Connecting grassroots homelessness services

People serving food from the back of a van at night.

We’re supporting grassroots charities in the homelessness sector to work together, and with us, to support our city’s most vulnerable people.

There are a range of groups that want to provide meals, clothing, bedding, haircuts, showers, laundry facilities and other support to people experiencing homelessness in our municipality.

We aim to harness this goodwill by working closely with these groups to collaboratively improve homelessness service coordination, and to create new voluntary, best practice guidelines.

Through better coordination, we hope to achieve more even distribution of services across areas of need, promote city safety, and connect people to long-term support to help them find pathways out of homelessness.

Danusia Kaskia, Soup Van Operations Manager for the St Vincent de Paul Society, welcomed the initiative.

‘Working collaboratively with the City of Melbourne to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough is a step in the right direction towards further addressing the needs of our community,’ Danusia said.

The Vinnies Soup Vans have operated nightly since 1975, rain, hail or shine. The vans are run by 1400 volunteers – affectionately known as ‘Vannies’ – who serve more than 200,000 meals each year across Victoria.

‘The Soup Vans provide face-to-face contact with anyone seeking our service, without judgement or referral, in the evening when people often feel most vulnerable,’ Danusia said.

‘Our volunteers engage with people through offering a simple meal, building social connections and relationships with people, so that they can support them on their journey, with dignity and respect.’

Danusia’s ultimate vision is to see the end of homelessness in our city.

‘Everyone has the basic human right to a safe place to call home,’ she said.

‘I also hope that the community would embrace that homelessness is a social problem requiring everyone to be part of the solution, and for there to be a change in the attitude towards homelessness to reduce stigma.’

The St Vincent de Paul Society offers a range of rewarding opportunities for volunteers. To find out more, visit the Vinnies website.

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