Great news! There’s lots you can do TODAY to help end homelessness in Melbourne. Here’s some ideas for taking action, no matter how much time you have.
Got 5 minutes today?
- Join the Melbourne Zero movement. Add your voice to the campaign’s call for change to end homelessness in Melbourne.
- Take and share your 'doortrait' on social media. Show Melbourne we can end homelessness, encourage friends to join the movement, and create a wall of content that shows our leaders we care.
- Connect with Melbourne Zero via social media. Share content from Melbourne Zero's TikTok, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter channels. We post stories of change from communities across Melbourne and amplify voices of Lived Experience – by commenting and sharing these, you're helping build empathy and showing positive change is happening.
- Be aware of your words. What we say can reinforce or help bust the stigma surrounding homelessness. Simple changes like replacing the commonly used phrase 'homeless person' with 'person experiencing homelessness' reflects this temporary experience is not the person's permanent identity. Catch yourself before placing blame on a person for issues society plays a significant role in creating. Powerful ways to start!
- Don’t walk past the issue. Know what to do in the moment if you see someone sleeping rough. From making eye contact to engaging deeper, know that your smile can be the start of acknowledging someone's humanity and worth. Your kindness makes a difference.
- Keep it real – do something to help every month. After joining the movement, keep an eye out for the Melbourne Zero e-news sent to you at the start of each month. It includes a monthly action you can take to help end homelessness in Melbourne. Usually small (ie quick), occasionally big, sometimes in between, together our actions are the movement making change.
Got a little longer?
- Get in the know. Watch, listen and read real life stories from people who’ve experienced homelessness in Melbourne, including a short video on the things you should know. Hear from Big Thinkers with fresh perspectives on why it’s time to end homelessness. Watch a short doco about Melburnians moving from homelessness to a home during COVID. Level up with the facts. Dive into a recommended read/good book. Be surprised. Be challenged. Be inspired.
- Have a conversation today about how it’s possible to end homelessness in Melbourne. By prompting conversations at home, at work or school you’ll help bust the stigma that homelessness is somehow inevitable, what it is, who experiences it, why it happens and how Melburnians can be part of creating positive change. Sparking more conversations across Melbourne makes a BIG difference! Check out our helpful guide to embark on convos with confidence here.
- Need coffee, catering, clothes, good reads, interior design? Use your purchasing power! Did you know that every one of our Melbourne Zero Network members – and a good few social enterprises - are each actively addressing homelessness in Melbourne? Show them some love in return by giving them your business. Find out who’s who in the Network and what they’re doing to end homelessness in Melbourne.
- Add your voice to other campaigns working to address the root causes and impacts of homelessness. Show your support for our friends at Everybody’s Home (a national campaign to fix the housing crisis) and Raise the Rate (a national campaign to increase JobSeeker & Rent Assistance to keep people out of poverty permanently) by joining these campaigns today.
- Make a donation to help a community organisation working to end homelessness. Did you know Launch Housing supported 15,000+ Melburnians last year with housing, support, education, youth and specialist services? One-off donations like yours make a difference - but regular gifts (eg monthly donations) enable organisations to plan most effectively to make even deeper impacts in future. Find out how community organisations are working to end homelessness in Melbourne with a quick internet search.
- Lend your super skills to the campaign. Are you passionate about influencing, community campaigning, event organising, content creation or website management? Offer your talents as a volunteer to the Melbourne Zero campaign for a week, a month or longer. Get in touch to introduce yourself, your availability and chat about how you want to drive change in Melbourne.
- Show up. Keep an eye out for - and turn up to - events in your area or online connected to housing and homelessness, marking Youth Homelessness Day (April), National Homelessness Week (August) and World Homelessness Day (October). Being present in person speaks volumes and can help catalyse local area change.
Ready to dive deeper into creating positive change?
- 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 guaranteed! Raise funds to combat homelessness in Melbourne while you take your learning to the next level.
- Do you own a rental property in Melbourne – or know someone who does? Switch to the premium property management services of HomeGround Real Estate today. This is a social enterprise real estate agency with 100% profits used to help end homelessness in Melbourne. Rent your investment out at usual market rates or consider lowering it to offer affordable or social rates. It’s ethical real estate and a Melbourne first, of course.
- Are you an employer – or could you chat with yours? Consider how you could become a more progressive employer for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The Body Shop implemented Australia’ first Open Hiring practice, seeking staff based on their potential not their past, gaining loyal employees and changing lives. Now, Ikea and Dan Murphy’s have come on board. Business benefits, social justice wins, Open Hiring can be a gamechanger.
- Chat with us about becoming a Community Organiser in your LGA. We’re looking for people LIKE YOU to take Melbourne Zero to the next level in 2023. Interested in mobilising a group of like-minded souls, keen to end street homelessness in your local area? Email us today – we can’t wait to hear from you.
- Say “YIMBY” (Yes In My Backyard!). New housing developments happening in your area? This is an opportunity. ‘Mandatory inclusionary zoning’ includes affordable housing as an element of all new multi-dwelling developments, which means more affordable housing for more Melburnians, and less homelessness. Community opposition often stymies this progress locally. Use your voice to support development proposals that include affordable housing in your suburb – and rally behind calls to include affordable housing as an element of all multi-dwelling residential developments across Melbourne.
- Vote for policies that will end homelessness. State and Federal elections come but every few years and when they do it’s a moment to reflect on the policies and platforms different parties offer to end homelessness in Melbourne. Policy-fueled problems require policy-change solutions. VCOSS offers a handy summary of party platforms. We’ve all got one vote. Use yours.
- Start conversations with decision-makers in your local area about how ending homelessness is possible. What is your local council doing about increasing affordable housing and ending homelessness? Emailing 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 in the area of Community Development/Partnerships/Wellbeing/Safety, Municipal Recovery, Social Strategy or Social and Affordable Housing. Here's a few questions to help kick off your inquiries:
- What are council’s strategies and plans to increase affordable housing and end homelessness? How are these coordinated with other councils and peak bodies?
- Regarding social housing, what is coming to our LGA in connection to the Big Build and how is council supporting this? Do they know how many people are sleeping rough in the LGA? Will it be enough? If not, what else is council doing?
- What is council doing to de-stigmatise social housing, especially public housing? Does council have any specific initiatives to increase the attractiveness of public housing to the local community and increase empathy toward tenants?
- Can I help in any way?
Don’t forget, if they’re doing a great job, let them know!
Thinking of something else you can personally do to help end homelessness in Melbourne? You’re Melbourne Zero material! Share it with us today and let's tell Melbourne.