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   Pictured: Orange Sky Laundry who received a small grant when they were first beginning to operate 

The big impact of our focus on small

Our 20 years of experience and action in the homelessness sector has shown us that smaller, community-based groups are the glue that hold communities together. When people are in crisis, local services are best placed to innovatively respond with localised support, and often have solutions and mechanisms in place that work for them and their community. These smaller, grassroots services are crucial hubs for initial help-seeking and connectors for further support referrals. They are where people go first, especially those seeking help for the first time.

Over the past two decades we have aimed to listen to community needs, equipping frontline organisations with flexible funding to innovatively respond to homelessness, poverty, disasters, and vulnerabilities. As a supportive ally, we offer flexible funding through a simplified grant process, sensitive to the time and capacity constraints of our partners. As a result, we have seen whole communities become more resilient and the health, wellbeing, financial security and housing outcomes for vulnerable people improved.  

 This month, we are championing the continued importance of filling funding gaps for these organisations to empower communities to better respond to and prevent homelessness in ways that work for them. Join us in collectively raising funds and awareness for small grassroots homelessness organisations to keep their doors open and their services running. They are the lifeblood of communities and the first port of call for the growing numbers of people and families facing homelessness.

“Your grants make all the difference to a small organisation like Karinya that has limited resources, one of the most limited being time! The less time spent filling in forms and ticking boxes the more time can be spent engaging with the young people we work with and focusing on their immediate needs. Thank you!” 

Tasha at Karinya Young Women’s Service, in Tasmania on Palawa Country 

“We are so grateful for the funding we’ve received from StreetSmart. We are a small organisation relying solely on grants and donations to fund the free meals we offer to the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in our community. Getting this funding goes a long way.”

Amy at Community Canteen, in Brisbane on Turrbul Country

“StreetSmart fundraises and distributes grants to frontline services where it really makes a difference to people’s lives. That they are then able to get the funding to the people that need it is truly commendable.”

Kirsty Leigh, Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative in Brisbane on Turrbul Country

A perfect storm hitting vital organisations


of community orgs whose main source of funding is non governmental report worsening financial positioning


of community organisations report that their funding allows them to always meet demand


searches for help per day has been reported by support platform AskIzzy, the highest on record

Frontline homelessness services are experiencing a perfect storm. Over the past 12 months many smaller organisations have experienced unprecedented, rising service demand, coinciding with falls in funding, as Governments wind back COVID-19 responses and tightening post-pandemic budgets. At the same time the current cost-of-living crisis is resulting in community donations falling, fewer volunteers, rising wage, rent, energy, food and fuel costs, limiting their ability to run services and meet rising demand.

“Operational costs for emergency relief has been our biggest hurdle. We have had to shut down some of our emergency relief due to the lack of funding

Sussan King, Frank Konecny Community Centre in Perth on Noongar Country

“We are 95% volunteer run but operational costs are the killer – by a long stretch. To operate a material aid program we must have warehouse space (lots), utilities, volunteer insurance, volunteer aprons, van running costs, coordinator salary – all of these things most funders specifically exclude.”

Jackie Klarkowski, We Care Connect in Tuggerah on Darkinjung Country

“We are not government funded and we totally rely on grant funding, fundraising and philanthropic support to fund our outreach services to those at risk and experiencing homelessness. These consist of Housing Units, a Food Store, a Bread Bank and a Community Garden.” 

Bernadette Dennis OAM, SJOS Outreach Service in Melbourne, Naarm

Help keep the doors open and vital programs running 

  This month we are collectively raising funds and awareness to help support small grassroots homelessness organisations struggling to keep up with their rising operational costs. Funds will help fill the gaps for their operational needs that often go noticed and unfunded yet are crucial in keeping their programs running and their communities supported.  

The small budgets of these vital services are being increasingly used up on running costs like energy bills, rent, petrol, food, and staffing. Often there is just simply not enough money to cover the basics of their programs, limiting the support they can deliver to those in desperate need.

Donate what you can, or share this article with your networks to join us in plugging crucial funding gaps for smaller frontline organisations.