Building Exceptional Communities
Posted on March 20, 2023
City Mission's Safe Space finalist in The Spirit Super Business Excellence Awards.
City Mission's Safe Space, in Launceston, began in mid-2020 as part of the government’s response to the COVID pandemic and homelessness. A first response to people in crisis and homelessness, Safe Space operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Safe Space offers a temporary safe and warm place to sleep and have basic needs met while clients work towards a more permanent housing solution.
Initially a simple shared sleeping arrangement layout for 16 people per night, Safe Space has more than doubled its capacity and can currently house 33 rough sleepers each night with a range of different sleeping arrangements including shared, single, double and dog friendly bedrooms.
"We pride ourselves on being a low barrier service. Our aim is to provide stability and breathing space for clients to gain resilience to face their challenges and achieve better outcomes for their future" said Stephen Hill, Operations Manager, Emergency Relief and Housing. "To put it simply, Safe Space wants clients to leave better equipped than when they come in."
More than just a warm bed.
Through this service, those experiencing homelessness can:
- Safely spend the night under cover
- Access hot, nutritious meals, service information, showers/laundry facilities and support during the day
- Access Phone service (as many services are moving to tele services)
- Access the Internet (as many services are also offering tele-conferencing)
- Store their belongings safely
- Access case management and coaching – for achieving better outcomes and to transition to long term accommodation.
- Be given an opportunity for social interaction and the ability to establish connections (moving towards formally linking in with the Housing Connect and other allied support systems)
- Enjoy recreation options – TV and games
- Access community outreach – people who aren’t ready to engage with the SSL service but still need help can be supported to make choices towards better outcomes.
Safe Space has 20 caring staff and 6 generous volunteers who assist in the kitchen during the day.
Who does Safe Space help?
Safe Space Launceston clients are typically the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community, and because of this disadvantage, they struggle to access or maintain secure housing. For example, our clients are often:
- People from areas of low socio economic status
- Vulnerable young people
- Vulnerable older people
- Culturally and linguistically diverse people
- People with disabilities or significant health issues (including mental health issues)
- People with low financial literacy
- People with social isolation issues
- People with life impacting issues (gambling, alcohol, drug use)
- People experiencing family violence
Safe Space clients also face numerous barriers such as:
- Poor diet, due to lack of food, limited access to cooking facilities or eating takeaways
- Poor mental and emotional wellbeing and limited support for improving wellbeing
- Infrequent use of medication to treat illnesses due to cost or fear of seeking medical attention.
- Lack of adequate support networks (people who care about them)
- Lack of personal hygiene either due to lack of facilities, personal hygiene items or health literacy
- Untreated chronic illnesses
- Poor literacy and comprehension
- Lack of adequate transport and cost associated to travel
- Stigma related to poverty
- Lack of budgeting skills and financial literacy
- Fear of accessing housing support due to past negative experiences
Stepping stones to a more positive future
SSL aims to address these barriers with clients wherever possible, and give them the stepping stones to build a more positive future. Due to the convenient location of Safe Space Launceston – there is easy and comfortable access for our clients to other essential community services such as City Mission’s Emergency Relief, The Mission Health Clinic for free health care, and Mission2aFuture which offers employment and training support.