Coronavirus: how we are keeping our people safe and well

Hands and hearts as a symbol of solidarity during the Coronavirus outbreak

30 March 2020

The ongoing Coronavirus outbreak creates uncertain time for everyone, and we understand that the unfolding and serious nature of this virus is causing significant concern in the community. We must extend our solidarity to all, particularly to the most vulnerable people in our community, including people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

We are all acutely aware many of those we serve are the most disadvantaged and the most at risk, and they need our help more than ever. Especially because experiencing homelessness are unable to access the same level of resources to prevent or fight the virus, and we’re banding together to support them during these challenging times.

As the health and safety of our staff, clients and volunteers is paramount we are closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 developments and we are following advice of expert authorities to respond to the outbreak to keep our people and the wider community safe and well.

Modified services

For now, in response to the Federal Government banning gatherings of large numbers of people we are offering our Dining Hall clients a take-away meal for breakfast and lunch. We have also started our breakfast earlier than usual, at 8am. To support physical distancing, we drew lines of chalk in the waiting area to indicate the 1.5 metres of distance people are recommended to keep between each other while waiting for their meal.

At the Women's House we are still offering crisis and housing support, and showers. We ask our Women's House clients to visit 87 Grey Street, St Kilda for a takeaway meal.

Our GP service is open from 10am to 1pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Our services are considered as essential and they are a critical part of people’s lives. We will continue to provide Case Management, Pathways Support Services, Emergency Relief, outreach and in-home support services, to our clients. To protect our most vulnerable clients, including our ageing clients, we have minimised access to our aged care services including Sacred Heart Community. We have also suspended our Health and Wellbeing activities and all clinic services at the Wellness Place.

We will be focussing on critical activities and ensuring our clients are as prepared as possible in this current environment.

We recognise our clients need us and we are committed to provide all existing services under modified arrangements, aside from social activities, that will help them cope for as long as we practically can, so they too feel supported during this uncertain time.

What we need is kindness and compassion

It is important to remember Australia is well prepared. Our first-class health system includes mechanisms for early detection and effective management of cases and contacts.

We urge everyone to follow the advice of government health authorities with regard to maintaining good hygiene practices. Additional information is available on the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services and Australian Government Department of Health websites, including COVID-19 translated information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The COVID-19 hotline, 1800 675 398, is also available if you have any concerns about your health.

While in times like these we might feel isolated and powerless, we can rise as a society by showing compassion and solidarity for ourselves, our family and friends and the people in our community. This includes being sensible when replenishing your supplies and to consider that the wave of panic buying further isolates people experiencing homelessness and other marginalised groups from accessing basic supplies.

Australia has gone through a lot recently, and people are understandably occupied with this situation, but we need to continue to support one another. What we all need right now is more kindness and compassion, and to all work together in getting through this.

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People experiencing disadvantage need our support more than ever. Please make a donation and help us keep our doors open.

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Sacred Heart Mission respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.
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