Sacred Heart Mission’s Response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Sacred Heart Mission’s Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

1 November 2021

This statement reflects how Sacred Heart Mission is monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions announced by the Victorian government.

Sacred Heart Mission is following the advice of the Australian and Victorian Government before activating changes to provision of services and operations in response to COVID-19. Modified arrangements are being implemented to make sure we can continue to provide critical services to our clients while maintaining the health and safety of our staff, clients, residents, volunteers and community is paramount.

Coronavirus updates

To find out more about the coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, limitations to domestic travel as well as COVID-19 symptoms and testing, please visit the COVID-19 website of the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria.

The Department of Home Affairs also provides essential information about Covid-19 in 63 different languages.

Exposure site - 12 October

Between 12-18 October, 18 residents at Sacred Heart Community and three staff members tested positive for Covid-19. As of 1 November, Sacred Heart Community is no longer considered an active outbreak site. When the first case was detected, staff immediately implemented the appropriate protocols, as per our Covid Action Plan. We met daily with the Department of Health Outbreak Management Team and remain in close contact with all the necessary public health stakeholders.

100% of Sacred Heart Community staff are vaccinated and 92% of residents are vaccinated. In accordance with our Covid-safe plan, all Sacred Heart Community staff and residents will continue to be routinely tested weekly. 

Exposure site - August 2021

On 18 August, our Dining Hall (Meals Program) and the Women's House were listed as Tier 2 exposure sites by the Victorian Department of Health. The positive case visited our Engagement Hub at 87 Grey St, St Kilda and at the Women’s House between 10-16 August. Each interaction was conducted outdoors and with staff wearing PPE, however, as a precaution both sites have undergone a thorough clean. All SHM staff and clients linked to this exposure site have tested negative for Covid-19.

The Meals Program remains open with regular takeaway service and the Women’s House reopened on Thursday 19 August for crisis and housing support.

All staff and clients linked to this exposure site have tested negative for Covid-19.

Entering a Sacred Heart Mission site 

Face masks need to be worn indoors and outdoors in accordance with Victoria’s current Covid-19 restrictions.

Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Our aged care residents have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sacred Heart Mission, along with our disability, housing and homelessness partners are advocating for appropriate and tailored responses for all vulnerable people in the community to ensure access to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and voluntary, and we are highly recommending our staff, residents, clients and volunteers receive it to keep Sacred Heart Mission free of the virus. More information about the vaccine can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services vaccine website.

Provision of client services during the COVID-19 pandemic

With appropriate spatial distancing, PPE and other necessary service modifications, our focus is to continue to safely provide critical services as far as practicable, because our clients/residents have been and will continue to be the most impacted by the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. They include older people, people on low incomes, people with a disability and/or chronic health conditions, and those without a home.

Service modifications have been implemented in different ways across service types and aim to maintain the health and wellbeing of staff and clients.

We will be focusing on critical support to make sure our clients have their needs met and are as prepared as possible in this changing environment.

Donate here to support our most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic:

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Engagement Hubs (Dining Hall, Central Services and the Women’s House)

  • We are offering our Dining Hall clients a combined breakfast and lunch takeaway. Our meals service has been modified, to reduce the need for vulnerable people to gather as they wait for their meal. This service will occur between 10am-1pm, outside the front gate of our Dining Hall (87 Grey Street, St Kilda).
  • Essential outreach, case management, and duty support will occur face-to-face. Current clients receiving case management have been supported with mobile phones.
  • We offer clients from the Women’s House takeaway meals from outside the front gate of our Dining Hall on Grey Street.
  • The Women's House will continue to offer crisis and housing support from 8:30am to 11am Monday to Friday. Open-house access, showers, laundry and the sleep room continue to be closed.
  • Wellness Place has moved services such as our physiotherapy pain clinic and dietetics services onto an eHealth platform with other services being put on hold at this time.
  • The Health and Wellbeing group activities have also been placed on hold.

GreenLight Supportive Housing Program

  • We have recommenced provision of case management and service coordination to clients face-to-face with appropriate social distancing and PPE.
  • Will accept new referrals, and continue close work with housing partners to sustain housing for clients.

Journey to Social Inclusion

  • J2SI will continue essential outreach and are providing case management and service coordination to clients, with social distancing and PPE, while working with housing partners to sustain housing for clients.  

Homefront Crisis Accommodation for women

  • As a priority homeless service, we will continue to provide on-site support directly to clients with distancing and Covid-safe policies in place.

Bethlehem Community

  • As a priority homeless service, we will continue to provide on-site support directly to clients with distancing and universal infection controls etc.
  • Outreach support will be reduced and replaced with telephone support where possible.

Sacred Heart Community

  • Sacred Heart Community is closed to visitors to keep our residents and staff safe.

Rooming House Plus Program

  • The Rooming House Plus Program is only accepting visitors who qualify as part of the current restrictions.

Sacred Heart Local

  • As an essential service offering in-home support to 200 people both aged people and people living with disabilities, Sacred Heart Local will continue operations while practicing COVID-safe health guidelines.

Operational changes

  • We are using technology to conduct meetings, events, and training.
  • We are collecting contact tracing data through the implementation of mandatory QR code check-ins for all staff and visitors attending any Sacred Heart Mission site.

Op shops

  • All 12 op shops will reopen on Friday, 5 November.
  • You can continue to shop at our online op shop from the comfort of your home.
  • Our stores fund more than 30 per cent of Sacred Heart Mission’s programs and services, including our Meals Program and the Women’s House. Without our stores running at full capacity, the various services we provide are underfunded.


  • We appreciate your interest in volunteering with us. We currently offer a limited number of volunteer opportunities. Please check our vacancies here and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for any updates.

  • If you already volunteer with us and you are rostered for shifts at our Dining Hall, you need a certified permit letter from us. In accordance with Victoria's Coronavirus restrictions, you are required to carry the permit with you when volunteering with us and when travelling for volunteering, starting from Tuesday, 17 August 11.59pm.

Our fundraising events

  • We’re reviewing our 2021 events and we will continue to communicate future decisions about other upcoming events with our key stakeholders.

For further information about our services during the coronavirus pandemic please check our COVID-19 FAQ:

Covid-19 FAQ

Sacred Heart Mission acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria and pays respects to them, their culture and their elders past, present and emerging.


Sacred Heart Mission believes that the diversity of abilities, genders, sexualities, relationship identities, bodies and cultures in our community enriches us all and should be celebrated. Everyone is welcome at our table.