Major philanthropic foundation backs Make Room project

The City of Melbourne’s Make Room project is now more than halfway to its funding goal, thanks to a $1.75 million philanthropic grant from The Ian Potter Foundation.

Make Room is a unique partnership between City of Melbourne, Unison, the Victorian Government and key philanthropic organisations to address the critical needs of people sleeping rough sleeping in Melbourne.

Chairman of The Ian Potter Foundation, Charles Goode AC said, "The Ian Potter Foundation is very proud to support Make Room. The Foundation supports initiatives that address the factors that contribute to people becoming homeless, through to intervention strategies that provide people experiencing homelessness with much-needed support to assist them to transition into longer term housing."

Unison CEO, James King, said, "Unison is honoured to receive such a significant grant from the Ian Potter Foundation towards the Make Room project which will reduce disadvantage and social exclusion, and deliver benefits to the entire community."

The Make Room project will transform a Council-owned building in Melbourne's CBD into safe and supported housing for people experiencing homelessness.

People sleeping rough in the City will have access to short-term supported accommodation for up to 12 months with the requisite wraparound supports to prepare and transition into longer term sustainable housing.

Unison will refurbish and manage the property, which will offer up to 50 studio apartments alongside communal living areas, housing and homelessness services, a social enterprise and wraparound support for residents.

Council has now secured $11.75 million for the $20 million project, following other funding commitments from the Victorian Government and Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said, "The Ian Potter Foundation has improved the lives of many Melburnians, and I want to thank them for their generous contribution to our Make Room project – we’ve now received more than 60 per cent of the funding we need to make our vision a reality.

"We are getting on with refurbishing 602 Little Bourke Street while we continue discussions with potential donors. I encourage corporates and charities to stand with us as we look to support some of our most vulnerable residents."

The City of Melbourne will provide the building worth $7.45 million and has allocated $365,000 to begin the refit. The project will create more than 70 jobs in construction, and dozens of ongoing roles when the accommodation is open.

Early works are scheduled to begin in March, with accommodation and services open in 2023



>> Click here to read City of Melbourne's Media Release

>> Find out more about the Make Room Project


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