fbpx Skip to main content

Ending and preventing homelessness through our Making-a-Home program

Pictured: Hope Street Youth and Family Services (VIC)

Australia is facing a rental crisis driven by decades of poor housing policy and social housing underinvestment, supercharged in recent years by the pandemic and world events. These factors have resulted in homelessness increasing by 8% and 42% of all low-income households experiencing rental stress. For people living on the margins, these factors lead to significant challenges in finding and maintaining safe and secure homes. Supporting someone with all the essentials needed to make a house a home, increases the likelihood that they will maintain their tenancy and avoid a return to homelessness. Through StreetSmart’s Making-a-Home program, vulnerable people are supported into safe, sustainable and secure tenancies, a critical step in preventing and ending homelessness.

Making-a-Home impact to date


households, set up for success


in grants distributed


homelessness organisations funded

Australia’s housing crisis and the Making-a-Home solution

As the cost of living pressures have soared and exacerbated housing precarity for those on the margins, social housing availability has dwindled to 3.8%. Rents have risen by as much as 13% this past year, squeezing down the availability of affordable rentals across the country. Finding and maintaining a home has arguably never been harder. 

When affordable housing is eventually secured, it is crucial that people are supported in making their house a home, and avoid going into immediate debt when purchasing essentials like furniture, white goods, or kitchenware. People who are fleeing domestic violence, recovering from natural disasters, or moving into accommodation after experiencing homelessness, often don’t have the basic items needed to set up a new home from scratch. Launched in July 2021, Making-a-Home ensures that people are supported and set up for successful tenancies to both end and prevent homelessness. 

Ending homelessness through Housing First and support for struggling services  

We know the critical importance of housing in creating a community where homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. This is why through Making-a-Home, we recently championed the Housing First approach through funding 9 ‘Zero’ project collaborations. At its core, the Housing First approach places safe and suitable housing as the first and immediate response to someone experiencing homelessness, and has retention rates ranging from 66-90%. Targeting and supporting the most vulnerable in our community, identified through registration weeks, the Zero programs are a response to rough sleeping with the aim of ending street homelessness. 

Organisations on the frontline delivering these key supports and services are underfunded, overworked, and underpaid and in a recent survey of over 1,400 community sector staff, 66% said that demand for their service had increased in 2022. Only 3% of respondents said they were ‘always’ able to meet demand. The analysis showed that resources were particularly thin for housing and homelessness services, with 1 in 10 reporting ‘never’ being able to meet demand. Making-a-Home funding builds capacity and resources for these crucial organisations, ensuring they are able to respond to the rising demand in their community.  

Lasting impact for most vulnerable 

Setting people up for a successful tenancy helps to end the experience of homelessness as well as prevent a future experience. StreetSmart’s Making-a-Home initiative, powered by Origin Energy, is supporting at-risk youth, Domestic Violence survivors, older Australians, and LGBTQIA+ community members into safe and sustainable homes. Read more about the impact this vital funding has for organisations and vulnerable people below.

When women leave Catherine House, they often have many expenses when trying to set up their new homes. One of the most common things women tell us is that food is often left to last when considering all the bills they need to pay – rent, utilities etc. There is also a huge need for practical “moving on packs” that include basic appliances and items like kettle, toasters, and linen. This support gives them the best start as they move into independence and security.

Catherine House, SA

Pictured: Communify – HART4000

The costs associated with moving for people who live on little to no incomes including needing to pay rent in advance often leaves people with little ability to purchase furniture themselves. Evidence of social housing tenancies at risk show that when homes are not furnished adequately, it is one of the main risk factors for a tenancy to fail. When people secure a house, having access to essential furniture such as beds, whitegoods and kitchen items is a huge challenge. We would also be able to support clients with Kmart vouchers that they can utilise to purchase smaller items such as kitchen items or soft furnishings. This process fosters choice and autonomy and people are able to pick out their own items which aligns with the Trauma-Informed approach we use”.

Communify HART 4000, QLD

As young people set up their First, Happy, Home they need flexible brokerage to purchase essential items. Young people often don’t have the resources or funds to kit out their new homes with necessities like electricals, cleaning materials, kitchen, laundry, and pantry items, furniture, white goods etc. This support will go a long way in making their First Happy Home a success.”

-Hope St Youth and Family Services, VIC

“Providing essential white goods like washing machines and fridges to women starting over after fleeing Domestic & Family Violence is powerful. These are two essential items a family just can’t be without, providing dignity & peace of mind, with the means to simply wash their own clothes & feed the family with safely stored food.

NOVA for Women and Children, NSW

Pictured: Housing for the Aged Action Group, VIC


of recipients are youth, 18-25 years


of recipients are Indigenous Australians


of recipients are domestic violence survivors

Making-a-Home Grants since inception

Grant Round Organisation Grant  State
July 2021 Juno (formerly WISHIN) $5,000.00 VIC
Micah Projects Inc $5,000.00 QLD
Twenty10 $5,000.00 NSW
November 2021 Anchor Inc – Scoresby $6,000.00 VIC
Newtown Neighbourhood Centre $6,000.00 NSW
Open Doors Youth Service $6,000.00 QLD
Women’s & Girls’ Emergency Centre (WAGEC) $6,000.00 NSW
You Matter (Aus) Ltd $6,000.00 VIC
Zig Zag Young Women’s Resource Centre $6,000.00 QLD
March 2022 Wombat Housing and Support $4,000.00 VIC
WAYSS $4,000.00 VIC
Taldumande Youth Service $4,000.00 NSW
DV West $4,000.00 NSW
Immigrant Women’s Support Service $4,000.00 QLD
Chameleon Community Housing $4,000.00 QLD
August 2022 Australian Alliance to End Homelessness – Adelaide Zero Project $6,000.00 SA
End Street Sleeping Collaboration – Byron Shire Collaboration $6,000.00 NSW
Gold Coast Homelessness Network – Gold Coast Zero $6,000.00 QLD
Micah Projects – Brisbane Zero $6,000.00 QLD
Neami National – Frankston Zero $6,000.00 VIC
Neami National – Geelong Zero $6,000.00 VIC
RUAH – Zero Project WA $6,000.00 WA
Wollongong Emergency Family Housing – Illawarra Zero $6,000.00 NSW
YFS – Logan Zero $6,000.00 QLD
November 2022 Catherine House $5,000.00 SA
Hope Street Youth and Family Services $5,000.00 VIC
Housing for the Aged Action Group $5,000.00 VIC
NOVA for Women and Children $5,000.00 NSW
The Gender Centre $5,000.00 NSW
Communify – Hart 4000 $5,000.00 QLD
Total  30 Organisations  $159,000.00

Thank you to all those who have donated and supported the Making-a-Home program. These grants are made possible by the generous donations of StreetSmart supporters, and the support of corporate partnerships. If your Trust, Foundation or Company would like to find out more about partnering with StreetSmart for grassroots impact please reach out at partners@streetsmartaustralia.org