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More safe shelter for Tasmania's rough sleepers

More safe shelter for Tasmania's rough sleepers

More safe shelter for Tasmania's rough sleepers

13 May 2020

The expansion of Safe Space across Tasmania will benefit people doing it tough like Craig, who after spending five years sleeping rough and two years couch surfing, has found safety and community with The Salvation Army program in Hobart. Photo courtesy Hobart City Mission.

By Jessica Morris

Rough sleepers across Tasmania will soon have more spaces to safely lay their head. 

The Tasmanian Government has approved a $2.5 million grant for Safe Space (formerly Safe Night Space) in Hobart to run for another six months and be expanded to Launceston and Burnie.

This follows a successful pilot program run by the Salvos in partnership with Hobart City Mission and Hobart City Council. 

“Safe Space exists to provide a safe space for rough sleepers to come at night – that was a gap in service provision,” said Dr Jed Donoghue, State Manager of The Salvation Army Housing and Homelessness Services in Tasmania.

“We’re trying to encourage them [rough sleepers] to connect with support services, mental health services, drug and alcohol services, even legal services and the hospital – so we can address everything that may have caused them to become homeless, or are actually consequences of rough sleeping.”

To date, Safe Space has sheltered 158 people who experience homelessness, isolation or are rough sleepers. The additional government funding will allow the original location behind Hobart Hospital to open 24 hours a day and enable locations to open in Burnie and Launceston in partnership with Launceston City Mission.

The expansion couldn’t be timelier for the Salvos housing and homelessness team, who have seen an increase in homelessness since COVID-19 restrictions took effect.

“We are getting new people through safe place shelter every night – every one of those people gets a referral. It’s a fairly dynamic situation that we found ourselves working in,” said Don McCrae, Team Leader at Salvation Army Supported Housing in Hobart.

“Mainstream service provision has been restricted and meal provision is through a hole in the wall. People who were getting showers and using the laundry and internet now have no place to relax. Our work is actually ramped up in that sense.”

The Salvation Army Housing and Homelessness Services will play an integral role in setting up Safe Space locations in Burnie and Launceston over the coming weeks.

“And the climate here [means we need to] be supportive of people when they are going through a very anxious time,” said Don.

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