Nowra shows the way forward

Nowra is a prime example of how the theme for Homeless Week should work.

The theme for Homeless Week Homeless Week (August 7 to August 13) is ‘action and innovation’ which is the approach taken to fix the local homeless problem with the Safe Shelter Shoalhaven plan.

Led by local churches and manned by an impressive team of volunteers the safe shelter plan has been getting people off the streets and into a warm and safe place to stay this winter.

Between four to five people head to the shelter each night where they get a bed, food, warmth and kindness.

Homeless man Bob (real name withheld) regularly receives support at the shelter and would love to see the plan continued.

Bob was living in his car, until he heard about the safe shelter plan, this winter.

Bob had to run his car for 15 minutes every hour just to keep warm at night.

He has now been staying at the shelter and is so grateful.

“Thank you for the safe shelter and now I have somewhere warm to stay and have a hot meal,” he said. “It’s so nice to be able to lay horizontal, rather  than sleep sitting up in my car. I am blown away by the generosity that something like this would be offered - thank you.”

Homeless Week aims to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness and the issues these people face.

Local volunteer Ash Hudson said safe shelter plan worked well.

“People are still keen to help and we get a few more new volunteers coming in each week even now,” Mrs Hudson said.

They have 220 volunteers on their books and local 21 churches are now involved.

People are also still dropping food in to the shelter and Meg Dover from Salt Ministries said Safe Shelter Shoalhaven Plan was a true community program.

Mrs Hudson said the volunteers are all asking - what is going to happen next?

“All the volunteers are keen to continue,” she said.

“You can shut it but there will still be homeless people.”

Mrs Dover said discussions are going on regarding how to continue the safe shelter plan.

More volunteers are needed to do the 10pm to 8am shift.

To become a volunteer call 0478 219 880 or head to the group’s Facebook site - Safe Shelter Shoalhaven. On the eve of homeless week the Shoalhaven was stunned when a family donated $400 000 to the cause.