Melbourne can be a world leading city in ending street homelessness.
That’s the message of Melbourne Zero, a new campaign to end rough sleeping, powered by Launch Housing.
Melbourne Zero is a movement of ordinary Melburnians, businesses, local government and community organisations all taking big and small actions to help end street homelessness.
In a “love letter to Melbourne” in today’s Age newspaper, 26 organisations and brands forming the Melbourne Zero Network, including REA Group, the City of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospital, and HoMie, are encouraging Melburnians to join the movement to end rough sleeping.
The campaign connects supporters and big thinker contributors to stories of real people’s lived experience of homelessness, generating support for a more caring city and a series of actions to create powerful change.
More housing and support are needed to end homelessness and the campaign invites supporters to take action themselves, and to express their desire for proven solutions to be deployed at scale.
Actions being taken by Melbourne Zero Network members include the refurbishment of 20 rooms in a crisis accommodation centre in Southbank by commercial fitout company SHAPE and their contractors, through donated time and labour, and repurposed building materials.
And Neuron Mobility will provide information to its e-scooter customers on actions they can take if they see someone rough sleeping, including the ability to connect via the app to Launch Housing for further support.
Businesses are being encouraged to consider open hiring employment practices, where candidates for a job are assessed only on their ability to perform the role, and not their background.
For individuals, the campaign encourages actions including learning what to do when coming across someone sleeping rough, renting out an investment property through a social enterprise like HomeGround Real Estate, participating in Melbourne Zero social media activities and supporting Melbourne Zero Network businesses. A monthly newsletter to campaign supporters will promote ongoing actions.
Quotes from Launch Housing CEO Bevan Warner:
“Homelessness is not inevitable, and it can be solved - with the right amount of social and affordable housing, wraparound support services and health care.
“Our biggest obstacle is indifference. Stigmatising of rough sleepers and the passive acceptance of homelessness are preventing us from doing more.
“If enough people and organisations commit to change through personal empathy and action, it will help empower our leaders to do the work required to end rough sleeping.”
Quotes from Lord Mayor Sally Capp:
“Everyone deserves access to a safe and secure home. It is heartening to have industry leaders come together with community organisations to progress a shared goal. At the City of Melbourne we are doing everything we can to support pathways out of rough sleeping. We are investing in projects that will change lives for the better, such as our city-shaping Make Room project, which will provide supported accommodation and wrap-around services for up to 50 people.”
Quotes from Mary Lemonis, Chief People & Sustainability Officer, REA Group:
“As an organisation with roots in Melbourne, REA Group is proud to support Launch Housing and the Melbourne Zero Campaign. Our purpose is to change the way the world experiences property, and this includes those that are at risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness.
“With the current rental crisis and rising pressures on the cost of living, we know housing affordability is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue for many. We’re pleased to play a small part in supporting the Melbourne Zero campaign, encouraging Melburnians to take action and bring about meaningful change, so everyone has a safe place to sleep at night and importantly, a place to call home.”
Quotes from Nicole Bartholomeusz, Chief Executive, Cohealth:
“Safe housing is one of the fundamental building blocks of good health. As a health service that supports some of Victoria’s most vulnerable people, every day we see the impact that homelessness has on people’s physical, mental and social health.
“We are getting behind the Melbourne Zero campaign because we know that we can’t create truly healthy communities until everyone has a safe home, plus the ongoing support they need to keep it.”
Media contact: Rebecca Nicholson - 0447 964 899
Tuesday 14 February 2023