The City of Melbourne and Council to Homeless Persons are working collaboratively with businesses located in the City of Melbourne to build their understanding of, and support their response to, homelessness in the city.
The Connect Respect program was developed to address an increase in reported concerns by local businesses about the growing impact of rough sleeping and street begging on their operations, and the safety of their staff and customers
The program provides training to businesses on how to connect with people experiencing homelessness so that they have the confidence and knowledge to respond in an inclusive and respective way.
The pilot project commenced in 2015 in the busy area bordered by Elizabeth Street, Swanston Street, Flinders Street and Flinders Lane. Through consultation and engagement, it was found that many businesses – large and small – were interested in becoming involved in developing local solutions for people experiencing homelessness, and for those who are marginalised, transient, vulnerable or unwell.
Businesses, and people whose work brings them into contact with people experiencing homelessness, are encouraged to participate in the Connect Respect training, which is tailored specifically for their business and staff needs. Training is taking place from April to September 2017.
Connect Respect is delivered by members of the CHP Peer Educatoin Support Team, and trainers have a lived experience of homelessness’