Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Haven; Home, Safe

ProjectThe Sidney Myer Haven Program – Social Curriculum Development and Implementation

Amount$150,000 (total)

Date2015 & 2016


These grants were approved under previous grants policy (2014 – 2017)
Rural and regional Victoria Working with disadvantaged individuals and families in Central Victoria
Extending opportunity Providing disadvantaged people with assistance to develop the skills needed to maintain tenancies and sustain employment
Building organisatgional capacity Implementation and evaluation of a more effective preventative/empowerment approach to homelessness will result in change throughout the housing sector
Collaboration and partnership Partnerships with a broad range of service, business, health and welfare, and education and training providers across the region

A visionary integrated service model for living skills

Many who move from crisis accommodation are poorly equipped to survive, let alone thrive and frequently fall back into the homelessness system. The Social Curriculum program aims to break this cycle by providing residents in transitional housing with personalised, accessible pathways to education, training and employment.


Haven; Home, Safe has been providing services to the homeless and disadvantaged for over two decades across Victoria’s Loddon and Mallee regions. The Sidney Myer Haven initiative in Bendigo, combines a 23-unit medium-term residential complex supported by an intensive life-skills development program aimed at supporting residents to transform their lives and realise long-term positive change for themselves and their families.

  • HMSTrust provided funding in 2015 to scope the development of the Social Curriculum, the education component of The Sidney Myer Haven. The result was an intensive, individualised, fully integrated life-enhancement program within a contemporary residential setting
  • In December 2015, a further grant of $120,000 was made towards employment of a Coordinator to incorporate the Social Curriculum framework into each participant’s personalised plan, setting goals for making positive change in their lives.
  • The aim of the Social Curriculum program is to provide life learning and foundational skills that engage, open doors and build participants’ capacity and potential to sustain tenancies, gain financial control, develop self-reliance, build trust, friendships and belonging.
  • A 2019 Social Return on Investment (SROI) Report by Think Impact found that for every dollar invested in the Sidney Myer Haven program, between $10.24-$11.92 of social and economic value is created. This value includes value to SMH residents, their children, and significant value to the Victorian State Government.
  • Residents participating in the program report increased safety and security, better mental health, expanded healthy social networks, expanded confidence, and capability to parent, significantly reducing their reliance on community services and agencies.
  • The project has brought together many regional providers for the first time, resulting in a deeper understanding of the issues and problems faced by disadvantaged people trying to improve personal capacity and skills.


Updated July 2019

“The Sidney Myer Haven Social Curriculum is a leading-edge life enhancement program, to break the cycle of homelessness”. Ken Marchingo, CEO Haven; Home, Safe