Like you, we’ve been reflecting on 2023 as it starts to draw to a close. It’s been a big one, and you’ve helped start something special – a growing community movement to end homelessness in Melbourne, starting with ending rough sleeping.
What began with a love letter to our city is now becoming a wave of change in how we think and act, helping make Melbourne a city where everyone has a home.
In this month's newsletter, we have some interesting reads – what you can do to help if you see someone sleeping rough, how homelessness affects everyone, what more homes will do for our city, and, of course, the voices of people who are now in safe homes.
Wondering how to help if you see someone experiencing homelessness?
Seeing someone sleeping rough in your local area can feel confronting, especially when you’re unsure how to help. While there's no one right action, it is clear that the kindness of strangers can make a world of difference. And that means each of us.
Stop - See the person. Simple actions, from making eye contact or a warm smile, can be the start of acknowledging someone's humanity and dignity. Acknowledge the person is there and part of our community. If it feels appropriate, consider pausing to share a pleasant comment.
Share - If it feels appropriate, consider asking how the person is and if there’s something they'd like. Sharing a hot coffee, voucher, food, money, or socks can brighten someone’s day. If they have an animal, share kind words about it or ask what their pet’s name is. Be sure to keep your own expectations in check. Be mindful that some people don’t want to be approached.
Care - While you've just shown that our community cares, know there’s more you can do as you walk away. Contacting your local council can help connect someone with the immediate and longer-term support they need. Read on for other actions you can take to help.
Read on for other actions you can take to help.
Homelessness Affects Everyone. Yes, Even You.
Journalist and author Jane Gilmore is our latest Big Thinker writer, sharing how homelessness affects the health and safety of all of us.
“Like experiencing homelessness, car accidents can happen to anyone. Roughly 65% of us have had one. So it’s not hard to imagine that in a moment of distraction, exhaustion, or sheer bad luck, I could end up in a serious crash.
If I survive that crash, Melbourne’s homelessness crisis will have a direct impact on my treatment and recovery.”
An opportunity for a nationwide plan to end homelessness
You’ve no doubt heard that the Federal Government is developing a National Housing and Homelessness Plan. On behalf of the 60+ partners involved in six collective impact Zero projects across Melbourne, we made a submission outlining practical steps that will end homelessness permanently.
We know what we need to end homelessness. That is why we are very clear about our ask from the National Housing and Homelessness Plan.
Read more here about the 10 key actions we believe will end homelessness not just in Melbourne but across the country.
Melbourne City Mission, Launch Housing, REA Group, and other Melbourne Zero Network members also made submissions, showing the growing collective pushing for change.
Making room for Melbourne’s Missing Middle
YIMBY Melbourne, a proud member of the Melbourne Zero Network, recently released its first report on changes to Victoria’s planning and tax system to build a more livable, sustainable, and affordable city for all.
The Melbourne’s Missing Middle report calls for upzoning in our inner suburbs, creating a new middle zone to enable six-storey mixed-use development on all residential land within short distances of train and tram stops -to build a network of 1,992 high-amenity, walkable neighbourhoods.
Can you imagine what that would look like?
Ending homelessness starts with creating more homes.
Verity’s impactful story on the ABC
“You get used to life hitting you pretty hard, but homelessness is one of the hardest things that’s hit me.”
Verity has a lived experience of homelessness and is a resident at a Youth Foyer in Melbourne.
Recently, she was invited onto ABC’s Melbourne Mornings with Rafael Epstein to talk about her experience of homelessness.
When we talk openly about homelessness, people start to listen.
“I want to read a text someone sent in while you were talking Verity: ‘Wow, I hope every politician in the country is required to listen to what you have just said’” - Rafael Epstein.
Listen to the full interview with Verity and City of Yarra Mayor Edward Crossland here.