Concierge is an excellent new program that employs people who have been living on the streets to support others on the fringe of society.
"We invite people in, we get them a hot meal and somewhere to rest where they will be safe. We get them help."
Eight previously homeless people are now employed to liaise each weekday with rough sleepers on Melbourne’s streets and get them the help they need through the Salvos. They say, ‘I’ve been where you are; come inside.’
The Concierge program has three components. The eight concierges are tasked with: liaising with rough sleepers and encouraging them to access services; exercising a custodial bent around the premises by picking up the odd scrap of paper or rubbish; and meeting and greeting staff and owners in the neighbouring businesses, to inquire about people sleeping rough in their doorways overnight. (Not only does this open up avenues to assist homeless people, but it also serves to help break down stereotypical prejudices against the homeless.)
The pilot program stage of Concierge is fully funded by donations raised last year when Major Nottle walked to Canberra to raise awareness of the plight of homeless Australians.
If you would like some more information about this program or would like to support this work, please contact us.
Caseworker Simon Chung takes an organic, non-academic approach to the concierges’ training, with the concierges joining him and other staff in the laneways and front of the centre, helping to create and maintain a safe space and approachable point of contact for homeless Melburnians.