Earlier last year we sat down with the founders of HoMie (Marcus Crook & Nick Pearce), to discuss the issues faced by the homeless community in Melbourne. HoMie is a social enterprise by Homeless of Melbourne. HoMie provides brand-new clothing, training and job opportunities to people experiencing homelessness. We proudly support HoMie and are excited about their expansion and progress over the past 12 months. You can pick up some beard oil or a body scrub in the HoMie store, with 100% of the sale/profit going directly to HoMie. We caught up with Marcus again to hear what’s been happening in the time since.
How has HoMIE been going since we last spoke?
HoMie has been ticking along nicely since we first got it up and running- we’ve been able to distribute over 1000 items of brand-new clothing to approximately 300 people via our monthly VIP days in 2015. Initially, HoMie was expected to be around for approximately three months, however, the model is proving a big success with over six months of operation in 2015, and an eye to continue its trading all throughout 2016. We recently launched a womenswear range (HoMie 4 Her) which has a specific focus on raising awareness on domestic violence (the number one contributor to homelessness amongst women). We anticipate that we’ll be able to run six “women-only” VIP days throughout 2016 through proceeds generated via this new range. We’ve also built upon our unisex staples with some fun designs that were extremely popular throughout the Summer period. Our new store is located on the ground floor of Melbourne Central right next to another awesome social enterprise, STREAT. Another big development since we last spoke has been our initiative to train and employ young people engaged in homelessness services as HoMie staff members. We currently have three extremely competent young people who’ve all endured their fair-share of hardship, yet are taking a proactive approach to bettering their situation through the professional and personal development offered by our program.
What have been some of the highlights since launching the HoMie store?
Bar the above development, the VIP days are a massive highlight for all of our team as we’re able to provide a confidence-boosting experience to people that are currently enduring a hard time. They receive up to five brand-new items of clothing, a haircut, bite to eat, coffee and a friendly chat with our staff. Seeing people leave the shop at the end of the day with a smile and extra spring in their step is what this whole thing is about.
Tell us a bit more about HoMie 4 Her.
With help from a close friend Ellen Jacobson who brings a female perspective we wanted to help address the issues associated with women and homelessness. Statistics in Australia at the moment show domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children. We really wanted to channel more of our resources towards helping this group. we felt as if it was a natural progression and something that needed to be done to help curb such a shocking issue in australian society. Just like the HoMie range, proceeds from HoMie 4 Her go straight into helping women experiencing homelessness in Melbourne. We plan to host further VIP days this year which will be women focused and women only.
Why is it important for people to get behind HoMie? What are some things people can do to support your organisation?
I guess the easiest way to support us is to buy some clothes, as we are a not for profit all the revenue is pumped back into the store so we can help provide more clothing to those who need it. also help us continue to train and employ at risk or previously homeless youth.
What have been some major challenges faced as a not-for-profit organisation?
Trying to establish yourself within a sector of so many pre-existing services doing great work is obviously no easy feat. For us, it was about trying to do something a bit left-of-field that hadn’t been tried and tested before. The other obvious challenge was entering into an area by which all of us have had no real prior experience so it’s been perhaps the best learning curve we could’ve asked for! The best way to learn is to get straight in, have a crack and get your hands dirty. We had a nothing-to-lose mentality and that has really helped us in building something that we’re proud of. Mind you, it is and will always be a work in progress as we’re constantly refining ideas (which isn’t a bad thing!!!).