About us

It all starts with a welcome, a meal, a relationship.
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Every day of the year, we welcome adults of all ages and backgrounds who are experiencing homelessness, disadvantage and social exclusion to a free meal, care and support.

Since opening our doors in 1982, we have evolved into an independent non-profit organisation renowned for effectively helping thousands of people experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives.

At the heart of everything we do, we recognise everybody is unique. No matter where people are in their journey, we are here to support them and we do not give up. Everyone is welcome at our table.

Through our wide-ranging homelessness services, research and innovation we strongly advocate for an inclusive, fair and compassionate community where people can overcome disadvantage and have a contributing life.

A Sacred Heart Mission, we see new personal strengths, achievements and optimism unfold for people every day.

With someone in their corner, people who have faced extraordinary disadvantage and trauma can find the courage to face the challenges in their life. We are in this for the long haul – we are committed to making a sustainable difference in people’s lives.

Our History

The Mission’s story began in St Kilda in 1982, when a local Parish Priest shared a meal with a man who was hungry and experiencing homelessness.

It was this first act of generosity which led to the formation of Sacred Heart Mission to provide the necessities of life – food, clothing, emergency relief, accommodation and companionship to people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in the Port Phillip area in Melbourne.

A small team of committed staff and parishioners from St Kilda West helped prepare simple meals out of the presbytery’s kitchen. Within a year, more than 70 people were arriving each day for lunch. This led to the use of the Sacred Heart Parish Hall as the Dining Hall.

Today, the Dining Hall continues to be the heart of the Mission, providing breakfast and lunch every day of the year for hundreds of people. Much more than just a meals service, the Dining Hall opens a doorway for people to access a variety of services and support mechanisms offered at Sacred Heart Mission to those who come to us at a time when they are most in need.

Since then, the Mission has evolved into an innovative not-for-profit organisation providing individualised support and care services to people who are experiencing homelessness and disadvantage. We are now a well-recognised community service organisation, with Incorporated Association status, a board of governance and a range of complementary, innovative services all focused on addressing the issues of homelessness, social isolation and disadvantage.

Learn more about Sacred Heart Mission

Our Accreditations

  • Quality Improvement Council Health and Community Services Standards
  • Human Services Standards
  • National Standards for Mental Health Services
  • Aged Care Quality Standards
  • Registered provider of services for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Sacred Heart Mission is fully committed to continuous quality improvement in all aspects of the organisation, from our business and operations to our service delivery areas, from our Board and volunteers through to our service delivery staff. This focus ensures that we regularly review and assess what we do and how we do it in order to continually refine and improve our services. It is important to ensure that we are not only delivering on our strategic plan but most importantly that we are meeting the needs and supporting change and positive outcomes for the people accessing our services.

Sacred Heart Mission is a Child Safe Organisation. Please read our Child Safe Statement here.

Our strategic plan

We know the future is challenging, but we will rise to the challenge and be proactive and evolutionary, in order to support people to make lasting changes in their lives. We have outlined our strategic priorities over a ten year period, from 2014 to 2024.

Our impact is measured and reported, we know what happens to clients, carers and families as a result of our services and the difference we make. We are accountable for our social value and measure our social return on investment.

Diversity Statement

Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of Sacred Heart Mission. We consider the diversity among our staff and volunteers to be an asset offering strengths and capabilities which greatly support the delivery of our services. Based on our vision of an inclusive, fair and compassionate community, we aim to provide welcoming and non-discriminatory spaces for everyone. We will continue to work in partnership with the community and organisations to develop innovative actions to improve the responsiveness and inclusiveness of our spaces and services.

Our guidelines, policies, procedures, and practice aim to ensure equality and participation, regardless of gender identity, age, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, religion, and/or sexual orientation. Read our pledge to provide LGBTIQA+ inclusive services and workplaces.

Sacred Heart Mission engages a diverse range of people, staff and volunteers, to work across a wide range of services and in our opportunity shops.

We are committed to ensuring that our spaces and workplaces are safe and welcoming for all people.

RAP Statement of Commitment

Sacred Heart Mission acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we operate. We pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past and present. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

With Indigenous Australians making up more than 10 percent of the people who come to us for support, Sacred Heart Mission commits to providing accessible and culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We also have, and continue to promote, Aboriginal staffing, business suppliers and connections with Aboriginal workers in our areas of operation. We have committed to reconciliation since 2012, striving to walk together with Aboriginal people and community to bring two worlds together and make it a fair, safe and welcoming place for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Read our Reconciliation Action Plan to see how we are achieving this.

Affiliation with the Catholic Church

Sacred Heart Mission is an example of the Catholic Church in action and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching on confronting poverty, enhancing human dignity and advocating for a more just society.

Statement on the Religious Discrimination Bill

Our organisation, services and shops are places of welcome. We are committed to ensuring that our services and workplaces are safe and welcoming for all people, regardless of their sexuality, gender orientation, marital status, ability or beliefs. We join with other community service organisations with a faith background to speak out on the Religious Discrimination Bill, to urge the Government not to implement the Religious Discrimination Bill as proposed.