Addressing homelessness and poverty

You can help people get the essentials they need to survive – shelter, food and dignity

More than 116,000 Australians are homeless.

Some of them are sleeping rough on the street but the majority are the ones you don’t see:

  • young people couch-surfing wherever they can
  • families packed into tiny bedsits or boarding houses
  • people in temporary accommodation for the homeless

More than 2.5 million Australians are living in poverty.

  • Families who have to choose between groceries and rent
  • New mothers who can’t afford nappies and prams
  • Job seekers who can’t afford to get to their interviews

Mikaela serves a meal at the Brisbane Night Cafe

Mikaela's story

Mikaela’s one of our most effective and trusted youth workers.

That’s because she’s been there herself – not too long ago, she was homeless and couch surfing. She used to come to our Brisbane Night Café for hot meals, a shower and free Wi-Fi so she could look for work or a place to stay.

With the support of our team, she was able to get a small flat for herself; and she was so impressive that we asked her to work for us full time.

Now she helps other young people between 12 and 25, whether they need clean clothes, a hot meal or just someone understanding to talk to.

What does Red Cross do about this problem?

  • We have a national emergency relief program that helps people with grocery vouchers, public transport cards, emergency housing and other costs. The majority of people who use this program are migrants and people seeking asylum.
  • We have youth support services in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Adelaide and Perth, which help young people with work, education and life matters.
  • We have community hubs in several locations, where people can get a meal or a shower, access services or find out what’s available to help them.
  • We have case workers who are empathic and experienced at supporting people who are homeless or in difficult circumstances. Many of our case workers have the same background as the people they support.

Last year:

  • we supported 2,342 people with emergency cash, grocery vouchers, transport cards, casework and referrals.
  • we served more than 6,000 hot meals to 1,300 young people facing homelessness

How can you help?

Your regular gift to Red Cross means we can provide the basic essentials that people need to survive until things get better.

  • Grocery vouchers and public transport cards
  • Dignity kits for women and nappies for children
  • Cash grants to help people pay for rent, school books or medicines
  • Safe places people can go to get a hot meal or a shower
  • Community hubs where they can get information or apply for work
  • Caseworkers who can help them access services and plan for the future

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