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Have your say in our housing future

Four people stand side by side holding up the handwritten pieces of paper which collectively read \We did it... more than 5,000 Melbournians have joined the movement so far! Thank you to those who took up our challenge last month to share the Melbourne Zero movement with people in your community. You helped us hit this milestone.  

This month, we have some exciting progress updates, starting with a big welcome to new network members, The Body Shop and YIMBY Melbourne. Many voices are needed to end homelessness, and we’re excited that this growing group of partners are advocating for real change. 

Momentum is picking up. Are you wondering where to direct your energy this month? 

Public consultation for the National Housing and Homeless Plan is open, and we encourage you to share your vision for a better housing future. The federal government is planning a 10-year strategy, which will determine future housing and homelessness policy across Australia. What change do you want to see in the next decade? More homes are needed, but so are healthcare and support to ensure people can not only access but retain their housing. We know you agree, so why not add your voice to the submissions? 

Together, we can ensure Melbourne is a city where no one sleeps rough and where people have not only a home but the support they need to thrive. 

Make your submission here or sign up to one of two online webinars for more information. 

Open Hiring - providing a foot through the door for those locked out 

As part of their global commitment to support inclusivity and equality, The Body Shop launched Australia’s first Open Hiring practice – which employs staff based on their potential, not their past.  

Now in its third year running, the program is giving confidence, skills, and opportunities that can have a ripple effect for people who may find it tough to get a foot in the door for employment. 

Just three questions are asked in recruitment:

  • Do you have legal rights to work in Australia?
  • Can you lift up to 5kg?
  • Can you work a 5-hour shift?

Open hiring makes work more accessible to people who may have been otherwise excluded from job opportunities. Business benefits, social justice wins, and open hiring can be a game-changer. Globally, Open Hiring has helped The Body Shop gain qualified and loyal employees with 25% of recruits going on to become permanent staff! 

“The Body Shop looks at people for who they are and not what they’ve done. To get a second chance gives you a reason to come to work.” – The Body Shop employee.

The Body Shop’s open hiring is on again now. Find out more here. 

Are you an employer – or could you chat with yours? How could your workplace become a fairer and more inclusive employer?   

Zero homelessness within reach in one Melbourne area 

A drone photo of Melbourne's skyline taken from the cities inner north.

We need to measure what we seek to change. Since 2019, across 6 LGAs in Melbourne have had a ‘by name list’ (a key step in the collaborative local approach to ending rough sleeping, which seeks to get to know every person sleeping rough in an area and enables a coordinated client-centred local service response), almost 1,500 people have been supported.  

Today, 1 in 3 people known to a ‘by name list’ have been housed - half within the City of Melbourne. And in fantastic news, the city of Stonnington is within touching distance of hitting zero rough sleeping, with 6 people currently actively homeless! While there is a long way to go to house all people sleeping rough across Melbourne, these results are a tribute to the many agencies working tirelessly together to end street homelessness. 

Ending homelessness for older women in eastern metro Melbourne 

The Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance (EAHA) is a collaboration of six councils in Melbourne’s eastern metro area, from Boroondara to the Yarra Ranges. 

It recently launched a new project tackling the prevalence of homelessness among older women in the region. Research shows single women aged 55+ are the fastest-growing group experiencing homelessness across Australia.  

Since the end of last year, the group has spoken to older women with a lived experience of homelessness to better understand what type of housing changes and support would make the biggest difference for them. Things like more affordable retirement accommodation, mental health awareness, making ‘granny flats’ easier to build, and connection with neighbours were among some solutions raised. 

The project will now look further into two key solutions for the eastern area: using underutilised property and cheaper accommodation in retirement villages. 

Patrick’s story  

When you don't have a home, there's just nothing. There are no day-to-day activities that make sense because there's nowhere to do them and nowhere to go back to.  

It took away all my passion for life, which I never thought would happen.”  

Watch Patrick’s story of homelessness here.

Beyond Scapegoating: Tackling the housing crisis together 

To solve the housing crisis, we need diverse ideas, approaches, and tools together. We also need a diversity of people.  
Read this compelling essay by our latest Big Thinker Aleem Ali, CEO of Welcoming Australia, here.

Crisis in crisis accommodation

Last week, a report from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found the housing crisis is creating a crisis in emergency accommodation, where people entering the homelessness service system have no meaningful pathways out into permanent housing. 

With more homes, healthcare and support, both the housing and homelessness crises can be solved. 

If you missed the report’s lead researcher, Dr Deb Batterham, on ABC RN Breakfast, never fear! You can read her thoughts in this article from The Guardian. 

Things you can do this Month

Find out what your local council is doing about increasing affordable housing and ending homelessness. 

Emailing the council can be a great way to begin seeking answers, be kept in the loop and become part of your local area change. Seek out a council contact and ask them some questions, like: 

• What are your council’s strategies and plans to increase affordable housing and end homelessness?
• How are these coordinated with other councils and peak bodies?   

 Challenge yourself for 24 hours – with friends.


Gather your friends and take on The Roughin’ It Challenge together – pick a date, don your beanie and experience this 24-hour challenge with mates from work, school or other parts of life. Deeper insights are guaranteed! Raise funds to combat homelessness in Melbourne while you take your learning to the next level.  

Know what to do if you see someone who has overdosed.

Last week was National Overdose Awareness Day. Hear from a frontline Alcohol and Other Drugs team specialist about the vital role of Naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose, often available for free at pharmacies.   

Watch the video here.

Want more ideas? 

There’s lots that you can do to help end homelessness in Melbourne - no matter how much time you have. 

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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.