A Safe Shelter Pilot Project was operational in Canberra City during the winter of 2013 at St Columba’s Uniting Church, Braddon. The pilot project was pursued by a committed group of volunteers who wanted to express God’s love to the homeless through the provision of safe, warm shelter for at least one night of the week. A review of the pilot project has now been completed with the report available here.
The Shelter offered emergency overnight accommodation for men every Wednesday night from 15 May to 26 September 2013. Over that time, 9 guests stayed in the shelter, with 2 guests returning two and three times respectively for a total of 12 “bed” nights.
Based on stakeholder feedback and lessons learnt, preparations are underway for an expanded Safe Shelter project in 2014. Next steps include:
• St Columba’s Uniting Church has agreed to offer the use of its hall for up to three nights each week during winter in 2014.
• In the coming months, inner-city Churches will be invited to consider how they might participate in the project during 2014. This may mean the provision of further hall spaces on other nights of the week, an increased volunteer pool and/or participation on the management committee.
• The Safe Shelter Management Committee will seek new members and additional volunteers from the public to undergo training and police checks in early 2014, with a view to opening the project soon after Anzac Day in 2014.
For further information or to get involved, please contact: Briony Griffiths, bgriffiths[at]unitingcarenswact.org.au or Richard Griffiths, safeshelteract[at]gmail.com.