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.
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
We talked to our staff and clients about what makes Sacred Heart Mission unique and how it supports people to live the life they want to live.
Hear from our clients Asma, Cheryl and Graham, and from our team members Stephen (Executive Director), Kirsty (Meals Program Coordinator), Elizabeth (former Manager Women’s Services), Santi (Life Matters Coordinator) and Hala (Case Manager):
Stephen: Homelessness is an absence of home. It’s an absence of safety and security, privacy. It’s also that absence of connection.
Kirsty: Everything starts here in the Dining Hall at Sacred Heart Mission. For a lot of people it’s their first point of contact with our service. It’s a really important place to begin.
Elizabeth: Sacred Heart Mission is a not-for-profit organisation that’s been in existence for over 35 years now.
Stephen: We form a community that cares for community issues to make sure that people can make sustainable change in their lives.
Cheryl: Sacred Heart is part of my life. When I first experienced homelessness, I didn’t know anywhere that could help me in those days.
Graham: I had someone say, ‘I’ve got just the place for you’, and they brought me to Sacred Heart.
Asma: The people here are really good people. Very nice people. They helped me for everything here.
Kirsty: We open at seven o’clock every morning, 365 days a year.
Stephen: There’s no requirement. There’s nothing that you have to do other than just turn up. Easy engagement into the support. We will then wrap services around people, community engagement type services, clinical services, housing support.
Santi: Most of the residents here always say that the number one quality they feel here is safe.
Graham: I think a lot of people who get the opportunity to move in here, are going to feel a million dollars. This is really special.
Asma: I have very, very, very good experience with Sacred Heart. They helped me to find a permanent house.
Elizabeth: All staff are trained to provide a trauma informed approach, a flexible and individualised response.
Hala: We work on five different goal areas. The main one is housing, but we also work in health and wellbeing, social participation, economic participation, and independence.
Elizabeth: Building a relationship that’s based on trust, respect and kindness.
Stephen: Creating connection, creating relationship, and then passing that over to the community.
Graham: We like to think of ourselves as a family
Cheryl: The friendships I’ve made, made me feel loved.
Stephen: With that, people will be able to sustain their housing.
Cheryl: I’m in a block of flats that’s all women living in them. I feel safe, secure; cooking my own meals again.
Asma: It’s my home.
Elizabeth: It’s amazing to watch their belief in themselves and their self-esteem just grow.
Cheryl: A big thanks to the people that have donated.
Asma: They helped me and they helped many people.
Graham: It gives you an opportunity to live life again.
Stephen: We are asking everyone to be part of the solution, not just for those experiencing homelessness, but the reward that we all get when we connect.
Don’t miss a beat
Learn more about homelessness and how we can solve it together in our monthly newsletter, Heartbeat