Partnerships, Pop-Up Housing

South Melbourne Project: Revamping homes for people in need

RMIT students and staff have volunteered time to support the South Melbourne Project, where industry partners Better Living Group and Plantfulness are revamping 31 units to provide housing solutions for those in need.

Close to a dozen students got their hands dirty working to revitalise the gardens surrounding the units.

Diploma of Business student Luke Bountris said that he loved the opportunity to connect and volunteer with RMIT industry partners for a social cause. 

“I really value the community feeling of different companies coming together to make one good force,” he said.  

Program Coordinator Ngoc Le Chow from the College of Vocational Education’s Business and Enterprise Cluster was similarly enthused about the hands-on volunteering opportunity.  

“It not only allows students to contribute directly to the project’s physical transformation, but also gives them valuable insights into the work our partners are doing.”

Better Living Group, a family-run property and development company, took on the work pro bono in partnership with non-for-profit organisation Plantfulness, after the project was brought to their attention by Housing All Australians (HAA). 

Bonnie Hook from Plantfulness, and Silvio Mazzei, Better Living Group’s Executive Director of Construction, said they were pleased with the student volunteers’ efforts.

“The students from RMIT have been fantastic; they’ve been really positive and generous, and they’ve asked lots of questions. It’s been great to integrate with them,” Hook said. 

Despite it not being a “pen-and-paper” project, Mazzei believes that volunteering with the South Melbourne Project has been an invaluable experience as it allows students to have a real impact.

“Students are very keen to participate in this space. There’s a social awareness that’s growing in Melbourne because of homelessness,” he said.   

“For students to actually come on the ground and get their hands dirty and have a real impact in terms of real-life experiences, I think it’s just awesome for them to be part of.”

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