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crowdfunding Archives - StreetSmart Australia

4 Projects Lending a Hand To Those Doing It Tough This Christmas

By News, Projects StreetSmart, StreetSmart Projects

Although Christmas is a joyful time for many of us, it can be a very difficult time for many. Financial pressures, social isolation, and family separation increase dramatically over this period, making it one of the busiest times of year for the projects and services we support.

That’s why we have a number of ways to lend a hand to those who are doing it tough this holiday season – with DineSmart in full swing and StreetFunder supporting four projects to help meet the demand of Christmas – there are lots of ways to pay it forward. Read More

Seventy and Homeless for the First Time: The Rise of Older Women’s Homelessness

By News, StreetSmart Projects

While the stereotypical face of poverty is a older man – a lifetime down on his luck, the fastest growing demographic of people experiencing homelessness is single women over the age of 55.

For 15 years StreetSmart has been funding smaller grassroots organisations on the front line of community services. In recent years we have supported a number of services that are raising alarm bells about the scale of the issue, and the need for urgent reform. Read More

Tackling Homelessness in the Suburbs

By News, StreetSmart Projects

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.

 

SeedFunding Youth Homelessness Services to Break the Cycle

By News, StreetSmart Projects

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

#LocalHeroes With Darwin’s Danielle Mann

By CafeSmart, StreetSmart News

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.

Hunger and Food Security: an Invisible Crisis

By StreetSmart News, StreetSmart Projects

CareVan works in the Victorian and NSW boarder and serves up company and hot meals to the most vulnerable in the community.

This month is one of the coldest of the year. For those without a safe place to sleep or without the resources to heat their home, it’s the toughest time of year. That is why we are supporting three projects this June that are providing hot meals to people doing it tough.

Food security is an invisible crisis in our community. The dismantling of the social safety net by successive governments, housing stress, stagnant income growth, job insecurity and the cost of living are piling up – and it’s costing people dearly.

1 in 6 Australians report having experienced food insecurity at least once in the last 12 months, and a quarter of these are going hungry regularly. This is the difference between paying rent or a decent meal. It’s the choice between the gas heater and sending the kids to school with a packed lunch. Kathy Hogarthy at the St Mary’s House of Welcome has been running their meal service for years and explains that the “poorest of the poor” is a fast growing group:

“The demand for our services is unprecedented. In the last six months our daily breakfast has doubled and for some of these people that will be their only meal for the day.
It gets really cold and people need a substantive meal to stay healthy and warm. People are having to make the choice between a poor meal from a 7/11 and their medication or other really essential needs.”

 

Nationally more than 644,000 people now receive food relief each month, a third of whom are children. As a wealthy country it should be deeply shocking that we have eroded our once strong social safety net to such an extent that more than half a million people cannot put food on the table every month.

The depth of this problem is indicated by the diversity of those it effects. People with a disability, seniors, aboriginals, migrants and asylum seekers, women escaping domestic violence, people in rural or remote areas, single parents, as well as single men. Kathy has witnessed a shift in the kind of people coming in for the meal service:

“We are seeing a lot more women than in the past, lots of them sleeping in their cars and coming to us for a shower and a meal. Aboriginal people, and even children. The working poor haven’t seen an income rise in years, and can’t cope. There are so many factors, and so many people who just can’t even scrape by anymore.”

 

Happy diners at the CareVan meal service

The CareVan operates a meal service in Albury Wodonga for some of the communities most vulnerable, many of whom are wedged between different state arrangements of housing and social services. They also support a local church by donating meals, which Stacey Franklin says brings in more working class people who cannot cope with the cost of living, but still have a roof over their heads. Popping in to grab a take-away is less confronting for people who don’t have much interaction with charitable services. For these people, bill shock is a big reason they are struggling and need support when a big bill lands in their letter box.

With the sharp increase of people sleeping rough, we are confronted by poverty every time we step outside. The people cluttered around the safety of inner city streets are at the rough end of crisis. Less visible are families who can’t afford rent, let alone put food on the table. For every six people sleeping rough there is another 100 invisible people not able to afford the basics like food and shelter. Every one of these people deserves better, and that includes a nutritious meal and safe place to call home.

While we believe that governments need to step up and take the lead to address this crisis – we know that takes time, and people are struggling right now. You can support CareVan, St Mary’s House of Welcome and the Adelaide Day Centre meals services through our StreetFunder by following the link below.

StreetSmart is all about crowdfunded people power and getting every dollar donated to where it’s need most.

JOIN US IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER THIS WINTER BY DONATING TO OUR STREETFUNDER

 

StreetSmart Projects Crowdfunding Platform Update

By News, StreetSmart News

Back in lStreetSmart Projects Logoate 2014, after 18 months works, we launched our own crowdfunding platform, StreetSmart Projects.  The concept was simple – to empower smaller grassroots homeless services to engage and connect with the StreetSmart supporter community to crowdfund important projects in the community.  The pilot platform ran for 12 months raising over $35,000 for 10 projects.  Organisations such as Dandelion Support Network, The Footpath Library, Safe Futures and Emerge Womens and Childrens Network all successfully used the platform and each of the 10 projects reached its funding goal.  In a number of cases we raised considerably more than the $ target through donations direct to the organisation, in kind support and additional support.

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