Our vision

The City of Melbourne’s vision is to build a greater supply of safe and supported spaces across inner Melbourne, with integrated support services.

This includes medical services, alcohol and other drug support, legal assistance and mental health experts.

We’ll create a space in the central city that will offer personalised support to navigate the complex administrative maze of housing, welfare and health systems.

602 Little Bourke Street

We are repurposing a Council-owned building located at 602 Little Bourke Street, into specialist homelessness accommodation for up to 50 residents.

602 Little Bourke Street is a six storey building plus basement and was formerly used as an electricity supply building and is currently vacant. The building has an estimated asset value $12 million, and the total cost of the refurbishment is estimated at $20 million.

The building is being refurbished and converted into safe spaces for people to live until further housing can be found. By providing long-term case management we can help break the cycle of homelessness and help people get their lives back on track.

This is an ambitious, innovative project – and we can’t do it alone.

Working together

We are working with the Victorian Government and a range of partners, including philanthropists and corporates to fund and deliver this project. In addition ongoing individual case management will be provided to support these vulnerable people and break the cycle of rough sleeping and homelessness and help people get their lives back on track.

The City of Melbourne has a significant track record of working in partnership with social, community and commercial partners to redevelop and build a diverse range of facilities and buildings for the community. Further funding is currently being sourced through other philanthropic organisations.

Our vision is for the Make Room Project to set a new standard for short-term supported accommodation in Victoria.

Project background

  • Our whole community benefits when we work collaboratively to help people out of homelessness. We’ve seen that people are able to take back control of their lives when housing is available.
  • We play a key role across the city to ensure that everyone in our community feels safe and our public spaces are clean, accessible and inclusive.
  • Make Room will support people experiencing rough sleeping and homelessness by getting them off the streets and into supported accommodation until secure housing can be found.
  • Access to quality housing is critical for Melbourne’s liveability and economy.
  • Our research shows that for every $1 invested in affordable housing, there is a $3 benefit to the community due to worker retention, educational benefits, enhanced human capital, health cost savings, reduced family violence and crime. It is an investment in both essential infrastructure and people.
  • In addition to helping our community’s most vulnerable members, the project will also create more than 70 jobs in construction and dozens of ongoing jobs in housing and community services.
  • This project will deliver multiple jobs across a number of sectors, including direct and indirect full-time equivalent jobs in the construction phase as well as permanent, part-time and flexible clinical jobs and maintenance jobs.
  • We also commit to the employment of people with lived experience of homelessness to inform the design and development process.
  • We have undertaken initial concept designs working with our delivery partner Unison Housing. Unison’s extensive experience as a housing and homelessness services provider has informed the design.
  • As part of the consultation process, we will implement Aboriginal engagement processes to ensure that the development of culturally appropriate design and service delivery models are integrated.
  • The short-term supported accommodation for up to 50 residents at 602 Little Bourke Street draws on VincentCare’s experience with the Ozanam House development in North Melbourne.
  • Each studio apartment will include a bedroom, kitchenette and ensuite bathroom. It will also include a rooftop space and garden/green area and internal communal space that promotes interaction amongst the residents.
  • The number of people sleeping rough in the city has been increasing. City of Melbourne’s StreetCount survey recorded 112 people sleeping rough in 2008, and this increased to 279 in 2018.
  • The City of Melbourne and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) have been working in partnership to reduce the number of people sleeping rough in and around Melbourne’s CBD for many years, including through the successful Melbourne Service Coordination (MSC) project which was founded in 2015.
  • The MSC project brings together representatives from 14 agencies who work with people sleeping rough in the central city. The program coordinates services for rough sleepers, linking people to suitable support and homelessness agencies and ultimately aiming to provide a way from living on the streets and into permanent housing. MSC consists of specialist workers from a variety of services who work directly with people experiencing homelessness. The support these services offer include: housing, health, mental health specialists, youth specific and other relevant support programs.
  • In April 2020 the Melbourne By Name List (BNL) was established. This is a point in time tool that measures the level of homelessness within the municipality and monitors people on a case by case basis.
  • As of June 2022, the City of Melbourne’s BNL includes approximately 300 people who are actively homeless.

Make Room