COVID-19 UPDATE: Click here for StreetSmart Australia’s response

SmartCare grants supporting the mental & physical wellbeing of frontline workers

By Grant Impact, Projects StreetSmart, SmartCare

Bolton Clarke staff picnic funded by SmartCare

Last year was tough. Many of the small organisations we support were on the frontline looking after our most vulnerable and keeping them safe. Many charities saw revenues fall while demand on their services increased and they continued to reach out and provide vital support.

Frontline homelessness case work is distressing and enormously stressful. Staff burnout happens regularly. Workers often suffer ‘vicarious trauma’ as a result of being regularly exposed to distressing material or stories.

That’s why we set up SmartCare. It is an innovative program providing support to our frontline workers. People caring for marginalised and disadvantaged people often don’t take the time or have the necessary tools to look after their own mental and physical wellbeing. In order for charities to retain talented, caring and professional people they need to make sure their staff is supported. So, we stepped in. The StreetSmart community rallied together and donated to enable us to provide 15 grants in November. This meant for the first time in a long while or first time ever, charities could provide team building sessions, self-care initiatives, personal counselling and reward programs.

Here is what it meant to the organisations and their staff…

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Generous CafeSmart Supporters Fund 87 Community Grants

By CafeSmart, Grant Impact, StreetSmart Projects, Uncategorised
During 2020 everything changed, most fundraising events were heavily impacted or cancelled. The 10th running of our annual CafeSmart event was one of these events. At first, we thought it would be cancelled outright as the hospitality industry was shut down. However, our sponsors, roasters and café community rallied and insisted CafeSmart go ahead to help continue our work to support people experiencing homelessness, especially during the challenges of 2020.

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SmartMeals delivers nourishment, connection, and hope over 100,000 times

By COVID-19 Emergency Response Grants, DineSmart, SmartMeals, StreetSmart News
To every single donor who has supported our work since March – THANK YOU.  You have enabled us to distribute over 100,000 SmartMeals, through a network of 62 charity partners giving vulnerable people access to nutritious meals. The program has distributed $780,000 to 56 cafes, restaurants and food based social enterprises, keeping people employed. It’s been an extraordinary collaboration driven by community and philanthropy.

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SmartCare Provides First Wellbeing Grants for Essential, Frontline Staff

By COVID-19 Emergency Response Grants, Projects StreetSmart, SmartCare
Staff at South Port Community Group

Staff at South Port Community Group

The workload on our frontline essential workers has been relentless over the past 7 months.  They are the carers that have kept vulnerable people safe, yet they are often people who do not prioritise their own wellbeing. That’s where we have stepped in with an innovative new program. SmartCare raises funds and awareness for staff wellbeing programs.

We are excited to announce that just two months after launching SmartCare we have just made our first round of SmartCare Grants across five states. Fifteen organisations were funded with $47,000 worth of grants, impacting an estimated 540 staff.

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The inextricable link between homelessness and poverty

By COVID-19, Homelessness in the news
Centrelink line
Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked.

If we want to end homelessness, we must also end poverty. Two major policy responses to substantially reduce poverty, and homelessness, have been put forward strongly for at least a decade. Both could also have a substantial impact as an economic stimulus as we navigate the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Firstly, immediately lift Job Seeker payments permanently and secondly, build more public and social housing. Read More

Pandemic paves the way to solving homelessness

By COVID-19, Homelessness in the news

People facing homelessness leave a shelter for a hotel. (ABC News: Scott Mitchell)

It’s Homelessness Week and we are at a pivotal time for homelessness and housing policy in Australia. What we have seen happen since late March has been nothing but monumental and presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the country’s homelessness system. We need to make sure we continue this revolution for the homelessness sector and not go back to the way it was before the pandemic hit.

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StreetSmart Helps FareShare Provide Food Relief and Employment

By COVID-19 Emergency Response Grants, DineSmart, Grant Impact, News
William and Lorena working at Fare Share

Visa holders William and Lorena working at FareShare

In March, as COVID-19 hit, we saw food relief programs, community kitchens and soup vans ceasing to operate. Anxiety about the virus, social distancing recommendations and a dependence on vulnerable older volunteers meant quick closures.  This left vulnerable people without their usual support and social connections. We also heard from our hospitality partners that they had been hit hard and many vulnerable staff were likely to suffer dis-proportionally.

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