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Safe Shelter provides a safe warm place for homeless men to sleep at night throughout Canberra’s winter - no meals, no counselling services, no money, just somewhere safe to sleep. The venues are church halls, which participating churches provide at no charge. The “beds” are swags, laid on the floor. The shelters are run by 90 plus volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who, after an initial training course, commit to spending one night per month in a shelter, in teams of two or three, sleeping on the floor with their guests.
After increasing to three nights per week at the initial venue, St Columba’s Uniting Church, Braddon, Safe Shelter is expanding to two more venues - St Thomas More Catholic Church in Campbell and All Saints Anglican Church in Ainslie - each for just one night per week initially. It is expected that, having gained experience, those new venues will each open for two nights per week, providing shelter on seven nights per week.
While participating churches are required to provide halls which meet Building Code of Australia Class 9a (community hall) standards, Safe Shelter has to pay for upgrades to permit overnight use - typically hard-wired fire protection - as well as initial set up facilities - signs, swags, etc. It is for these purposes that a Hands Across Canberra grant of $5,000 was provided and as a result actioned to improve the safety of our guests.