Sidney Myer Haven –  our flagship social housing program – was awarded the Council to Homeless Persons’ top honour for Excellence in Ending Homelessness among Children and Families at the council’s Victorian Achievement awards on Wednesday. 

This is Sidney Myer Haven’s fourth award since opening two years ago and acknowledges the “meaningful consumer involvement” and “demonstrated contribution (the program makes) to gaining or sustaining housing for children and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

According to the judges: “Across the spectrum, the program is achieving extremely high rates of engagement and successful outcomes for highly vulnerable young people and their kids.” 

In July, Sidney Myer Haven received the inaugural Anthony Hardy award for Excellence in Social Housing in Victoria and prior to that was awarded PowerHousing Australia’s Excellence in Tenant Engagement and Social Inclusion and the Community Sector Banking’s Community Impact Award for innovation.

Operational since October 2015, Sidney Myer Haven is a unique initiative offering medium-term housing, within a contemporary 23-unit residential complex in Somerville Street, Bendigo, combined with a suite of life-skill support programs, which address housing and homelessness issues for program participants and sees them settled in affordable housing with the necessary skills to participate fully in community life.

Funding for this $7.5M project consisted of $4 million from the Victorian Government complemented by generous contributions from a range of philanthropic organisations and local community donations including $1.4 million from the Yulgilbar Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund as part of a social impact project instigated by Baillieu Myer in memory of his father Sidney Myer.   The William Buckland Foundation granted $750,000, the Ian Potter Foundation contributed $450,000, while community organisations Bendigo for Homeless Youth, Community Foundation for Central Victoria and Horizon House each donated $100,000.

The aim of this unique program is for participants to exit Sidney Myer Haven within 24 months into suitable accommodation in the public or private sector and with the life skills and ability to effectively maintain and succeed in that mainstream environment. 

Watch the video below to see how Sidney Myer Haven really makes a difference in peoples lives.