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SmartCare – Rewards and recognition for frontline homeless workers

By September 1, 2021September 7th, 2021COVID-19, Grant Impact, SmartCare

In August 2021 we made an additional 11 SmartCare grants.

Frontline homelessness work is very challenging and throughout the pandemic workers have had to care for others first and self, second.  Burnout is frequent and impacts the individual and the level of care that can be provided to people experiencing homelessness.

That’s why we set up SmartCare, an innovative program providing support to our frontline workers. People caring for marginalised and disadvantaged people often don’t take the time or have the necessary tools to look after their own mental and physical wellbeing. In order for charities to retain talented, caring and professional people they need to make sure their staff are supported. That’s why we have recently made 11 grants to support staff, targeting those areas in prolonged lockdown where work is extremely stressful and challenging.

A major grant was made to Council to Homeless Persons/Homelessness NSW to help them create an online ‘self-care’ training resource that will impact over 400 workers per annum.

The other 10 organisational grants will directly impact 220 staff with self-care, reward and recognition programs. Each of these organisations reported having never before received any type of grant support for staff care.

  • Bonnie Support Services
  • DV West
  • Family Access Network
  • Guthrie House
  • Kara House
  • Lou’s place
  • Merri Outreach Support Service – Broadmeadows
  • Mudgin-Gal
  • Newtown NC
  • Women and Girls Emergency Centre (WAGEC)
  • Council to Homeless Persons

Thank You messages:


Guthrie House

“Guthrie House has made every effort to continue to provide a face-to-face service during this pandemic. Self-care is something that we aim for so that we can find endurance to continue to ride the storm.  As a small service we do not have extra funds to spend on the staff.  This grant will allow for each staff member to be provided with a small thank-you gift with a self-care focus for all of the hard work, creativity, perseverance and kindness that the staff display leaving their homes each day to try and keep vulnerable people in our society safe.” Christine Duggan, Manager/Executive Director

Lou’s Place

“Huge thanks to StreetSmart for the SmartCare grant. As a frontline drop-in centre for women COVID has been a nightmare for our whole community. Our staff team have been under huge pressure to quickly adapt to the new environment and move everything we can to zoom and phone. Our staff have continued to support women in crisis situations and distribute emergency take away food. This grant allows us to show our team how much we appreciate them and all of their great work and dedication – in filling up their cup they will be able to keep going and better support others as well.” Nicole Yade, General Manager.

Merri Outreach Support Service

 “Our frontline staff at Merri Outreach Support Service have faced some very challenging and persistent service environments supporting homeless people through the pandemic. This grant will certainly be a morale booster, affirming the incredible lengths staff have gone to in continuing to prioritise homeless people’s needs. It will be a show of appreciation. The grant will enhance the wellbeing of individuals and strengthen team culture, ultimately supporting our staff to continue to provide great responses to service users.” Tony Littman, General Manager.

Newtown Neighbourhood Centre

“This is great news! Thank you so much. We are really looking forward to being able to treat our staff to something special as a thank you for their continued work over the past year.” Georgia Carter.

Council to Homeless Persons

“The last 18 months have been extremely challenging for people who don’t have a home and who are seeking help from homelessness services.  And it has been an extremely challenging time for homelessness workers. It has never been more important for workers to develop and practice a range of self-care strategies that help maintain physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing. With the support of StreetSmart and the SmartCare funding, we will be collaborating with Homelessness NSW, the peak body for homelessness in NSW, to develop and deliver a training program involving an Introduction to self-care as a homelessness worker eLearning course and follow up reflective practice sessions.” Andrew Edgar, Capacity Building Officer.

 DV West

“Our workers have shown incredible strength and resilience ever since the start of the pandemic. These are very challenging times both at work and on a personal level, but this has never affected their passion and commitment to support women and children experiencing domestic violence. The SmartCare grant will allow us to put them in the spotlight by doing something special for them, and lift their spirits. Thank you!” Britta Weijers.

Bonnie Support Services

“We are very grateful – this grant is a real boost during these tough times, so thank you to StreetSmart for our SmartCare grant, it will put a smile on all our (masked) faces.  Thanks to all the donors and supporters for thinking of us.  We have some on-line, team building activities planned.  I am attaching a photo of some happy staff still based in the office.” Tracy Phillips, Executive Officer.

Kara House

“A huge thanks from Veronica and everyone at Kara House for this amazing grant. Our frontline workers have gone above and beyond over the last year and this grant will allow them to have some time out and enjoy themselves. Thank you again – we all really appreciate your years of support for the clients at Kara House.” Ruby Lampard, Development Officer.