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New partnership offers hope for homeless families

 

9 December 2010

A new strategic partnership announced today between The Westpac Group and Mission Australia will address family homelessness and help deliver more affordable housing across the country over the next decade.

In the first stage of the long-term partnership Westpac has agreed to provide $1 million over three years to Mission Australia for specific projects to address homelessness.

In addition Westpac and Mission Australia will work together to launch a social innovation fund, targeting capital funds to be used to develop more affordable housing nationally.

The partnership was launched at an event in Sydney this morning by Gail Kelly, The Westpac Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Toby Hall, Mission Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, and Tanya Plibersek, Federal Minister for Social Inclusion.

In launching the new partnership, Mrs Kelly said: “As an active supporter of communities all around Australia, The Westpac Group believes it has a responsibility to help address the issue of homelessness.

“I am particularly proud to be announcing this strategic new initiative with Mission Australia, which we are hopeful will deliver real difference over the next decade.

“In partnering with Mission Australia, we have chosen a caring and dedicated organisation whose expertise The Westpac Group and its employees can draw upon to help make a genuine difference to the lives of the homeless.”

Mission Australia’s CEO, Toby Hall, said the partnership was unique in Australia and displayed a shared commitment between the two organisations to tackling one of the nation’s major social problems.

“Australia’s lack of affordable housing is one of the most significant factors influencing family homelessness,” said Mr Hall.

“Westpac’s support for this partnership will make a huge difference to our work and in the lives of countless homeless families – and those at risk of homelessness – now and in the years to come.

“Westpac and Mission Australia enjoy a long, shared history – Westpac has been Mission Australia’s bank of choice for close to 150 years. It’s wonderful to see this strong association develop to a new level.”

Other important aspects of the partnership include:

  • in-kind and pro bono support from Westpac to Mission Australia.
  • engagement of Westpac’s 40,000 staff on the issue of homelessness and through a range of activities (eg: volunteering).
  • strategic advice from Mission Australia to Westpac on how best to leverage its activities and harness innovation to address homelessness.

“There’s a stark challenge facing the country – families make up a quarter of all homeless people (105,000 homeless Australians on any one night) and up to 80% of homeless families seeking crisis accommodation are turned away from government-funded homeless services.

“This partnership couldn’t have come at a more crucial time in meeting that challenge head on and making a difference in the years to come,” said Mr Hall.