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Annual Impact Report

Year ending June 30 2023

Acknowledgment of Country

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As an organisation that operates from Naarm (Melbourne), we acknowledge the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin nation, the Traditional Owners of this land. We pay our respects to their Elders, past and present. StreetSmart delivers our work on unceded land across Australia which always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land. We recognise and celebrate the resilience, histories and cultures of First Nations peoples and their continuing connection to Country. We acknowledge theirs as the oldest continuing culture on Earth.

StreetSmart believes in supporting First Nations led solutions to homelessness and are proud of our collaborations with and support of Aboriginal led community controlled organisations. We support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and by extension, the enshrinement of a Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution. 

The ABS census data released this year highlighted that First Nations peoples are unacceptably over-represented among those who experience housing insecurity, with 20% of those experiencing homelessness identifying as Indigenous Australians. 

We have continued to ensure that our grant making addresses the disproportionately high rates of homelessness experienced by First Nations peoples, with 20% of all recipients identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. We have also continued to work with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and have supported 21 this year.  

“Djirra’s Koori Women’s Place (KWP) offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women a culturally safe space to connect with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and a safe entry point into internal and external support services. Increasingly, we are seeing women presenting to KWP with a range of complex needs, including the need for immediate emergency relief in the form of material support.

Thank you for this flexible funding of emergency relief – it will be provided through a trauma informed and strengths-based approach supporting the dignity and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.”

Supported with an $8,000 grant

We Believe

We believe everyone should have a safe and secure place to call home. It is a basic human right. Ending homelessness will take a whole of community response.

We Empower

Through innovative campaigns we enable and empower communities to raise vital funds and awareness to bring about change for people experiencing homelessness or at risk.

We Support

We keep it grassroots, we keep it local. We seek out, support and partner with small organisations and projects, in the communities where funds are raised.

StreetSmart believes everyone should have a safe and secure place to call home and we play a unique role in the homelessness sector, providing place-based funding and support for smaller grassroots homelessness and community services. Our deep belief in community led, localised responses to homelessness means our work often reaches overlooked areas of need such as regional and remote communities and contributes to collective advocacy and action.

Through our innovative fundraising and awareness campaigns we raise donations from across our communities and then seek out and support smaller, grassroots organisations which are under-resourced, have limited fundraising capacity and find making formal applications for funding challenging. We support these organisations to plug funding gaps, support core programs and enable them to innovate and test new ideas.

We have funded over 1100 various projects with over $11 million in funding that directly respond to leading drivers of homelessness, particularly domestic and family violence, institutional care, poverty and financial hardship. We support crisis responses like refuge accommodation, street outreach, food relief, and emergency aid, as well as prevention responses like tenancy support, legal support, training and employment opportunities, and wellbeing and social inclusion programs.

Homelessness sits at the intersection of multiple vulnerabilities and we channel our funding to ensure cohorts that experience increased risk of homelessness are targeted. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, young people leaving care, children, migrants and refugees, and those fleeing domestic and family violence. For example, this FY our grant distributions targeted LGBTQIA+ communities, youth aged 12 – 25 years, those experiencing rough sleeping, and refugees and migrants.

CEO Foreword

The purpose of this snippet is to give a glimpse into the spirit of a humble yet remarkable organisation like StreetSmart. Often, we’re asked, “How do you manage to engage with such an abundance of communities, weaving together fundraising and on-the-ground impact?” The answer is ‘collaboration’. We partner with frontline recipients, visionary philanthropists, forward-thinking corporate partners, and generous community champions, enabling collective synergy and influential presence across every corner of our diverse nation. As a testament to this collaborative effort, the past fiscal year witnessed a remarkable 30% surge in community donations, paired with a 27% increase in the provision of bedding and linen materials through our transformative ‘SleepSafe’ program.

Against the backdrop of a growing costs of living crisis, inequalities have continued to emerge, particularly for our most vulnerable: youth, families, ageing individuals and people with a history of vulnerability. The significance of securing housing and accommodation has remained unchanged, but the growing spotlight on this pressing concern faced by individuals and families highlights layered struggles of food security, domestic violence, mental health and basic human rights. 

We will be continuing our core purpose to support smaller grassroots homelessness organisations in Australia. Our proven model listens to local leaders, volunteers and community groups to identify what support their communities need. It is them which are best placed to identify what solutions and mechanisms are in place that work for them and their community. They are the lifeblood of so many suburbs, towns and regions and play a critical role in creating caring and resilient communities. 

This year marks 20 years of operation at StreetSmart, and whilst we are reflective and celebrating this, we are also looking ahead into the next era of growth and sustainability as an organiastion. StreetSmart will be executing our 2024-2027 three year strategic plan. We want to ensure we align our focus with local needs, harnessing opportunities, connect with the next generation of community champions, increase the advocacy and support for smaller grassroots organisations who are stepping up and changing lives around our country.

It is imperative to recognise that StreetSmart’s endeavours are made possible through the unwavering dedication of our network of donors and supporters. My role is clear – to reach out and connect with those who aspire for genuine and responsive change for those at risk and experiencing homelessness. On behalf of the entire StreetSmart team, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who have collaborated with us for their responsive social impact. The work we undertake is undeniably meaningful and made possible through the compassion and generosity we receive. 

Geoff Hills

Chief Executive Officer

Chair Note

It is with great pride  that we reflect over the past 12 months and note StreetSmart’s commitment to make a positive change in the lives of people that are at risk or in the grip of homelessness.. Our mission to empower communities and create change for those who are vulnerable, has remained steadfast.

2022-23 was a year unlike any other, marked by the cost of living crisis following a pandemic that affected communities, businesses and households. While the challenges evolved, so did the resilience and dedication of our team, partners, and supporters. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all who stood by us during these past 12 months, enabling us to continue our vital work.

The far-reaching impact  of StreetSmart Australia can be attributed to our strong partnerships with local businesses, donors, and volunteers. Your continued support has been instrumental in helping us fund projects that directly impact the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.

A strong group of board members is only effective with an organisation like StreetSmart, when you have a dedicated and engaged operational team, which I happily report is the case in this small organisation. My time as Chair over the past two years has seen a continued period of growth and grassroots impact for StreetSmart, during what has been  a turbulent time in the charitable and not for profit sector. The future of StreetSmart is promising, and I find this the right time to conclude my tenure as Chair, passing on the reins to Barry Moore who is a long-term supporter and champion of the organisation. 

In closing, I want to acknowledge StreetSmart’s 20th year of operation. Together, we have proven that by working collaboratively, we can bring about positive change in the lives of vulnerable people and communities.

Damien Farrell


Our Impact

Key Impact Statistics

Acts of Support


Social Impact Value Created


Average Grants Size


Organisations Supported




Vulnerable People Assisted


Organisation Overview

We know local leaders, volunteers and community groups are best placed to identify what support their communities need. They are the lifeblood of so many suburbs, towns and regions and play a critical role in creating caring and resilient communities, yet experience real barriers to fundraising, are under-resourced, and often find making formal applications for funding challenging. 

A recent ACOSS report found that the community sector is underfunded and overworked. A staggering 44% of community services are seeing an increase in clients that they cannot meet while 38% are noticing more difficulty in securing funding. Our partners are experiencing a ‘perfect storm’ of increased demand at the same time as funding shortages and workplace stressors.

This year we have continued to support these organisations through our simplified grant application process, making funds and material aid available to plug funding gaps, supported staff well-being, and enabling them to innovate and test new ideas.


of our distributions supported volunteer only organisations with no paid staff


of our distributions supported organisations with less than 10 staff. 


supported organisations with 11-20 staff.  


of our distributions this year supported organisations with a turnover less than $2 million. 

Regional and Metro Distributions by State

Impact Spotlight

Saving sector time and costs areas

Our material aid program SleepSafe provides consistent inbound, quality material aid, free of charge to frontline organisations. This increases staff and sector efficiency, by saving staff time and wages  in obtaining these items, as well as cutting costs of the organisations’ budget. 

This FY SleepSafe has saved the sector over $1.6 million by saving 5,034 staff hours, $201,360 in wages and distributing free material aid with a replacement value of over $1.4 million.

“As a small organisation, we really appreciate SleepSafe support as it’s allowed us to focus our small budget to buy some other essentials.”

Malana At Risk Youth Centre on Palawa Country (TAS)

Impact Spotlight

% of Total Funding per Impact Area

Impact Spotlight

Capacity building in regional areas

Our SmartCare grants provide funding to address the critical issue of staff burnout through reward, recognition, wellbeing opportunities and capacity building. This year we supported 9 organisations with grants totalling $11,700, benefiting 111 staff. One recipient was Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) who used our grant to fund 12 regional learners from the Specialist Homelessness Services Sector to attend the next Self-Care for Workers training. We have previously funded CHP to help build and run the e-training package.

Accessing, setting up, and maintaining safe, secure homes.

Australia is facing a chronic and deepening housing crisis. Reports find historic lows of affordable housing availability (less than 1% of available houses were affordable to those earning minimum wage) and unrelenting rent increases, up 11.5% from 12 months ago. 

Community partners report increasing numbers of families and people need to sleep rough or turn to unsafe and insecure accommodation like hotels, caravan parks, boarding houses, and cars.

“This grant helped us fund a new outreach project to provide legal support and resources to victims/ survivors of family violence from CALD backgrounds. This informal legal education will help empower them and resolve their homelessness status.”

Northern Community Legal Centre on Wurundjeri and Taungurung Country (VIC)




people supported through

  • Bed linen and towels ($711,870 helping 48,108 people)
  • Legal assistance ($32,000 helping 110 people)
  • Housing First responses ($54,000 helping 87 people)



  • 58 grants
  • 850 material aid

Impact Spotlight

Setting up successful tenancies

In 2022-23 through our Making-a-Home initiative StreetSmart directly supported 177 households into housing with white goods, furniture, pantry items, electrical items etc.

“This grant will provide immediate relief, support and tools for people moving into their tenancies and enable them to have the best chance of success, keeping them housed and off the streets.”

RUAH Community Services, Zero Project WA supported with a $6000 grant

Alex's Story

“19 year old Alex* became homeless after a family breakdown and spent the first 6 months couch surfing with friends. This put pressure on friendships and Alex began sleeping rough and staying in boarding houses. When The Gender Centre connected Alex to transitional housing, they had little to their name beside a small bag of belongings. Being able to buy things like a kettle, soap, pillows and bedding helped Alex get properly set up and relieved the financial burden of starting from scratch.”

The Gender Centre, on Gadigal Country (NSW), supported with a $5000.00 grant.

Impact Spotlight

Setting up successful tenancies

This year our SleepSafe collaboration with Sheridan Australia has helped over 48,000 people feel cared for and valued as they move out of crisis and trauma and into safe, secure housing. 

  • 48,108 people supported with high-quality sheets and towels
  • $1,419,840 in estimated replacement value
  • 279 organisation supplied 

“It has been such a help for me moving into my own place for the first time to have brand new sheets and towels. They are so soft and it means a lot that they are mine to keep.”

16 years old client of Malana At Risk Centre on Country (TAS), supported with 24 kits. 

Feeding people and families going hungry.

Food insecurity is on the rise in Australia, with 21% of Australian households experiencing severe food insecurity while half a million can’t meet their daily nutritional needs. Cost of living has been a major driver, with food staples like dairy and vegetables increasing by as much as 15%. Our support has focused on boosting funding for small community pantries, meals services, outreach, and community foodshare services that are often the first place people turn.

“We have two food pantries which stock nutritious food to people who are struggling and have experienced a huge surge in demand for this service. Despite receiving no government assistance, we provide free food vouchers to those in need and this grant is helping us support more people.”

Addison Road Community Organisation on Gadigal Country (NSW) supported with a $1000 grant


distributed and


community grants with


people supported* through

  • Food relief agencies that rescue and redistribute food
  • Neighbourhood and Community houses that operate community pantries and supply food vouchers
  • Social enterprises that host community meals and prepare food relief

“The latest grant from StreetSmart equates to thousands of nutritious and tasty meals for a record number of Tasmanians now doing it tough. More people are being pushed into homelessness and hunger as household budgets are savaged by unrelenting cost-of-living increases”.

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania on Palawa Country supported with a $5,000.00 grant

*please note that for simplicity, we have equated 1 meal as representative of supporting 1 person

Impact Spotlight

Fighting food insecurity with more than meals

Our food relief grants have helped ensure that the growing number of people going hungry can put food on the table, pack their kids lunch boxes, and have the capacity to attend work, study, and other commitments. Often, our grants funded food based social enterprises to cook nutritious meals which contributes to the employment and training of their vulnerable staff. This year 22,260 meals were made through this model. A further 83,990 meals distributed through Food banks and Food shares, contributing to a reduction in food waste and CO2 emissions. 

“This grant helped our 4 new trainees each complete 35 hours of paid employment and training, all while preparing and packaging meal donations!”

Plate It Forward on Gadigal Country (NSW) supported with a $5,000.00 grant

“As a special needs family, Mahmoud’s budget was always tight. When Mahmoud had his hours reduced, the family struggled to make ends meet and accessing essentials was no longer possible. As a family who had never needed to seek help before, they were at crisis point when they did ask for support. Mahmoud was able to receive pantry staples along with fresh produce, dairy, bread and meat. Their family said ‘we are so grateful. Thank you for providing hope, and a sense of stability and relief, to families like ours’.”

Banksia Community Gardens on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country (VIC) supported with a $1,500.00 grant 

Mahmoud's Story

Breaking the cycle through training, employment, and job readiness.

Employment and financial security are key protective factors against homelessness and poverty. Key cohorts face particular barriers to finding and maintaining employment.

ABS data released this year shows migrants from non-english speaking backgrounds have persistently higher than average unemployment rates, even after 5 years. We also know that, particularly since COVID, people with disabilities, women, and young people are disproportionately affected.


distributed and


community grants with


people supported through

  • 1,355 hours of training and employment for 39 people in food based social enterprises 
  • Supported programs included interview and CV support, mentoring and coaching, educational support such as qualifications and english courses
  • Vulnerable cohorts targeted including Youth (23%), Refugees and Migrants  (21%), Domestic and Family violence victim/survivors (14%) 
Sam's Story

“Sam’s life began in a refugee village in Malaysia where they were born after their parents escaped the war in Bosnia. Sam suffered a string of abuse, “you name the abuse, I had it”, said Sam who worked in kitchens after school by the age of 7. After making their way to Australia, Sam attended and graduated from a flexi-school in Brisbane and was connected with Marabah Cafe. Now an employee, Sam says “the stable income means life is more manageable and I’m no longer relying on Centrelink. I can buy proper food now and have a fully stocked up fridge at home for the first time in my life”.

Nundah Community Enterprise

“Serina had been on our waitlist for 2 years, and when interviewed for the pilot she said “I want to learn from others. And I don’t get to learn from people much”. Sarina became an integral part of our team and having her first opportunity to learn off others in a workplace. She was friendly, kind and a good team player and at the completion of the program, we offered Sarina a paid position at our Balaclava café. Sarina was beaming with excitement, and her parents shed tears of joy. When asked why Sarina was excited to work with us she said, “so I can have a future.’

All Things Equal in Naarm (VIC), supported with a $5,000 grant. 

Serina's Story

Emergency support and basic essentials for those in crisis.

A key part of StreetSmart’s work is ensuring people in crisis can be supported appropriately and quickly, reducing harm and minimising ongoing trauma. These flexible grants help organisations to respond to their clients’ crisis. This year we saw floods impacting several states which disproportionately affected cohorts already on the margins.  


distributed and


community grants with


people supported through

  • Medical and material aid for those sleeping rough 
  • Basic items including clothing, furniture, medicine for those affected by natural disasters 

Impact Spotlight

Responsive funding for flooded communities

This year communities in NSW, VIC, and SA experienced devastating flooding that disproportionately impacted already at risk and disadvantaged communities. Several rounds of grants supported organisations with a total of $39,500 to immediately respond to the needs of those most vulnerable, often people who were already experiencing housing insecurity or who now found themselves without a home. 

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania on Palawa Country supported with a $5,000.00 grant

“Our clients that we service were already vulnerable before the addition of flooding and losing everything. This grant will go a long way in helping us provide emergency relief and essentials like medical and cleaning supplies, clothes and shelter.”

Fran Stead, Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre on Wiradjuri Country (VIC) supported with a $4,350.00 grant

Reducing Risk through Wellbeing and Social Inclusion.

We know that wellbeing and a strong social network are protective factors when faced with adversity. We also know that homelessness, poverty and hardship can be traumatic experiences to overcome. Programs that help people feel connected, part of the community, and address poor wellbeing make a significant difference for vulnerable people.  


distributed and


community grants with


people supported through

  • $33,800 in therapeutic and social connectedness programs for DFV victim/survivors 
  • $51,550 in youth support programs (including music, art, and pet therapy)

“Street Yarning is our mobile support service providing people with a safe space to connect with staff, including counsellors and volunteers. We don’t receive any funding for this program and this grant has helped us care for more vulnerable young people.”

HOPE Community Services on Whadjuk Noongar Country (WA) supported with a $750 grant 

“The flexibility of these grants enables us to strengthen our trauma-informed therapeutic support for these women and children.”

Annie North on Dja Dja Wurrung Country (VIC) supported with an $8,000 grant

Strengthening Communities through Advocacy and Education

Much of StreetSmart’s work results in advocacy, education,collaboration and community engagement on the issue of homelessness in Australia, with a focus on the role and importance of smaller community led responses. 

Creating opportunities for good

StreetSmart is a facilitator, creating social impact opportunities between business and the public sector through innovative campaigns and partnerships. This year, Sheridan staff in 91 stores across Australia inspired thousands of customers to donate a Sleep kit, while the 707 hospitality venues participating in DineSmart and CafeSmart created thousands of donations but most importantly 250,000+ conversations about homelessness. 

Connecting teams and workplaces

We are proud to have many incredible corporate donors and we have continued to connect these workplaces and teams with hands-on volunteer experiences throughout our community partner network. 

We are proud to have many incredible corporate donors and we have continued to connect these workplaces and teams with hands-on volunteer experiences throughout our community partner network. 

Inspiring the next gen of social advocates

In 2023 we launched our ‘Schools for Change’ program. Designed in collaboration with Australian educators, the program engages school communities in learning and advocacy opportunities through classroom based activities. 26 schools with downloaded classroom materials across VIC, WA, NSW, QLD, SA.

Online Platforms

StreetSmart also works hard to reach as many people as possible through our campaigning, website (including the About Homelessness and Homelessness Knowledge Hub), blog and social media.


Knowledge Hub
Time Spent (minutes)
Page Views
Schools Resources
Time Spent (minutes)
Page Views
About Homelessness
Time Spent (minutes)
Page Views

Social Media

New Followers
Up on previous FY (profile visits)
New Followers
Up on previous FY (profile visits)
New Followers
Impressions (entire FY)
Total Followers
Impressions (entire FY)

Corporate and Philanthropy boost StreetSmart events & campaigns

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