage in the homelessness sector. 

DineSmart runs in close partnership with some of Australia’s best restaurants, beautiful regional estates, and tiny little eateries that know every customer by name. What they share in common, is a love for their local area.

Restaurants and cafes are part of their local community. The regulars, the passers-by, nine-to-fivers, and those experiencing homelessness all come into contact with local eateries. As the homelessness crisis has seen a rise in people who are sleeping rough, many of those affected seek shelter around busy restaurant hubs.

“We’re based in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, and we have seen a real rise in the number of people sleeping rough right on our doorstep. It is easy to feel powerless, but our work with StreetSmart is such an important and tangible way to make a difference.” – DineSmart Ambassador, Nick Peters of Mamasita and Hotel Jesus

 

Nick Peters, Mamasita and Hotel Jesus

 

And the funds DineSmart venues raise really do make a difference.

Andrew Grinter owns Pizza D’oh in Blairgowrie. Since 2007 Andrew, his staff and generous customers have raised over $35,000. Every dollar has helped to fund vital local projects including the Southern Peninsula Community Centre’s Emergency Relief Fund.

The Emergency Relief Fund has helped people like Susan and her three kids who were found to be sleeping in their car after escaping family violence. With the support of funds raised by Pizza D’oh, Susan’s and her family were supported into housing, and the kids settled into a new school.

Funding for emergency relief has been slashed from the federal budget over successive years, which has left services unable to support people when they need it. While governments are busy dismantling the social safety net, people like Susan and her family too easily fall through the gaps. The fundraising efforts of DineSmart restaurants and customers provides a lifeline to services who are struggling to support people.

“We have been taking part in DineSmart since 2006. We think it is important for business to give back to the community – so raising funds to support local services that are out there doing the hard work was a simple decision for us. It is such a simple way to effect meaningful change in people’s lives. ” DineSmart Ambassador, Sam Christie of Longrain.

 

DineSmart will run at participating restaurants for the 15th year between 24th Nov – 24th Dec. If you would like your restaurant to be involved click here, or drop Sharna a line here. Diners contribute by choosing a DineSmart restaurant and leaving their donation on their bill.

 

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Tackling Homelessness in the Suburbs

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So-called ‘tent city’ on the doorstep of the Reserve Bank in Sydney and Flinders Street in Melbourne has generated a lot of media, and heavy-handed responses from public institutions. But sadly, homelessness in metro Australia is just the tip of a much greater problem.

A recent report by the Council for Homeless Persons found that 37% of rough sleepers are in the middle and outer suburbs, whereas only 8% of people sleeping rough gravitate to inner metro areas.

“Rough sleeping in the CBD and central areas has a lot of visibility and media coverage, but there are a lot of rough sleepers in the outer suburbs,” says Jay Church from Anchor Housing, an organisation servicing Melbourne’s Yarra Ranges, and our StreetFunder supported project this October.

The Yarra Ranges includes the very outer urban fringe and semi-rural areas. The region ranks highly housing stress, which is estimated to sit at 30.3%. It also ranks in the top 10 areas for socio-economic disadvantaged communities nationally.

“The Yarra Ranges includes pockets of deep poverty and a highly vulnerable demographic,” Church said. “Coupled with the cost of private rental, the capacity to meet that cost is simply out of reach for lots of people.”

Suburban homelessness is increasing in lockstep with rising housing prices, stagnant wages and, below poverty level income support payments. In areas with few job opportunities, and poor amenities, services like Anchor Housing are a lifeline for people doing it tough.

The Rough Sleeper Initiative engaged rough sleepers in Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra Ranges. They found the majority of people were on some form of income support, and in labour force. “This picture supports a conclusion that labour market conditions and low-income support payments are drivers of increasing levels of homelessness and rough sleeping,” the report said.

Anchor Housing provided 1,839 bed nights in 2016/17 and about 46% of those helped were already homeless when they presented. The other 54% are part of a growing demographic of the ‘almost homeless’ – people in deep financial stress and at risk of losing their home.

Deep cuts to the federal social services budget over successive years has stripped away the ability of many services to assist people in crisis who need assistance with bills, rent, medicines, food and other basic needs.

We have been funding homelessness organisations for fifteen years, and the sad reality is that it is getting worse, not better. More and more people require help to meet very basic living costs, and often small amounts of funding are all that stands between someone having a home and them ending up homeless. Meanwhile, services are having their funding cut, or left in a constant state of limbo.

StreetSmart has supported Anchor with $15,900 in community grants since 2006 and will be supporting Anchor again this October to try and redress the black hole funding cuts have left in their material aid budget. That means a food voucher for a young family in crisis accommodation or financial assistance to keep up with the cost of private rental.

We support people who are experiencing homelessness to get back on track, including people are rough sleeping. We also do a lot of work with people at risk. Preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place is a key.”

If you want to support Anchor Housing to maintain vital material aid, you can donate to our October StreetFunder here.

 

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SeedFunding Youth Homelessness Services to Break the Cycle

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On any given night 26,238 Australians aged 12-24 are homeless. These young people are more likely to leave school, experience long term unemployment, and are more likely to experience persistent homelessness in adulthood.

The main risk factors that lead to homelessness among young people include: family violence, child abuse, parents with alcohol or drug issues, and mental illness. That is to say – young people who experience homelessness have the odds stacked against them from the outset.

For those subsisting on Youth Allowance, the average rental will cost a young person 63% of their income. To put that in context, a person is generally considered to be in housing stress if they pay 30% of their income or more on housing. Entering the private rental market with no rental history, no employment history, and insufficient income support make the odds of getting out of the homelessness trap seem insurmountable. That makes getting educated, and getting into secure employment a high priority.

The Barwon South West Homelessness Network are in the business of making a dent in these struggles – with supported housing, and assistance from case managers. What they lack, is adequate funding to support young people to get back to school, or find secure employment. When the statistics tell us this is one of the greatest barriers young homeless people face, we think more can be done.

“Across the network we constantly face the issue of not being able to provide support for things like getting some new clothes, a haircut, or a taxi voucher to get to an interview. There are funding streams available – but they are not able to meet that critical response. Going through the other funding streams cannot get this done.” -Andrew Edger, Barwon South West Homelessness Network Coordinator.

Andrew is also a key resource person for StreetSmart, sitting on our Victorian Grants Committee providing expert advice on the needs of frontline services. StreetSmart CEO, Adam Robinson and Andrew have been brainstorming ways to practically assist young people to move beyond homelessness. What is missing is being able to respond quickly to what young people need. It could be preparing for an interview across town in 3 days time, or new uniforms for an apprenticeship.

“With a patchwork landscape of funding, and the specialised needs in the homelessness sector – StreetSmart is here to step in and fill the funding gaps. In collaboration with the The Barwon South West Homelessness Network, we are seed-funding a coalition of specialist youth homeless services to set up the “Now I am Ready” fund, enabling services to meet the cost of work and education support. That could be a TAFE course, a new uniform, or a semester of prescribed textbooks. Ideas like this need community backing so that young people are supported at the right time and in the right way.”  – StreetSmart CEO, Adam Robinson.

With many homeless young people lacking family support or a social safety net, it is up to us – the community – to support them when they need it most. And Andrew has a whole of community firmly in mind.

“We want to develop a whole of community response. Getting local business involved – whether it’s free haircuts, discounts on textbooks, or supporting us through matching what the public are giving to get this idea off off the ground.”

We think instead of missing out on important life opportunities, Australia’s young people deserve a leg-up.  We 110% support innovative solutions taking action against homelessness, and with the help of our StreetFunders, we have set ourselves a $10k target for the “Now I am Ready” fund, to help over 50 young people.

If you want help seed fund this new project and give young people the support they need you can.  Individuals can donate here, and businesses can donate and help us match funds raised from the public by getting in touch with our CEO Adam Robinson.

 

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Street Socceroos Ready to Kick Goals at the Homeless World Cup

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When so much attention on homelessness surrounds the eviction of rough sleepers from major cities, or the doom and gloom of housing (un)affordability – it’s good to shine a light on some positive actions that are changing lives.

At StreetSmart, we proudly support new ways to tackle homelessness and have provided seed funding for ideas like Orange Sky Laundry, Fare Share and HoMie which have all gone on to make meaningful community impact. Another program that has grown in leaps and bounds is the Big Issues Street Soccer program.

For people experiencing homelessness, sport can deal with one of the biggest hurdles – social isolation. By connecting with peers, people have the opportunity to develop something many of us take for granted – social support systems. That’s not to mention the health benefits, which are a key focus of the program.

George Halkias founded the program in 2005, with a little kick start from a StreetSmart grant. It is now a nation wide, weekly program, and the team has participated in 7 Homeless World Cup’s and hosted the Melbourne 2008 games. The team are now in training for this years tournament in Oslo. 

“It’s more than a sports program – it’s about being a community that is supportive of their health and wellbeing. Health outcomes are really important to the program and sport is a great starting point.”

George and the coaching team do more than teach the game – they provide mentoring and create a culture of inclusion. Their aim is to create a place that players can feel safe to tackle the opposition, and some of their more complex issues, like mental health or substance abuse. This way, they aim to support the players to re-connect with services and get on the path out of long term homelessness.

StreetSmart is supporting Street Soccer again this month – with our StreetFunders donating coin to support players returning from the Olso Homeless World cup in September.

“Supporting players to transition back, post World Cup life, is really important. The cup has a big build up, lots of energy and excitement. But generally we find players experience a drop when they come back, like anyone does. So we are looking to strengthen the transition back – whether that’s job support, training, or whatever is needed to keep the positive momentum.

After the cup, we focus on new goals, and keep building on skills and confidence that has come from travelling the world and representing the country.”

We are hoping to raise $7,000 to fund the Street Soccer transition program – and you can chip in too here. If you are not certain how impactful a simple game of soccer can be, don’t take it from me, take it from the players:

Sometimes people don’t understand when I try to explain how important soccer is to me, but it has dead-set helped me change my life.” – Street Soccer player.

           One Month = One Project Funded

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What is Causing the Homelessness Crisis?

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A protest message at Sydney’s Martin Place Homeless Camp.

The causes of homelessness are many and varied. Domestic violence, a shortage of affordable housing, sudden or long term unemployment, mental illness, family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse all contribute to individual experiences of homelessness.

At the population level the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare tells us that there are two main reasons people experience homelessness. Simply not being able to afford housing and domestic violence.

Successive governments have sold off (and continue to sell off) public housing stock – and have been slow to replace with a coherent system for affordable housing. There is no National Housing Strategy, and the national framework for funding the states remains in a near constant state of limbo.

Instead we have a market solution geared to support investors that puts upward pressure on prices, and pushes low income earners to the fringeswith few jobs, and little public amenity. What public housing remains, comes with a depressingly long waiting list – and much of the stock is poorly utilised.  There is a welcome growth in community owned social housing, but it will take a long time to recover what has been lost.

Put simply: outrageous prices and few choices at the lower end of the market are the leading cause of homelessness.

Add to the mix negative wages growth, and an increasingly insecure job market – the demographic of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness is larger and more diverse than we have witnessed in decades. As Stephen McDermott, CEO of CafeSmart supported service – Saint Patrick’s Community Support Centre recently told Broadsheet:

“There’s certainly more people accessing our services, that’s for sure. But it’s coming from people that mightn’t have accessed our services in the past. These are people who’ve got part-time jobs. In the past we would have been servicing those predominantly outside of the work system.”

We are hearing the same story from the majority of the services we support – demand is up and the people in need of assistance are no longer the “poorest of the poor”. Yet these same services are also witnessing a decrease in public funding. Saint Patrick’s Community Support Centre has just scrapped its weekend meals service due to lack of funding.

For women, contending with affordability is compounded by domestic violence.

According to Institute of Health and Welfare 38% of all people requesting assistance from specialist homelessness agencies were experiencing domestic violence, and in need of emergency accommodation. Almost half of those people presented with children.

Domestic violence services are among those under threat by the uncertainty surrounding the federal-state agreement for funding. State by state responses vary considerably, but NSW, Victoria and WA are witnessing the largest growth in women seeking homeless services due to domestic violence.

When we spoke to another StreetSmart supported project, Youth Futures, about their housing program for young mothers, they told us they have no public funding and have to turn many women away. The rough price of housing every young mother that presents in need of support is about $150,000. That is to keep children out of state care, families together, and young women safe. A drop in the ocean, for immeasurable social good.  

So what needs to happen?

Housing and homelessness is complex. It affects lots of people, and the reasons it impacts people are not always the same. People have different needs, and face different barriers to getting out of the homelessness trap. The needs of a woman escaping domestic violence are very different to a single man who has experienced a sudden injury and job loss, or a young indigenous person in remote Australia.

That means it requires a comprehensive response – and a diversity of local services that can provide specialised assistance to the community.

StreetSmart supports small grassroots organisations, and most of these report that they have lost public funding. De-funding community level services that provide a vital safety net is a step in the wrong direction.

Federal and State governments need to take leadership on the issue – starting with the recognition that market based responses have comprehensively failed. We need a National Housing Strategy – and a clear funding framework to revitalise the social safety net.

Most of all – we need to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place. As our CEO Adam Robinson has said:

“When more than 1 in every 200 people are homeless every night in Australia we know there is a problem. When services working on the front-lines are telling us that this figure is likely to be much higher, and we don’t have coherent public response – that is a huge cause for concern.”

Heading into National Homelessness Week – we have our most significant campaign of the year – CafeSmart which will raise funds for grassroots homelessness services helping the diversity of people in need.

We believe that Housing is a Human Right, and no one should be without a safe and secure place to call home.  You can support the CafeSmart campaign this Friday August 4th by finding a participating cafe, or donating the cost of a coffee online.

 

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#LocalHeroes With Darwin’s Danielle Mann

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Besser Kitchen & Brew Bar on CafeSmart campaign day, 2016

Danielle Mann is co-owner of two of Darwin’s first specialty coffee cafes – Besser Kitchen & Brew Bar and Laneway Speciality Coffee. Both premises serve up high-quality Campos Coffee and are among CafeSmarts most committed participants.

Danielle has been a part of CafeSmart for six years, first joining us when she was operating a cafe in Sydney. “When I moved back to Darwin, getting our new cafes on board with CafeSmart was one of the first things we did. Even though is a national campaign – you know that it is supporting people in your own backyard and that is really important.

In our area, we have supported two projects that support women and children escaping domestic violence. That is such important impact, and small grants can make a big difference.”

Up North, our CafeSmart grants support the Aboriginal and Islander Women’s Shelter and Dawn House. The Northern Territory has the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, which is why our grants are lending a hand to the work these organisations do. Last year Dawn House supported 500 families in their crisis and transitional housing and our CafeSmart grant helped to fund their children’s school holiday program.

Susan Crane from Dawn House said a bit of fun can make a big difference to children experiencing crisis. “Most of the mother’s we see are on income support, so they would not normally be able to access these types of programs. For children recovering from trauma, getting out of the shelter to go skating and have a bit fun is really positive.”

When CafeSmart sign-up time rolls around each year, Danielle’s two premises are the first to populate our map of participating cafes. She explains that it’s an opportunity to raise funds, awareness, and to be a little creative in supporting the local community.

“CafeSmart is a great way to get raise awareness, involve customers, and it’s a great uplifting event for the staff too. This year, I think we’ll get everyone dressed up in the bright CafeSmart yellow.”

Although her two busy cafes are among the top fundraisers – Danielle is keen to drum up more support for the CafeSmart cause in the Darwin area.

“Darwin is a such a small place, so I know lots of the other cafe owners personally. Through those personal connections and talking about what our cafes are doing – I hope to encourage another 10 cafe’s in Darwin to come on board and raise $5000 for our area.”

One of the humbling things about CafeSmart is that it is a nationwide campaign, driven by local people who care about their community. I asked Danielle what drives her commitment to the campaign.

“The stigma around homelessness doesn’t really match the reality – homelessness can impact anyone. I just want to do what I can, and I think CafeSmart is a simple way to do that”

 

We will be bringing you more #LocalHero stories in the coming weeks – from cafes big and small.

You can #HelpYourHood this #CafeSmart campaign by signing up your café, or looking for your local this August 4.

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