New CBD homelessness service for Aboriginal Victorians

Sean Car

The state government has launched a new pilot site for Aboriginal people experiencing or at risk of homelessness on Bourke St.

Delivered in partnership with the City of Melbourne and the Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation, the government says more Aboriginal Victorians experiencing homelessness in the CBD would get the support they needed under the program.

Ngwala will take over a City of Melbourne building at 227 Bourke St to deliver homelessness outreach services as well as a specialist Aboriginal homelessness entry point service.

The site will operate from Tuesday to Saturday and will enable vulnerable communities to access essential housing and support services.

Underpinned by a self-determination model, Ngwala will offer a multidisciplinary response providing specialised support for Aboriginal people.

Minister for Housing Harriet Shing said the service would address a significant gap in the delivery of support services.

“This partnership will provide safe wraparound support services right in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD, enabling First Nations people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to access a wide range of allied services, and providing them with safe and supportive care when and where they need it,” Minister Shing said.



Up to 15 per cent of people experiencing chronic homelessness identify as Aboriginal – despite only making up 0.5 per cent of the CBD’s population. 

Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the 12-month pilot would establish an important presence and contact point for Aboriginal people and was “the first of its kind in the CBD.”


Minister for Treaty & First Peoples Natalie Hutchins said Aboriginal Victorians were “over-represented in the homeless population in Melbourne’s CBD”.


“Building systems of culturally safe and appropriate support is essential if we want to improve outcomes for vulnerable Victorians, including our Aboriginal communities,” Minister Hutchins said.

Ngwala received more than $4.5 million in the Victorian Budget 2024/25 to fund a range of Aboriginal-specific homelessness programs including their outreach van, operating around the CBD and St Kilda offering support to people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, and to continue the work of their Aboriginal entry point in St Kilda.

The government has provided nearly $197 million in its latest budget into frontline homelessness services to help more people experiencing homelessness. 

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