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.
Funding to the homelessness sector is a complicated web of federal and state government agreements. Too often the first thing on the chopping block when populist sentiment wins over good governance.
When governments retreat from their obligations to our society’s most vulnerable – the responsibility falls on the already struggling not-for-profit sector to make up the difference.
CafeSmart grants pool locally raised donations and direct them into local services that are working on the front lines. These are services that are serving up hot meals, putting roofs over people’s heads, and proving relief packages to people in need.
One organisation CafeSmart has continued to support over the years is Youth Futures. One of their programs supports young mums to break the cycle of homelessness, and to keep children from needlessly going into state care. Despite the obvious good for the families they assist and the broader community – they have no government support.
West Coast cafes – Go Coffee Go, Myrtle Ivy, and Yahava are among those getting behind outcomes for Perth. Their efforts have helped to keep Youth Futures programs running.
Another great program CafeSmart donations have supported is Travellers Aid. They do vital work to assist people in crisis. They provide material aid, like hygiene products and phone cards, as well as hot showers, access to phone and internet and travel vouchers. Despite being an important drop-in service for the growing number of rough sleepers, Travellers Aid lost government funding and now depend on the support of grants.
Mr Grazier, Higher Ground, Earl Canteen, Blended Beard and Sensory Lab are among our Melbourne locals who keep Travel Aid’s programs open to the city’s most vulnerable.
When governments fail to step up, local people are stepping in. CafeSmart is a day of good will, and hard work by roasters, cafes owners, staff and local people who want to see things change for the better.
CafeSmart is about keeping a young mum and child together, or offering a hot shower to a person in need. It is about providing a leg-up, rather than sending people packing into the cold.
If you’re a café, and want shake up some positive change for your locals, you can sign up here.
If you want to support CafeSmart and #HelpYourHood, find out more here.