The Make Room project will see 602 Little Bourke Street converted into short-term housing with support services for people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne.
Consultation was held from July to August 2021 to share key details of the project with the public and hear any concerns from the community. People could attend a community meeting or ask questions through Participate Melbourne.
13,000+ letters were sent to residents and businesses within a 200m radius informing them about Make Room.
The project received:
new project page followers
participants at community meetings
Participate Melbourne submissions
Only a small proportion of the 13,000+ people invited to give feedback felt strongly enough to engage directly with Council.
What we heard
People wanted to know how Council will ensure the area is safe for everyone who lives or spends time there. People raised concerns about drug and alcohol use, and expressed fears that current rates of crime and harassment may increase if there are more people experiencing homelessness in the area.
Some people worried that the area would become less desirable or that residents’ lifestyles would be impacted, and that this could lead to economic struggles for businesses or a decline in property values.
Various organisations and individuals wanted to know how they could contribute to Make Room, with offers including volunteering, creative partnerships to support the refurbishment, and providers already working in this space offering their services and expertise.
People wanted more detail on how Make Room would be managed to ensure it achieves its aims, including criteria for tenants and accessing support services, timing, and funding, and whether it could house more people.
City of Melbourne is developing a 12-month communication plan to keep the community informed as the Make Room project progresses. Feedback gathered from this consultation will guide the plan to ensure community members’ key questions and concerns are addressed.
The plan will take into account:
- Clarifying the aims of the Make Room project and how it will be implemented.
- Emphasizing that this is a purpose-built facility designed to provide tenants with a place to live, as well as wrap-around support.
- Highlighting positive stories.
- Educating the community around homelessness.
- Highlighting other partnerships and organisations.
- Clarifying opportunities for involvement.
- Targeted communication to assuage fears regarding safety.
- Explaining why this site has been chosen.
- Emphasising City of Melbourne’s efforts to communicate widely.
We value the feedback given to us by the community, and will be using this to inform the next stages of the Make Room project. We’re creating a plan to keep the community informed throughout the process and address the concerns that have been raised.