Ask our leaders to keep winter shelters open!

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Victorian Building Authority leaves homeless in the cold

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Numbers of people experiencing homelessness in Australia are increasing. On any given day, approximately 25,000 people in Victoria are sleeping rough, or living in emergency or unsafe accommodation (DHHS). In the Yarra Valley, more than 300 people are experiencing homelessness, with many sleeping in the park, in cars or in doorways due to the lack of crisis accommodation

Stable One is a registered charity that works with local churches, using buildings that would otherwise be empty at night to provide shelter to people experiencing homelessness. In addition to a safe, warm place to sleep, churches offer guests a warm meal, resources and company. Run by around 200 trained volunteers, the Winter Night Shelter fills a critical gap in our social safety net - readily available, safe accommodation at no cost to the government. 

On the 21st of August 2019, the Winter Night Shelter was shut down by Yarra Ranges Council because churches had not obtained new occupancy permits for their buildings to classify them as ‘accommodation’. 

If planning minister Richard Wynne’s intention is to “make sure the places people sleep are safe”, then the only practical solution is to allow churches to open their doors to the homeless. How is the street a safer place to sleep than a church?

It’s time to call upon the Victorian Government and the Victorian Building Authority to allow churches to operate winter shelters without changing their occupancy permits, so that they can continue to support some of Australia’s most vulnerable. 

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Please note, if you would like to support Stable One financially, click here. Donations asked for after you sign go to Change.org and are not received by Stable One.

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