Visa holders William and Lorena working at FareShare
The EAD Team prepping meals
Back in March as the COVID-19 crisis loomed we reached out to our community partners to listen to their concerns and gauge how to support them best. Nearly all confirmed that food security was a major problem for their homeless and disadvantaged clients. As soon as lock down was announced charity meals programs shut due to social distancing regulations and older volunteers protecting their health. Our response to this urgent food security challenge was to make a number of food relief related grants including supporting FareShare, a long term partner, and we also moved quickly to establish the SmartMeals program.
Photo Credit: Sunny Street
UPDATED 28.04.2020 – 2650 meals for vulnerable people provided
Right now charity meals programs are shut across the country. With gatherings restricted and older volunteers protecting their health, food security for vulnerable Australians is an emerging challenge. At the same time restaurants and cafes are closing. This is making workers with limited resources, vulnerable to poverty, hunger and homelessness.
“I truly believe this grant will be lifesaving…”
Peter Valpiani, The Haymarket Foundation
It seems an entire lifetime ago but back in December and before the January bushfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, just over 100 restaurants around Australia teamed up with their customers to raise funds for local homeless services. This was our 17th DineSmart campaign and our dedicated band of restaurateurs and their staff drove the event – chatting with customers and advocating for a world without homelessness. Little did they know what lay ahead for them and their businesses, and just how important these funds would be for frontline services dealing with a crisis the likes we haven’t seen in a generation.
Last week 33 community grants worth $191,150, funded by DineSmart 2019 donations, were distributed in VIC, NSW, QLD and SA. Read More
We have been continually checking in with our community partners throughout this COVID-19 crisis and one thing rings true for every one, they need funding right now. And thanks to the generous support of venues and customers through our 2019 DineSmart campaign we are able to provide immediate grants to help support them through this difficult time.
We will be sharing a lot of the positive impact we’re able to make in the coming days and weeks. Read More
Update 8th January 2021
During the last three months of 2020 we continued to deliver programs responding to the fallout from COVID-19. This work included continuing to run our SmartMeals program, we also made our first round of SmartCare Grants, ran our annual CafeSmart and DineSmart fundraising events, delivered a round of SleepSafe packs and gave out 87 small Community Grants. All of this work was facilitated by our generous supporters, donors, sponsors and funders.
SmartMeals: Due to incredible community support, we were able to run SmartMeals up to Christmas (at slowly diminishing levels) providing 9 months of support since we started back in March. The program wound down on the 18th December, except for a few specific programs over the Christmas and holiday period. In December we passed the milestone of 100,000 meals delivered.
SmartCare: In September we launched our SmartCare program to raise fund for frontline homelessness staff wellbeing in response to concerns raised throughout our partner network. We made our first round of SmartCare grants of $47,000 to 15 charity partners in November – read more about these grants in our blog.
SleepSafe: In partnership with Sheridan a further 3900 SleepSafe sleep kits were despatched to over 100 homelessness services.
CafeSmart 2020: we held our 10th annual CafeSmart campaign in October engaging with 300 businesses and raised just over $80,000+ for community grants. These grants were provided on the 16th December to 87 grassroots homeless services across all States and Territories. Further information will be published in January about these grants.
DineSmart 2020: during December, 39 top restaurants participated in DineSmart raises funds for the SmartMeals food security program.
We are concerned that food insecurity is increasing. With JobSeeker and JobKeeper both being steadily reduced, we are seeing numbers of people seeking help increasing across our community partners. We have been working with our partners to provide some meals over the Christmas period as services traditionally shut down. We are also keen to continue to support hospitality based social enterprises who have been hit very hard by COVID-19 well into 2021. Our work in the food security sector is certainly not over.
Update 28th September 2020
During August and September we have continued to run our SmartMeals program. With generous community, philanthropic and corporate support we have expanded the program to include more regional areas while sustaining the partnership to supply meals to homeless people who were rapidly accommodated in hotels and motels. We have been delivering over 1000 meals per day from a network of over 40 cafes, restaurants and social enterprise businesses to over 50 charity partners. During August we passed the “50,000 meals delivered” tally and wrote this blog about the programs social impact https://streetsmartaustralia.org/the-real-life-impact-of-50000-meals-delivered-to-vulnerable-australians/
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been concerned for the welfare of vulnerable people and the essential, frontline staff that are working to assist and protect them. Many workers are in close, daily contact with vulnerable clients, providing vital support services and sometimes healthcare. Charities are seeing more people yet are under financial pressure, and assistance with staff supervision and support budgets, especially at smaller organisations, is needed. This is why we have established SmartCare, a campaign helping fund staff mental and physical well-being programs at homeless organisations. Find out more and hear from front-line managers in this blog post https://streetsmartaustralia.org/smartcare-supporting-frontline-workers/
Update 22nd July 2020
Many States and Territories are well on top of the COVID-19 pandemic however Victoria and some areas of NSW are struggling to contain the spread of the virus. This means that the economic effects are still being felt across Australia with many people impacted heavily by the economic downturn. Of course, vulnerable people have been hit hard, with limited capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. To help we have continued to raise funds to support our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Grants and our SmartMeals program.
To date we have made four rounds of grants totalling $41,000. The latest grants assisted community led food programs targeting people who have mostly slipped through the gaps in Govt support e.g. Temporary Visa Holders, casual employees with few hours, refugees and international students. Read our Grants blog here.
We have also focussed your donation support to run SmartMeals. To date 23,830 meals have been provided through 11 partnerships between charities and cafes/restaurants keeping people fed and some people employed. Many of these meals are supporting people who have been provided with hotel or motel accommodation having previously been rough sleeping. It’s a vital program to keep the vulnerable safe. Read about SmartMeals here.
Thank you to everyone who has donated to provide these services.
Updated 16th June 2020
Through strong evidence based action by Governments and community Australia has done well in containing the spread of COVID-19. During the early stages of the pandemic StreetSmart advocated for and supported action to accommodate thousands of rough sleepers in hotel and motel accommodation, the raising of New Start to the improved JobSeeker payment and a rent moratorium These policies have protected vulnerable people effectively. We encourage Governments of all levels to maintain these policies which have protected the most vulnerable in our community.
On the 1st April StreetSmart established our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. We have been overwhelmed by the community support shown and have acted quickly to support vulnerable community members through a number of initiatives. To date we have made $31,000 of small community grants targeting groups impacted by COVID-19. These grants have supported three medical outreach services, four DV services and four youth organisations. We also established our SmartMeals program which is targeted at helping plug the gaps in the food security system. To date 16,370 meals have been provided, mostly to people isolating in motels, hotels, and boarding houses, with limited cooking facilities. We will continue to provide meals for as long as they are needed and funding can be found. We will also continue to make small grants to support people experiencing the full impact of this crisis. Our responses been made possible by our generous supporters – so thank you for standing with us.
Updated 14 April 2020
The team at StreetSmart Australia is deeply concerned about how COVID-19 is impacting people experiencing homelessness and vulnerable people at risk. What we do know, is that Australia has a strong history of community spirit and we will be doing our part to support the small, local, grassroots organisations who will now be on the frontline of this health crisis. The situation is complex and shifting daily, and unfortunately will be placing even more strain on already stretched homeless services. Before this pandemic even began, more than 116,000 people were without a home around the country. Read More
Through the SleepSafe initiative, Sheridan and StreetSmart are fighting to put an end to homelessness. SleepSafe helps many community organisations by providing sleep kits. This week in light of it Mardi Gras, we talk to two organisations who work specifically with the LGBTI community. Read More