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Dine Out and Help Someone Sleeping Out this Festive Season

By DineSmart

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. Read More

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Tackling Homelessness in the Suburbs

By News, StreetSmart Projects No Comments

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

By News, StreetSmart Projects No Comments

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. Read More

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Street Socceroos Ready to Kick Goals at the Homeless World Cup

By News, StreetSmart Projects No Comments

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. Read More

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What is Causing the Homelessness Crisis?

By CafeSmart, News

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. Read More

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#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.

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Housing Affordability is a Nation Wide Issue

By StreetSmart News, StreetSmart Projects 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.

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CafeSmart #LocalHeroes with On the Go Espresso

By CafeSmart, News No Comments

 

Dave Humphreys is On the Go Espresso – a zippy little caffeine station that clocks up to 150 kilometres in a day serving up customers all over the Sunshine Coast. On the Go Espresso is also one of CafeSmart’s quiet achievers.

Since 2015 Dave’s collection box has more than doubled the totals from the $1 per coffee sold on the day. I gave Dave a call to talk about the secret to his CafeSmart success. It turns out the secret ingredient: passion for cause.  Read More

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One Single Cup of Coffee Can Change Lives

By CafeSmart, News No Comments

CafeSmart is a campaign built on the energy and commitment of the coffee industry around Australia.  Campos Coffee have been a CafeSmart Roasting Partner for six years, and have taken out our Coffee Roaster Award for the last three.

With this year’s campaign rounding the bend, I caught up with Campos Director Rafael Bartowski about what CaféSmart means for their business. Read More

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Local People Fight to End Homelessness

By CafeSmart, News

We are one month away from CafeSmart – one of the biggest campaigns in the StreetSmart calendar. Behind the scenes, our Sponsors, Roasting Partners, and participating cafes are gearing up to raise funds for homeless services in their local area. Amid the madness that goes into the campaign, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on why it matters.

Homelessness is complex, and its impacts are far reaching. Read More

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