A Homeless Person Sits On The Street In Melbourne

The City of Melbourne’s social and affordable housing project, Make Room, has received a $1 million grant from the Gandel Foundation – helping to progress the project further towards its funding target. 

​The project will make a difference for those who need it most, by helping rough sleepers in Melbourne to access social and affordable housing.   

Council has now secured more than $12.75 million for the $20 million project, following funding commitments from the Victorian Government, The Ian Potter Foundation, Gandel Foundation and Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.   

The Make Room project will see a Council-owned building at 602 Little Bourke Street, converted into safe and supported accommodation for those experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough on city streets.  

Unison Housing will refurbish and manage the property, which will feature up to 50 studio apartments, communal living areas, housing and homelessness services and other support for residents.   

Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, said,”Every Melburnian deserves a safe place to live, and we’re doing everything we can to help those in need as they transition to permanent housing – but we can’t do it alone.

“We’re calling on the philanthropic and corporate sectors to stand with us as we deliver this important project. 

“The Gandel Foundation is a strong supporter of initiatives to tackle homelessness, and we’re incredibly grateful for their significant contribution to our Make Room project.”   

Council has donated the building worth $12 million and allocated $365,000 to begin the refit in its 2021-22 Budget.   

Gandel Foundation CEO, Vedran Drakulic OAM, said the Gandel Foundation is one of Australia’s leading private family foundations, and is committed to projects that build strong, inclusive communities and empower vulnerable people to improve their wellbeing. 

“The Gandel family is proud to support the City of Melbourne’s Make Room project and Unison Housing, and we are confident that this initiative will create a positive and lasting difference in the lives of so many Melburnians struggling with homelessness,” Mr Drakulic said.

Health, Wellbeing and Belonging portfolio lead, Councillor Dr Olivia Ball, said housing is a human right, but there isn’t enough public, social and affordable housing in Melbourne. 

“On any given night in our CBD, between 60 and 90 people are sleeping rough,” Cr Ball said.

“We’re grateful for the backing of our generous partners, as we forge ahead with this important project, to provide much-needed emergency accommodation for people as they look to secure a stable, long-term place to live.”  

Site preparation works are well underway, ahead of the start of construction in October 2022. 

Accommodation and services are scheduled to open in late 2023.  

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