Melbourne unites on World Homeless Day


Melbourne’s corporate and property sectors, philanthropists, charities and local governments are coming together to build more accommodation for the more than 300 people that sleep rough on the streets each night.

The City of Melbourne is bringing together these groups to work collaboratively to find, assess and redevelop suitable buildings to deliver more beds and support services to help people sleeping rough find a pathway out of homelessness.

The vision is to provide a greater supply of supported accommodation to help people off the streets and provide the wrap-around services required to build pathways into secure housing for people sleeping rough in Melbourne.

Major corporate supporters of the initiative include Lendlease and philanthropic groups such as Housing All Australians. Service providers involved include The Salvation Army, VincentCare, Melbourne City Mission and Launch Housing. PwC Australia is also providing professional services to the City of Melbourne in relation to the initiative.

The City of Melbourne will partner with Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and a giving account within the Foundation’s tax deductible Fund will be established to take pledges and accept donations for this homelessness initiative.

This partnership between the City of Melbourne and the LMCF will allow corporate supporters and individuals to contribute to the initiative.

The urgent need is to use these funds to re-purpose buildings to provide appropriate accommodation and house essential support services.

More corporate, philanthropic and government support will be welcomed as the initiative takes shape. We are also working with neighbouring local governments including the City of Yarra.

The collaboration comes as the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors hosts a homelessness and affordable housing roundtable in Melbourne today to discuss national solutions to the problem.

Quotes attributable to Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“We are focused on finding local solutions to deliver more accommodation with wrap-around support services for those people who are sleeping rough on our streets.

“More than 300 people sleep rough on our streets every night and we know every safe and supported bed will help.

“This is a coordinated approach across municipalities and across sectors to provide a safe place to sleep and support services for those people who are truly vulnerable.

“This group has expertise in business, property, homelessness services and the support of local governments and we will use our collective skills to help people who are truly struggling.

“We are in the process of assessing buildings in inner Melbourne to find the right spot to deliver this new accommodation and build a pathway out of homelessness for people sleeping rough in our city.

Quotes attributable to Councillor Beverley Pinder, Chair of the City of Melbourne’s People City Portfolio

“This is about helping people when they are at their most vulnerable – not just by providing a safe space to sleep, but through tailored support services that meet each individual’s needs.

“Homelessness affects people from different ages and backgrounds. It’s a complex issue that’s bigger than any one council or city.

“We need to work together on a coordinated response that supports people to get back on their feet.

“It’s encouraging to have councils, the corporate sector and philanthropic organisations working together collaboratively with homelessness services to take action.”

Quotes attributable to Launch Housing Chief Executive Officer Bevan Warner:

“With around 90 requests for homelessness assistance going unmet every day in Victoria, we urgently need more homes and more support for people who don’t have a place to sleep tonight.

“The community can end homelessness through effective partnerships across sectors. Creating more appropriate and supported crisis accommodation won’t replace adequate investment in long term social housing, but it is part of the solution.

“Supported accommodation provides a rapid response that can help stabilise lives, and connect people and families with the services they need.”

Quotes attributed to Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation CEO, Catherine Brown

“Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has a strong history in funding and supporting projects that prevent people entering and experiencing entrenched homelessness.

“Recent projects have included increasing the supply of crisis accommodation with VincentCare’s redevelopment of Ozanam House and Melbourne City Mission’s redevelopment of Frontyard Youth Refuge for young people who are homeless. Other projects have included supporting the development of medium and longer-term affordable housing for women and families with Women’s Property Initiative, Launch Housing and Habitat for Humanity.

“As the independent community foundation for greater Melbourne, we are looking forward to contributing our expertise to this important collaborative initiative.”

Quotes attributable to Housing All Australians Founder, Robert Pradolin

“No-one should be without a safe place to call home in a country as prosperous as ours. However, the current housing market is failing so many people. Housing All Australians aims to change that, and the first step is to put the empty buildings in our cities to use to provide people with a safe and secure place to live while they get their lives on track.

“Housing All Australians is a private sector For Purpose Organisation that believes safe, affordable and stable housing is a necessity for every Australian to be productive and be able to contribute to society.

“We have been able to assemble a group of leading firms involved in delivering great buildings to offer their services, on a pro bono basis, to help those people sleeping rough. In Melbourne, this ‘A Team’ includes Kane Constructions, Cox Architects, Umow Lai, Irwin Consult, Bonacci, Gallagher Jeffs, du Chateau Chun, Rider Levett Bucknell, Hollerich Town Planning and legal services provided by Norton Rose Fulbright. It is an amazing sign of the willingness of the private sector to collaborate with government and help solve our country’s homeless crisis.

“Housing all Australians has already assisted in delivering one project in Melbourne that has converted an empty building into transitional accommodation for women over 50, the Lakehouse, which is managed by the YWCA, and has housed over 50 vulnerable women in its first 12 months.”