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Be A Voice for Generations this National Reconciliation Week

We're excited to share that the Melbourne Zero movement has gained over 3,400 supporters who believe an end to homelessness in Melbourne is possible! If you’ve newly signed up, welcome – we’re so happy to have you.  


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this email contains images and voices of deceased people. 


We're excited to share that the Melbourne Zero movement has gained over 3,400 supporters who believe an end to homelessness in Melbourne is possible! If you’ve newly signed up, welcome – we’re so happy to have you.  

 As National Reconciliation Week (NRW) approaches on 27th May, we reflect on the past, the inequalities First Nations people continue to face, and building a better future together. It's a devastating fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are overrepresented in our national homelessness statistics, with the latest Census showing that despite First Nations people making up 3.8% of our population, they comprise 20.4% of people experiencing homelessness.  

Let us embrace this opportunity to contribute to reconciliation, listen deeply to First Nations voices, and take action to end the injustice still experienced by First Nations people.  

Thanks again for being a part of this growing movement, pushing for better for everyone. 

Take action this month in Naarm (Melbourne)

National Reconciliation Week

This year's National Reconciliation Week theme is "Be a Voice for Generations". prompting us to consider the impact we can all have on promoting reconciliation. 

Knowledge is power! Here are five ways which to expand your knowledge about the rich and ongoing history of the world’s oldest living culture right here in our city. 
• Visit Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre 
See 19th-century drawings by William Barak at the Ian Potter Centre  
• Discover Aboriginal Victoria at the Koorie Heritage Trust  
• Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria 
• Enjoy some contemporary Aboriginal cuisine.

A recommended read this May: The legacy of the beloved Uncle Jack Charles 

Cover of Jack Charles' Born-Again Blakfulla

“As an actor and an addict, I had grown used to the paradoxical nature of my existence, I'd drop in at one of the hostels for a feed, and there'd be a message for me to ring a number or to be at the airport to catch this flight or that. You'd go from using newspapers and sleeping in laundrettes and women’s toilets to being put in fancy hotels with plush bedding and pillows”. 

- Actor, author, activist, and Aboriginal elder Uncle Jack Charles.  

Uncle Jack was an Aboriginal Elder, a Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta man. A part of the Stolen Generation, he was taken from his mother as a child and grew up in Box Hill Boys Home. Despite facing addiction, homelessness, and jail time throughout his life, Uncle Jack used his experiences to create powerful artworks that showcased Indigenous peoples' resilience and strength.  

His story sheds light on the complex and hidden nature of homelessness.  

 His advocacy for the progress of the rights of First Nations people, particularly in supporting young people in the prison system, will not be forgotten. 

Read more on Uncle Jack’s story in his autobiography A Born-Again Blakfulla, available from Melbourne Zero Network member Readings.

Ngwala Willumbong - culturally sensitive support in St Kilda

A young man, standing in a kitchen, stares thoughtfully at the camera.

While many people assume alcohol and drug abuse are the main causes of homelessness, the reality is many people experiencing homelessness develop addictions while homeless to cope with the trauma of the situation. It’s a catch-22 - chronic and intense use of substances makes it even more challenging for people to access support, services, and stable housing. 

Ngwala Willumbong is an Indigenous community-led organisation in St Kilda which focuses on the provision of alcohol and drug (AOD) residential rehabilitation and outreach support tailored to the needs of Aboriginal people and their families. Their services connect people to housing programs, alcohol and drug counselling, youth programs, legal services, and health services - crucial in someone’s journey out of homelessness. 

We’re proud to have Ngwala Willumbong as a founding member of the Melbourne Zero Network – taking action for real change to end street homelessness.  

Find out more here. 


Building on the lessons of 2020 to end street homelessness

Star trails over Melbourne's skyline

Photo by Yong Chuan Tan 

"In the first half of 2020, as the COVID pandemic spread across Australia, something quite extraordinary happened.   

Within a very short space of time, state and territory governments found temporary accommodation, mostly in the form of empty hotel rooms, for more than 7,000 people who would otherwise have been living on the street". 

Peter Mares explores important lessons learnt about what works and our challenge now to maintain the gains made and build on alliances formed to move beyond short-term crisis accommodation as a response to homelessness.

Read more here.

Significant reduction in First Nations people experiencing homelessness in Port Phillip 

Photo by Mike Stevens

In just four years, the number of First Nations people recorded as actively experiencing homelessness on the City of Port Phillip’s
By-Name-List dropped from 58 to 11. 

More broadly, Port Phillip is on the cusp of having below 50 people recorded as actively homeless, with a 60% reduction in street homelessness from the peak two years ago.  
These outstanding outcomes are real change in people’s lives through collaborative, tailored housing and support provision in the LGA. It means homes, hope, and the chance to build a better future. It shows the Zero approach works! 

Find out more about progress here. 


Want to start conversations with decision-makers in your local area about how ending homelessness is possible?  

Find out what your local council is doing about increasing affordable housing and ending homelessness. Here are a few questions to help kick off your inquiries.


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Add your voice today

From business leaders to your next-door neighbours, we're calling on every Melburnian to join the Melbourne Zero movement and help end homelessness in our city.