StreetSmart News

Thank You – DineSmart 2018 Raises $245,054

By | DineSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

For over 16 years, DineSmart applies the simple model of asking diners to chip in an extra $1 on their bill and granting those donations to combat homelessness in the local community. Sadly, homelessness is on the rise and on any given night there are an estimated 116,000 people without a safe, secure place to call home. With unprecedented demand, and shrinking funding, the funds raised by DineSmart have become an essential lifeline for front line grassroots services and been a key source of funding for innovative ideas.

From November 21st – December 31st, 108 participating restaurants activated the campaign by educating diners on local community projects and seeking support- resulting in $245,054 being raised. This was a huge effort up 27% on 2017.

The exciting part is now we get to process the funds and start giving out the community grants in a few weeks! The total of funds raised through StreetSmart campaigns now reaches over $5.6 million, supporting over 600 community organisations across Australia.

The support and commitment shown by all restaurant and café owners and their staff continues to amaze us. DineSmart works because we have a community of caring restaurant owners and staff and generous customers – it’s a great partnership! We would like to thank our longstanding restaurants and welcome the new additions. 2018 had great continued support from our sponsors UberEats, Broadsheet and OpenTable.

Fundraising Awards

All our partners play an important role in helping us reach our tally, but some go a little bit further, so we always like to acknowledge the life changing contribution made by our top fundraisers.  The teams at Chin Chin and Cafe Sydney continued on from last year as our Champs and Runners Up.  Both venues have now raised close to $150,000 since joining the event.  Team Stalactites has now reached the milestone of  $75,000.  The impact of this effort cannot be underestimated.  Ten partner restaurants have been helping for 10 years or more and their loyalty to the event and the community has been what has sustained us.

We always need new venues to come on board and this year Supernormal joined the team and instantly had a great impact.  Andrew McConnell’s restaurants have been involved for 15 years and the team got right behind the event with amazing results.  Other new participants topping the fundraising were Pastuso, Hawker Hall, Asado and La Cache a Vin.

Windy Point flew the flag for us in Adelaide and made the Top 5 again this year, meaning we will be able to support a number of organisations on the ground there.  In Sydney the trio of Longrain, The Apollo and  Cho Cho San once again topped the charts and made a big contribution to the NSW tally and projects we can support in inner Sydney. New last year TipoOO improved their tally and made the Top 10, while The Spaghetti House in Brisbane were Top 10 and our QLD Champs.  Hanoi Hannah in Elsternwick improved their fundraising more than any other venue.

A huge thanks to our 2018 Award winners…

National Top 10 Fundraiser Awards Restaurant Name State
National Top Fundraiser Champion Chin Chin VIC
National Top Fundraiser Award – Runner Up Cafe Sydney NSW
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 3 Supernormal VIC
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 4 Stalactites Restaurant VIC
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 5 Windy Point Restaurant SA
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 6 Longrain Sydney NSW
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 7 The Apollo NSW
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 8 Pastuso VIC
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 9 Tipo 00 VIC
National Top Fundraiser Award – # 10 The Spaghetti House Trattoria QLD
Beat Your Best Award Champion Hanoi Hannah – Elsternwick VIC
Best New Restaurant Award Supernormal VIC

Where the diners and donations came from

VICTORIA $171,842
TOTAL $254,045

The coastal dining scene is booming and so were our venues in Port Macquarie – The Stunned Mullet, Burger Rebellion, Drury Lane, Botanic Wine Garden, Bandwagon and Bills Fishhouse (pictured)

Asado Bar & Grill – The sparkling brand-new venue as part of the Palermo, Pastuso and San Telmo family, cooking up a storm in Melbourne

The Melbourne institution – Moroccan Soup Bar. The team did a fantastic job at educating diners about homelessness whilst serving up their tasty menu

The team at Supernormal, Melbourne. All we can say is WOW! What a great team and genuine approach to DineSmart!

Broadsheet Kitchen opened its doors and did a great job at raising funds whilst kick starting a fantastic new venue


It’s CafeSmart Grant Giving Season – and We Just Funded 159 Projects

By | CafeSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

The last few weeks of the year are always a mad scramble, and here at StreetSmart, we’re no different. With DineSmart is in full swing, behind the scenes we’ve been busy wrapping up CafeSmart 2018. We recently announced our Fundraising Awards and most importantly – reviewing grants and distributing proceeds to local projects.

It’s always exciting to bring you this news, which is the culmination of a lot of work for us and over 850 small business partners across Australia. Thanks to this effort, CafeSmart Community Grants are now making their way to 159 projects.

Getting much-needed funds into local communities is what it’s all about – and we are excited to finally share the results and funded projects!

The Result

This year we had a record 815 participating cafes and 50 Roaster Partners together with generous customers we raised $205,500. With matched funding from the Besen Family Foundation and Australian Community Foundation, our final CafeSmart tally is $238,720  

Clair, Amy and Elizabeth (pictured below) at Tassie Mums in Hobart received a CafeSmart community grant thanks to local cafes in Hobart.

“Thank you! We are really very grateful to StreetSmart who have been with us from the beginning on this amazing journey to help Tasmanian families.  The funds will support three of our projects. Our undies, socks and singlets drive – these items are always needed and we often buy them new. We’ll also buy a much-needed trolley bin to help move donations and completed Bundles and finally, as we continue to grow, we need to invest in a delivery system to make sure our help can get to where it is needed.” – Clair, Tassie Mums

That is what CafeSmart is all about – local communities working together to support the most vulnerable. As a sister organisation, St Kilda Mum’s recently put it ‘it’s about “helping each other and sharing the load.”

Lead Grant Projects

With public funding uncertainty, many important organisations find it hard to test good ideas, extend proven programs, or fully fund priorities.

Through our Lead Grants, which are supported by the StreetSmart Collective philanthropic matched giving, we were able to boost funding and scale these projects to multiply their impact.

This year we provided 8 Lead Grants to support a range of important work – from advocacy to fix our housing system, to specialist services for people who have experienced chronic homelessness.

We are supporting Footscape to scale up its operations and help more people. Wounds and chronic health issues, like diabetes, are common for people sleeping rough or experiencing extreme disadvantage. Thanks to a lead grant we are helping the volunteer-led team at Footscape to scale up their work with rough sleepers – providing foot care kits, health advice, shoes and socks.  

Another Lead Grant went to the Father Bob Foundation (pictured below) to expand their education work with young people who are homeless or living in extreme disadvantage. The RoboBus is a hi-tech classroom on wheels keeping disadvantaged young people technologically literate. The bus will offer training in a range of new technologies from 3D printing to VR environment learning – with the aim of helping kids break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage and preparing them for the future of work in Australia.

You can check out this years’ lead grants, in more detail, here.

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


State Funds Raised Projects Funded
ACT $            3,000.00 2
NSW $          66,500.00 55
NT $            1,500.00 1
QLD $          25,550.00 25
SA $            7,500.00 8
TAS $            6,250.00 4
VIC $         111,670.00 47
WA $          16,750.00 17
Totals $         238,720.00 159


A Small Grants Snap Shot…

ACT:  $1500 to Street Law Outreach Legal Service to create information packs for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse clients.

NSW:  $1700 to Bayside Women’s Shelter to help fit out their new women’s shelter.

NT: $1500 to Larrakia Nation to provide street based outreach services in Darwin

QLD:  $1900 to EDON Place Domestic & Family Violence Centre to provide starter packs of essential items for women accessing the refuge in Bundaberg.

SA: $1000 to Essentials for Women, to provide women’s hygiene products to women’s services across SA.

TAS: $2250 to Homeless Healthcare to provide vital medical outreach on streets of Hobart.

VIC:  $800 to Clean As Casper to provide mobile showers and care to people in the outer South East suburbs of Melbourne.

WA:  $750 to Orana House to provide a children’s holiday program in their refuge in Inglewood.

For a full listing of where the funds have gone, in each State, to support your communities, check out these detailed grant sheets:

ACT Grants

NSW Grants

NT Grants

QLD Grants

SA Grants

TAS Grants

VIC Grants

WA Grants

And a final word from a grant recipient.

Women’s Community Shelters would like to say a huge thank you to StreetSmart for the ongoing support of our shelter network. The funds provided will allow us to help even more vulnerable women and children who are escaping homelessness or domestic and family violence. Our new Bayside Shelter, which you are helping fit out, is the sixth shelter in our growing network and can assist up to 65 women and their children every year. Our aim is to expand our network to at least 10 shelters by the end of 2020 and grants such as this will help us to carry on our work.”  Nathalie Peacock



This Adelaide Charity Is Quietly Transforming Lives and Attitudes about Homelessness.

By | StreetFunder, StreetSmart News | No Comments

Photo by:

Cos We Care is a small Adelaide based charity that’s transforming lives and community attitudes about homelessness.

I spoke with one of the Founders, Ann Cooper about how she came to start Cos We Care and how it’s quietly transforming people and community in Adelaide.

Cos We Care started when Ann and a friend decided they wanted to do something positive for the estimated 152 people sleeping rough in Adelaide and surrounds. They prepared some bread rolls, cookies and boiling thermos and started approaching local businesses to spare a roll of toilet paper, a beanie, or whatever they could manage.

“We didn’t have a lot back then, but we made something of what we collected and just started walking around meeting people, and offering what we had.

We felt so great about it, we just wanted to do more. We couldn’t wait till the next Sunday to come – and we just kept on doing it.”

Photo by:

Their impromptu outreach was about more than providing material aid – Ann wanted to do something about the isolation and loneliness people who are homeless experience. By asking approaching local businesses and total strangers to donate some food, a gold coin, or their time, Cos We Care is working to build a community where no one suffers the pain of isolation just because their circumstances have led them to homelessness.

“We don’t go to Foodbank, everything we get is donated from local people and businesses – it’s about getting people to be involved.

We now have about 30 volunteers – covering different things – sorting, distribution and helping out on the weekends. We have people who cook, share equipment, help set up, it’s a big community of people involved. That’s what makes it what it is.”

Now Cos We Care operates a weekly community breakfast in the local parklands and they now have about 80 regulars every Sunday. Ann is passionate about the Care in their name – and what it can do to change people’s lives.

“You never know where someone has come from, but everyone deserves care, and when you show that it changes everything.”

People sleeping rough or experiencing chronic homelessness are a small percentage of overall homelessness, but are more likely to have experienced significant abuse and trauma, and struggle with untreated physical or mental health issues. It’s easy to judge someone on the street for being ‘rough around the edges’ – but showing a little compassion to someone who may have rarely experienced it is much more helpful.

“I will never forget one fella had quite a bad attitude when he came to our first few breakfasts. But he kept coming, and we knew he’d come from a tough place – so we just kept reminding him that we are here because we care. After a few weeks, he had totally changed. He has beautiful manners, shows up early every Sunday to help out, and makes sure he thanks everyone by name. All it took was a little decency – we showed him respect and care.

It’s the little things that make a difference – care doesn’t cost you anything, but it’s so powerful and we need more of it.”

With the help of our StreetFunder community, we are supporting Cos We Care along with three other projects this month. Christmas is a busy time for the services we support and Cos We Care are no exception. They have been busy collecting food for hampers and will be holding a Christmas lunch in the park. Ann will be using the StreetFunder grant to give people something they may not have had before – a choice.

“When you’re depending on charity – so much of what you get is often the only thing on offer. The people we help are very grateful for that – but I’d love for them to buy something they really want – something they chose. That might be something they need, or a gift for a nephew, or something they just really want. I’d love for people to have that choice, that would be really wonderful.”


The Mum Powered Charity That’s Helping Local Families in Need

By | DineSmart, Projects StreetSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

Jessica Macpherson, founder and CEO of St Kilda Mums

St Kilda Mums connects new and pre-loved baby goods with families in need, and was founded by a group of mums with the very simple idea that local families can help each other out.

With a little helping hand from funds raised through our DineSmart campaign, this volunteer powered organisation has grown to include Eureka Mums in Ballarat and Geelong Mums. Jessica Macpherson, founder and CEO of St Kilda Mums now oversees an organisation with over 2,500 volunteers. But it started with just a handful of goods she donated to the St Kilda Maternal and Child Health Centre.

“When my son was newborn, I was visiting my maternal health centre very regularly. I started to offer some of the things my son had already outgrown. The nurse asked me to pop these things into the photocopy room, and I went in and saw that there was lots of donations like mine.

The nurses were taking these goods, and doing their best to distribute them. But they had no time to organise it all, which also meant they were struggling to find things when they needed them.

So I volunteered to organise all of the donations, to make it an easy pop in to find what was needed. I felt so good, and the nurses were so grateful, I just wanted to do more – and that was it.”

It was the beginning of a very small community project, that has now grown to service across Victoria and has been 100% lead by local mum’s. “Each of the projects has been set up by mums all working together, helping each other and sharing the load”.

While the core of their work is material aid, Jessica is quick to point out that there’s no such thing as a typical family that needs support, but there are some people that are more vulnerable than others.

“The majority of people we support are migrants and asylum seekers, women who are homeless or escaping family violence. We also help many teenage mums, indigenous families, women with poor mental health, disability or experiencing a crisis. While there’s no ‘perfect time’ to have a baby, some women will be facing this huge life-changing event under really difficult circumstances.”

St Kilda Mums Volunteer, Tammy

Homelessness comes at great cost to an individual’s health, and for a pregnant woman her own health and that of her unborn child are at risk. Untreated chronic disease, risk of infection, malnutrition and exposure to violence are just some of the risks pregnant women face while homeless, with many presenting to maternity wards with nothing but the clothing on their backs.

“Everyday, families who are presenting to the maternity ward with nothing. No accommodation, no idea where the next meal will come from. We know many of these women are in that situation because they are escaping violence, which escalates when they fall pregnant. Absolutely no one should be in that situation, let alone at such a critical time in their life. We are really glad to be able to step in and offer some immediate relief.”

Not everyone who needs help from St Kilda Mums would be immediately recognisable as vulnerable. Life can throw you a curveball at any time, and people are welcoming a child into the world every day amidst some very real, very big challenges.

“I will never forget one family we helped who had very premature twins – born three months early. As you might imagine mum and her babies needed to spend a lot of time in hospital. That was already a massive and unforeseen challenge, but over the course of the pregnancy dad’s health deteriorated and by the time of their birth, he was in palliative care. Whatever plans they had made were out the window, with dad’s illness and then such a premature birth the challenges for that family were huge.”

A new baby will often come at a time when everything seems to be in chaos, but I honestly believe it can be overcome with support, and that’s what we try to do – help in whatever way we can.”

There is an optimism and genuine care that underpins what St Kilda Mums’ does – supporting families when they need it and without judgement.

We believe that ending homelessness starts with local people creating connected communities, and that’s why we’ve been proud to support their work with almost $70k in community grants since 2012.  As Jessica explains…

“DineSmart grants have helped us launch in all three of our locations, and supported a number of our small projects and pilot projects, which have now gone on to become part of our core service. We could not have got these projects off the ground without that initial support.”


You can support St Kilda, Geelong and Eureka Mum’s by dining at a participating restaurant in those areas. Just check out our map to find your local.


CafeSmart Supporters Power 156 Community Projects

By | CafeSmart, News, StreetSmart News | No Comments

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


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.”


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

By | CafeSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

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.


#LocalHeroes With Darwin’s Danielle Mann

By | CafeSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

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.


Housing Affordability is a Nation Wide Issue

By | StreetFunder, StreetSmart News | No Comments

Source: Council for Homeless Persons

We know that the number of people trapped in the cycle of chronic homelessness is on the rise. It is one of the most visible social problems we face today. Lack of affordable housing options is the number one cause of homelessness, and it’s a nation wide issue.

Away from the streets the majority of homeless people are surviving in severely crowded dwellings, refuges, and other forms of crisis accommodation. Many of these options are not only temporary – they are unsafe.

Then there are the Almost Homeless – low income earners battling unaffordable rents and an absence of alternatives. Those people represent an incredible one in ten households – that is 850,000 people who are one more rent hike away from homelessness.

While our urban centres are certainly the most unaffordable – the squeeze is spreading further and further out. The last Census found that 60 per cent of Australians sleeping rough were outside the major cities

Mandy Booker at Homeless Hub provides frontline services to the homeless population in the  -Illawarra region, and free outreach services to the growing number of people who are at risk of becoming homeless. In the Illawarra region, around 1000 people are homeless each night, and the Homeless Hub is a lifeline for many of these people. 

“There is a lot of media around prices and the lack of affordable housing. But it is so much more than sound grab – it is a deep problem that is hurting so many people from all walks of life.”

Many smaller townships like Wollongong are absorbing large numbers of people who are migrating in search of cheaper accommodation, safety, and accessible support services.

“We see lots of people who are migrating in search of safety, support and the hope of more affordable housing options.”

But even in regional Australia private rental options are too expensive – or simply unwilling to take on lower income tenants. Social housing stock is at historical lows with waiting lists ranging up to 10 years. Even the UN is concerned about the boiling housing market, lack of social housing, and its impact on average and low income earners.

We echo the position of the Council to Homeless Persons that we urgently need leadership on a National Affordable Housing and Homelessness Strategy. We need strong funding arrangements for the states to support local services.

Right now, the not-for-profit sector is shouldering the burden with ever shrinking government support. The majority of the programs we provide grants to have no public funding. StreetSmart grants are able to fill the gap with the support of businesses and individuals who are concerned about what is happening in their communities.

Homeless Hub is one of the services doing what it can, with the resources they have, to try and ease some of the pressure people in housing stress are facing.

“So many people are just barely keeping a roof over their heads. They are being priced out of their homes. Rather than wait until people become homeless, we really need to provide support for them to stay housed.”

This month our StreetFunder program is supporting Homeless Hub with a grant for their mobile outreach program. If you want to lend a hand, you can find out more here.


StreetFunder crowd sources support for grassroots projects that work to combat homelessness.


A Roaster, a Sponsor, a Food Rescue Service, & Thousands of Lives Changed.

By | CafeSmart, StreetSmart News | No Comments

Everyday, the StreetSmart family of community projects, supporting partners, and everyday people are out there making life a little easier for the more than 644,000 people who go hungry every month, and 105,000 of those who do not have a safe place to call home.

John and Steph are Makers Fine Coffee, a budding speciality roaster based in inner East Melbourne. We got to know Steph and John in their previous lives running a café in Kew. They were early supporters CaféSmart, and are now spreading the love as a Roaster Partner.

John and Stef at Maker

I caught Steph for a chat in their sleek premises to talk coffee, community and impact. Like many of our Roasting Partners, the Makers’ passion for coffee goes hand in hand with passion for community. Stretching from growing countries, to the local roastery and the people in the local area.

“The community focus of CaféSmart translates in a visible way to the locality, and it makes complete sense for us as a business to support good work happening in our area.”

And that local impact is very tangible. Just a short hop from their premises is FareShare, a food recue organisation that turns surplus food bound for landfill into nutritious hot meals that are distributed to charities all over Melbourne.

The food rescue model has been something StreetSmart has supported through its early days. With billions of dollars of food waste going into landfill every year, and 2 million people going without – supporting food rescue is a no brainer for us.

Volunteers in the FareShare kitchen

Following the CaféSmart bread crumbs, I popped into meet with FareShare and one of our supporting partners, Jets from La Marzocco, who have their office near by. While Makers donations have found their way down the road, Jets decided to take time out from the office to volunteer.

“Through CaféSmart we became really interested in where the money was going. We discovered that FareShare was just around the corner, and started volunteering on a regular basis. As partners our funds indirectly support FareShare, and I was curious to do more.

I was aware of the shifts in the economy, with movements in manufacturing and job losses, so this was a story that I could connect to. Food security goes beyond the rough sleepers you see on the streets – there is an invisible crisis unfolding and I felt I wanted to be part of the solution. CaféSmart kind of lead me there.”

It is sometimes overwhelming to think of the scale of the homelessness issue, and what is needed to address it. Drastic government reform, mass investment in social housing stock, radical shifts in how we deal with our food waste – the road ahead is long and hard. But while we wage the war, every day small battles are won in our local communities.

A roaster, a sponsor, a food rescue service, and thousands of lives positively changed. Every one of these good news stories matter, and are worth celebrating.


If you are coffee roaster, and would like to join our quiet community revolution you can get in touch with us here.

If you’re a café, and want shake up some positive change for your locals, you can sign up here.