“Receiving SmartMeals makes me feel full of love… It might seem like a small act but you’re effectively changing the lives of people.” – Lana
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: Foyer Shepparton
There is often a misconception that homelessness only affects people sleeping rough on the streets. Where in reality this only represents a small number of people living without a safe place to sleep. A significant number of the community partners we support provide services for victims of domestic violence. Women and children fleeing dangerous circumstances may have to leave without any belongings and need immediate care. And the current pandemic is placing even more strain on already stretched services.
“Unfortunately, family violence is more prevalent during and after times of disaster such as bushfires and COVID-19. As a result, we are expecting to see an increase in the number of women and children seeking our service and needing safe accommodation,” said Emma, Family Violence Support Worker, Women’s Liberation Halfway House.
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 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