Setting up someone for tenancy success is a vital part of any homeless support service but funding for household items is hard to come by. This is where StreetSmart’s ‘Making-a-Home’ initiative steps in.
We currently have an affordable housing crisis, twenty years in the making and super charged by the current pandemic. This crisis is contributing to a rise in homelessness across Australian communities. During COVID we have seen a significant increase in the cost of rent, a continuing restricted supply of housing within the private rental market and financial stress due to disrupted employment. Public housing and social housing both have lengthy wait lists in all States, often over 10 years.
These factors have meant that homelessness services are again seeing a rise in rough sleeping, couch surfing and overcrowding, and a decrease in affordable housing, both within the private market and social housing. Many people on the margins, who rely on a number of part-time or casual jobs in hospitality, retail, arts and tourism, have seen their income and employment being severely affected. As a result of this growing crisis, homelessness services are meeting new people who have found themselves homeless, unemployed and without support, accessing services for the very first time in their lives. These people are from all walks of life and all ages.
Securing any type of affordable housing is incredibly difficult, especially if you are on a low income. But when it is possible, then it is vital that families and individuals do not go into immediate debt setting up their tenancy. Many people experiencing homelessness have very few personal belongings, some have absolutely nothing, especially if they have fled a family violence situation. Everyday household items are a luxury they don’t have.
Setting up someone for tenancy success is a vital part of any homeless support service but funding for household items is hard to come by. This is where StreetSmart’s ‘Making-a-Home’ initiative steps in. StreetSmart raises funds and distributes community grants to front line homeless services to give people the best possible chance of a successful new start.
The housing set up process can include the purchase of items such as:
-White Goods (fridge, washing machine)
-Furniture (beds & mattresses, couches, dining tables & chairs)
-Kitchenware (plates, glassware, pots & pans, cooking utensils)
-Kitchen Appliances (toasters, kettles and microwaves)
-Soft furnishings (bed linen, towels, curtains, pillows)
-Household Items (vacuum, mops, brooms, cleaning materials)
-Moving and delivery costs
Rachel, Street to Home Co-ordinator, Micah Projects (pictured right)
“Thank you for this opportunity. Through this grant we will support women and families to set up their new properties. We have found there is a real gap in services being able to fund these items as they do not fit into many funding criteria. It is really practical help, at a time of crisis. Women’s needs vary, case by case, depending on type of housing (some properties have basic furniture whereas some are unfurnished), and what women may have been able to store or bring with them. On average we would look to spend up to $1000 to support a woman to buy basic cleaning supplies (cleaning products, brooms, mops etc.) some basic pantry items, crockery, pots & pans, tea towels, basic items for children, including bedding, baby baths, highchairs and in some cases towels, linen etc” – Jade Blakkarly, CEO, Juno, Melbourne
“Our housing clients are young LGBTIQA+ people aged 16 to 25. We provide case management and support for 25 clients in transitional housing tenancies which includes assisting them in purchasing essential items to start the tenancy, as well as supporting them when moving out to purchase additional items they will need in their next residence. Most clients require support to purchase kitchenware, cookware, cleaning items, homewares, furniture, sometimes white goods, as well as hiring a mover etc. The cost is around $1000 per tenancy. This financial support will be invaluable in helping to set up our clients for a successful transition to independent living and the next stage of their lives.” – Mish Pony, Twenty10, Sydney
Household items ready for distribution at Twenty-10
“Our housing and support service is a first port of call for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness within the Brisbane metro region. Our team supports individuals and families who are sleeping rough in public spaces, couch surfing, or living in their cars. When someone is able to secure a housing placement our teams work quickly to ensure that their new home is set up prior to the participant moving in. By completing a full housing set up, our teams are able to give individuals and families the opportunity to settle into their new homes without accruing debt for household furniture, giving them the best chance of sustaining their tenancies.” – Tahlia Edwards, MICAH Projects, Brisbane
Micah Projects, Making a Home recipient, Anthony (pictured)
The ‘Making-a-Home’ program has received wonderful support from the team at Eva – eva.com.au (pictured below),
“Every product we design at Eva is to make your life more comfortable. But sadly, we see vulnerable people in Australia who don’t have access to the daily essentials we take for granted.
This is why Eva jumped at the chance to partner with StreetSmart and have pledged to donate 1% from every mattress sale to positively impact communities through their Making-a-Home program. Since July 2021, I’m proud to say that Eva has raised over $40,000 for StreetSmart.
In a time where we’re spending more time at home than ever, we can’t think of anything more important than helping to create a safe space for those who need it most.” Molly Wescott – Eva