Demand for purpose-built shower facilities on Tuart Avenue for Mandurah’s homeless has forced organisers to extend their service hours.
For Australians sleeping rough, maintaining personal hygiene can be challenging - but an initiative to provide a hot shower, food, beverages and a simple chat is breaking ground in Mandurah.
Now operating three times a week, the facility has provided a safe space for the city’s vulnerable to clean up and get changed on a regular basis.
According to West Aus Crisis executive officer Lynn Rodgers, who pushed local government for the service for close to a decade, the facility had been well received by the support industry and its users.
Ms Rodgers said her team were pleased to open the opportunity out to one more day a week and encouraged more people to reach out for the support service if needed.
“We were originally going to open up Monday and Friday but we’ve opened up Wednesday as well,” she said.
“On those mornings, depending on the week, we probably get eight a day. Homeless people are a bit transient, so they’re not always the same people.”
Ms Rodgers said West Aus Crisis would continue to monitor numbers and review if expansion was needed in the future.
While the number of those choosing to use the showers has increased, Ms Rodgers said people were wary in the beginning.
Ms Rodgers said staff had found people to be slow to take up the service as they were suspicious “strings were attached”.
While she could understand their concern, Ms Rodgers encouraged people to visit the centre even if it was to “scope out” the showers before coming back later.
Ms Rodgers said the opportunity the showers had provided to introduce vulnerable people to support services had been a massive boon.
When people have dropped into the facility, staff have been able to discuss support options and hand out educational material to help them.
Ms Rodgers thanked those who had helped bring the project to fruition, in particular, the ongoing support from local volunteers.
“It offers homeless people an extra service. We don’t get paid to deliver it. We won’t be able to do it without the volunteers,” she said.
NEED TO KNOW:
The showers are located at 2 Tuart Avenue and times will change depending on demand.
For more information on the service contact coordinator Kerrie Overell via email@example.com on call West Aus Crisis via 9582 9920.
Follow Caitlyn Rintoul on Twitter via @caitlynrintoul.
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