There are a variety of reasons youth become homeless such as leaving school early, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, or family violence/breakdown. According to a report by Swinburne University, there are over 44,000 young people under the age of 25 experiencing homelessness in Australia, making youth homelessness a major social problem throughout the country.
There are many groups across the country tackling this issue and one such organization working to end youth homelessness in Melbourne is STREAT. With a mission to stop youth homelessness one mouthful at a time, STREAT utilizes a social enterprise business model to offer disadvantaged youth a guided pathway to a sustainable life.
STREAT offers a variety of programming to help their students thrive in all parts of their lives. As part of their support, STREAT provides wrap-around support such as group life skills programs and individual case management. Additionally, they provide a range of culinary training programs from introductory cooking, to hospitality training, to full on-the-job training. STREAT operates five cafes, a catering company and a coffee roaster throughout Melbourne CBD where their students train and gain meaningful work experience. Currently, 70% of their revenue comes through these cafes and catering. As they build out a complete state of the art flagship site, STREAT has a goal of being completely self-sustaining by 2017 and hopes to continue their reach to help 1,095 youth by 2022.
Zendesk and STREAT
Last November, as part of our new office opening in Melbourne, we created a Community Agreement demonstrating our commitment to giving back in Melbourne and having a positive social impact on the community. Not only was the event catered by STREAT, but also as part of our agreement, we committed to partnering with organizations focused on workforce development for underserved populations. We have used STREAT catering for events, happy hours and internal Townhall meetings. Additionally, Zendesk employees often stop by the McKillop Street cafe for some delicious coffee!
How to get involved:
- Buy a ‘Friends of STREAT’ cookbook complete with recipes from top Melbourne's top chefs and stories from some of STREAT's youth.
- Visit one of their cafes - By grabbing a delicious coffee at one of the cafes, you can feel comfortable know your drink is ethically purchased and is helping disadvantaged youth.
- Visit the STREAT website to learn more about upcoming project and how you can get involved.