MORE than 484 restful night’s sleep have been provided to those sleeping rough in Hobart since the successful launch of the Safe Night Space pilot program on 17 December last year.
Thanks to the generous support of the local community, $450,000 was raised to start the six-month pilot program, which was developed in response to the lack of options for people sleeping on the streets of Hobart.
The pilot was announced in October last year and opened in December 2019 with the aid of community fundraising and a contribution of $150,000 from the State Government.
Safe Night Space is located at the YouthARC building and is provided at no cost by the Hobart City Council.
The Salvation Army ‘Street2Home’ team initially referred clients to the program each night to ensure client and staff safety.
With the success of the program, referrals are now coming from other organisations such as Colony 47’s Housing Connect Front Door, other Housing Connect organisations, Tasmania Police, Royal Hobart Hospital and other community service organisations.
Safe Night Space program coordinator Ewan Higgs said the program had created a sense of community and pride for the people who used the service.
“The clients invest in the space,” he said.
“They want to ensure that it remains a safe place for them to come.
“There is a sense of camaraderie and the people who have been here before help show the new people around.
“Everyone packs down and cleans up in the morning, as well as pitches in to make sure the space is in good shape for the YouthARC team that day.
“We didn’t know what the response was going to be from clients, but it’s been great so far.”
The Safe Night Space opens every night at 8pm until 7am the next day.
The space in available for up to 15 people each night, with about 60 per cent being repeat clients.
Clients make use of the available facilities, rest and connect with support staff.
There are stretcher beds that clients set up each night, as well as lockers to keep their belongings safe.
Clients are provided with food from St Vincent de Pauls’ Louis’ Van and also have access to a kitchen to cook and prepare any food they have brought with them.
Orange Sky Laundry comes once a week so clients can wash their clothes, and the Moreton Group mobile GP clinic also visits once a week.
“It’s a great opportunity for clients to realign with services, get referrals to other programs and reconnect with support workers,” Mr Higgs said.
To access Safe Night Space, contact Colony 47 Housing Connect Front Door, Level 3, 181 Collins Street, Hobart, email firstname.lastname@example.org or free call on 1800 800 588 (24 hours).
Caption: Safe Night Space program coordinator Ewan Higgs, left, and team leader Hanna Richardson.