STREAT was lucky this week to host the Honorable Brendan O’Connor, the Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business. He dropped into our new Flemington café to cook some soft shell crab with STREAT trainees and chat to our CEO Rebecca Scott, officially opening the site. We were excited to welcome him.
He said: “Youth homelessness is a critical issue, with people under 25 accounting for half of all people who are homeless in Australia,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Those figures are simply unacceptable and programs like STREAT are helping to break the cycle of homelessness by teaching young people crucial life and work skills.
“This program not only gives them hospitality skills but also skills in balancing budgets, job hunting, as well as managing health and emotional issues.”
Bec had some words to say as well: “You can’t stop youth homelessness just by giving a young person a roof over their head. You have to address the complex reasons they became homeless in the first place. They also need to be equipped with the necessary skills to manage their own futures,” Ms Scott said:
“The other exciting part is harnessing the general public to help us stop homelessness. They buy our great food and coffee, knowing that with every mouthful they bring about social change.”
Mr O’Connor said our program has run for two years and is already making a big difference to young people’s lives.
“Not only does STREAT improve employment and housing outcomes for young people, as a social enterprise, STREAT generates 43 per cent of its annual funding through their cafes,” Mr O’Connor said.
“The Gillard Government is committed to reducing homelessness and is working towards two ambitious goals – to halve the rate of homelessness and provide supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.
“To achieve this we have invested around $5 billion in new funding since 2008 to provide support services and programs to assist people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“Under the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, the Australian Government together with the states and territories has committed $1.1 billion to provide new and better integrated accommodation and support services.
“That includes $209.69 million right here in Victoria.
“Projects like STREAT deserve recognition for the positive impact they are having on the lives of young people.
“I look forward to seeing more of this wonderful work into the future.”
There are moments when as a staffer you sit up and remember why you work with an organization. Watching my boss Rebecca Scott deliver her speech at TEDxCanberra is one such moment for me. Watch STREAT’s cofounder and CEO expound on sustainable consumption and making every dollar you spend count.
Rebecca Scott: In your wallets you’ve all got money… and on either side of your money are some faces… and they’re the visible faces but it’s my long time belief that on either side of your money there are also invisible faces… and they’re not the faces that are stamped on their like the others but they’re the ones that you get to put on there. They’re invisible faces that are essentially attached to the way that you use your money, they’re stories and quite often they’re pretty hard to hear. But what I’d love to share with you today is my view that those other invisible faces are our responsibility even it’s pretty hard to hear those stories.
There’s an interesting model of philanthropy here in San Francisco. I popped in to talk to Tipping Point Community, a network that funnels money from people to selected charities. They make their decisions based on measurable impact, clear finances, and strong leadership. And get this: the board of Tipping Point underwrites all the operational cost of the organization. That means that they each contribute annually so that 100% of donations made go to the groups they’ve selected as poverty-fighting organizations.
I chatted with the communications team about two nonprofits that work with young people. First Place for Youth (FPFY) has been a Tipping Point Grantee since 2005. They help former foster youth transition to independent living. As we know at STREAT, there’s a very vulnerable stage that happens when young people come out of foster care. If the transition is unsuccessful for a person, it can lead to unemployment, homelessness, health problems and poverty.
FPFY offers much of the same cocktail of intervention that STREAT does: case management, drop-in training, communication workshops, and job placement assistance. Tipping Point leveraged their connections to also provide staff training, strategic planning, and technology consultation to FPFY.
The second charity is a newer grantee. Gateway to College National Network (GtC) works with students who have dropped out of high school or are likely to. They help students get their high school diploma, and some of the classes even count towards college credit. GtC students have an average attendance rate of 82%, heaps higher than their previous performance.
As Tipping Point’s founder and CEO asks, “If we don’t fix what’s broken in our back yard, who will?”
That’s a question that STREAT cares about too, which is why our CEO Bec Scott brought the STREAT model back from Vietnam to apply it to our needy urban population.
Giveaway number two is the cookbook "Flavours of Melbourne" by Smudge Publishing, those excellent people who recently threw us a STREAT party fundraiser. If you haven't nabbed this book yet, you will want to. It features recipes from some of our most exciting restauranteurs, and some gorgeous shots of our city's laneways.
So you're wondering how to get these cookbooks? Sign up to our newsletter in the bar on the right of this webpage. It's called "STREAT updates." Then stay tuned for next week, when we tell you what to do to win!