If you’ve strolled the streets of an Australian city recently, you’ll have likely noticed an increased homeless presence, coupled with a sense of not knowing how to help.

This sense of powerlessness and inaction from community leaders is what prompted Adam Robinson to launch StreetSmart in 2003, an organisation tackling homelessness at the frontline by raising funds and awareness, challenging stigmas, and working with homeless people and their communities directly.

“The issue of homelessness in Australia sometimes seems intractable,” Robinson says. “The structural factors such as a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment must be tackled by governments, so how as individuals can we be part of the solution?

“This is a question I asked myself 15 years ago. Since then StreetSmart has raised $4.85 million and funded 1586 vital grassroots projects impacting thousands of lives. These projects often don’t get government funding, so it’s up to us as a community to fund them.”

Two of StreetSmart’s major fundraising initiatives – CafeSmart and DineSmart – happen at specific times in the year, so the organisation wanted to develop a way for the community to contribute more often and see the direct impact of their support. So, StreetFunder was born.

“StreetFunder is an online-giving program that brings together individuals and businesses to support grassroots homelessness services,” Robinson says. Each month StreetSmart seeks out important smaller organisations and with the power of the StreetFunder community we fund their most urgent needs and programs. Donors can contribute each month or just once off when it suits them.”

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Broadsheet has been a proud media partner of StreetSmart since the publication first launched in 2009. Broadsheet has been able to provide ongoing support to the annual CafeSmart and DineSmart campaigns but is proud to extend its commitment to include the StreetFunder initiative in 2018.

What sets StreetSmart apart is that every dollar raised goes directly to the project in focus. Its operating costs are taken care of by sponsors and philanthropists, allowing it to donate all funds to where they’re needed and intended. To date, StreetFunder has raised a total of $133,172 for 24 grassroots community programs.

April’s project of the month is the Youth Law Legal Pod Program, which helps vulnerable youth who have recently left state care to access legal advice to transition into independent living. Two separate studies show 35 per cent of teenagers become homeless within their first year of leaving care, and care-leavers make up more than half of Australia’s nearly 28,000 homeless youth (aged 18 to 25).

You can lend your support and voice through the #Makeit21 campaign encouraging governments to extend state care to 21 years of age.

Find out more about how to donate to StreetFunder on the StreetSmart website.

Broadsheet is a proud media partner of StreetSmart.