As the end of this year rapidly approaches, let me firstly sincerely thank you again for your much appreciated interest and support of Samaritan House Geelong.
However, it is a major understatement to say that 2020 has been a year like none other! Every aspect of our community, economy and lifestyle has been impacted by COVID-19 in some way, and our work with homeless men has likewise been seriously affected.
As I reported earlier this year, we had to make the difficult decision during the first lock-down to close the main house although the Kevin Dillon Cottage could remain open. Since then, due to emergency Government funding, people experiencing homelessness have had the opportunity to stay in motels in the Geelong region. This situation continued during Victoria’s second lockdown.
The very good news is that in November, in conjunction with the Salvation Army, we were finally able to re-open Samaritan House to a group of men who will be undertaking a special residential program. The Accommodation Living Skills Program will assist our guests with basic living skills, build on their personal strengths, provide information about housing and create tools to help them in finding suitable longer term accommodation.
This is a great next step given all the circumstances. This new program very much accords with our overall mission of Samaritan House as a place of “…transition to a better future.”
The other major development is our Independent Living Unit project which will provide suitable House guests with the opportunity to occupy one of seven units for a period of up to 12 months at an affordable rent, as they re-establish their lives.
Since our last newsletter, this project has continued to build momentum. Capital funding is now largely in place with the welcome assistance of the State Government and City of Greater Geelong, together with a most generous gift from the Mansfield family. The project is being very capably and professionally led by Board member Brian Sherwell and the Project Control Group is meeting regularly. We expect that the project will be largely complete in mid -2020.
We are delighted in the ongoing collaboration between Deakin University, The Gordon and FormFlow (the builder) on this project. Apprentices trained by The Gordon will be involved in the many aspects of the site landscaping in 2021.
These units will be safe and comfortable homes which residents will be proud of, as they rebuild and stabilise their lives.
To assist with the project, listed below are a number of practical items the units will needing. If you would like to support us with the cost of any of these, that would be greatly appreciated.Practical things each of the seven Independent Living Units will need:
• Bedside table
• Single Bed
• Small Dining Table & 2 Chairs
• Small Sofa
• Kitchen appliance sets: Kettle, Toaster, Sandwich Toaster
• Crockery & Cutlery
• Cooking Equipment
Christmas can be particularly difficult for the men we serve - loneliness and a sense of disconnection are amongst the most prevalent issues.
We appreciate your financial support of Samaritan House. Each contribution is greatly appreciated and makes a significant difference to the lives of the men we serve.
This is why we hold our annual “No Room at the Inn” Christmas Appeal. If at all possible, we would greatly appreciate your consideration of a donation for this appeal. Donations, which are fully tax deductible, can be made on the form enclosed or through our website.
On behalf of my fellow Board members, may we wish you a joyous Christmas and
best wishes for 2021
Keith Fagg OAM