^ Photo (from L to R): James Davey, Stephanie Plumstead, Robbie McPherson, Keisha Hooper and James Kelly.
On 17 December 2019 Hobart City Mission and The Salvation Army opened the doors at Safe Night Space to help people experiencing homelessness by providing them with a safe place to sleep at night. This was only made possible with your incredible support. In response to theCOVID-19 pandemic, the program was extended to a 24/7 service.
The success of the 24/7 program has led to some positive changes at Safe Space.
The Day and Night Spaces now operate out of separate locations, which provides a better opportunity for clients to be connected with relevant services during the day. The Day Space now operates out of our Barrack St site, while the Night Space continues to operate from the original YouthARC site. The decision to move the Day Space to the Barrack Street site entailed some renovations during August. A big shout out to Construct 3 for such speedy and quality work in making this happen. This is now an ideal environment to connect clients to services as it is a space they feel comfortable and which significantly decreases anxiety levels.
Ewan Higgs, HCM’s Housing Services Coordinator, says the clients who use Safe Space have very complex needs and 60% suffer from addiction and diagnosed mental health issues. The staff at Safe Space are committed to building trust-based relationships and developing a feeling of safety with the clients. This opens the doors to introducing other services, for example, connecting clients with a general practitioner, helping them with their mental health and addiction issues and assisting with longer-term housing options.
Ewan says the most challenging part of managing a 24/7 service is switching off when you go home in the evening. You know you have staff working who can be dealing with a number of challenging issues and you want to be supporting them in their work but you also need to have a balance.
Hanna Richardson the recently appointed Safe Space Program Leader, says the change in the people who use the Safe Space program can be extraordinary. The first visit may just be for some food or a warm place to rest for a few hours, but over time and by building a relationship with them they start to open up more and their confidence grows. She says it’s very rewarding to know that she is making a difference in their lives. Sometimes all it takes is a 10-minute chat to put a smile on their face. A number of those that have used the facility over the past 10 months have found permanent accommodation and are continuing to work on improving their mental health which may have prevented them previously from seeking assistance.
This is all thanks to you and your generosity.
Knowing someone cares has made such a difference to the lives of these vulnerable Tasmanians.