Hutt Street Centre provides a broad range of services to adult men and women who are homeless.
The centre was established by the Daughters of Charity in 1954 to provide for the needs of the 20 or so men who were sleeping in the nearby parklands at the time, many of whom had returned from war.
The sisters handed out a sandwich and a jar of tea to the men who lined up at the back gate.
Hutt Street Centre’s Danielle Bayard said that since that time the centre has grown significantly to meet the needs of more than 200 people each day who are homeless and vulnerable in Adelaide.
“Homelessness can and does happen to anyone,” Danielle said.
“It is not planned or a lifestyle choice and it doesn’t discriminate. For some it is a short period of time and others have been in and out of homelessness for many years.”
Danielle said that working at Hutt St Centre quickly teaches you not to judge another person because we all have a unique story that has shaped our lives.
The situations faced by those seeking assistance from homelessness range from family breakdowns, domestic violence, grief and loss of loved ones, mental illness such as depression, bi polar disorder and schizophrenia, poverty, unemployment, low education levels and addictions.
“Our client group have many and varied stories and come to Hutt Street Centre through their own personal journey,” Danielle added.
The essential services of the centre include meals (breakfast and lunch), shower and bathroom facilities, a laundry, safe storage area for belongings, mail collection, TV area, clothes shop, and a generally safe place for clients during the day.
Hutt Street Centre provides breakfast and lunch every day except Saturdays.
“Each year we serve about 55,000 meals to approximately 1700 people who are homeless and vulnerable,” Danielle said.
“We see between 30 – 35 new clients each month – these are people who are new to homelessness. Our social worker team case manage about 140 people at any one time.
Hutt Street Centre has 33 staff, many part time, and over 100 active volunteers.
A major milestone is on the way with cook Brenda McCulloch to serve her one millionth meal at Hutt Street Centre this month.
Beyond its daily assistance the centre also provides social work services to assist clients with counselling, housing, referral to medical and legal assistance, case management, boarding house and outreach support.
A range of visiting professionals provide a free legal and medical clinic, aboriginal support, mental health, drug and alcohol services, podiatry, geriatrician, commonwealth ombudsman, Centrelink SA, Housing SA, Kiikstart workskills program and a daily RDNS clinic.
Danielle said that offering such broad support for the homeless provided many challenges in meeting the demand.
“Funding is always a challenge especially as the numbers of people accessing our services remains fairly consistent.
“It is important for us to help people successfully exit their homelessness which often requires in home or outreach support.
“We are committed to helping people develop skills and confidence through our Education and Training Program in order to look forward to a positive future.
“Specifically for Hutt Street Centre, a lack of resources and space is a big challenge for us.”
There are many opportunities for businesses and the wider community to provide support to Hutt Street Centre.
For the third year, the centre will hold its Walk a mile in my boots eventin August which is designed to give people an idea of what it is like every day for people who are homeless.
“It reminds people that there are those who are sleeping out in the cold, without the comforts of home,” Danielle said.
“Each day people walk through the parklands and streets to Hutt Street Centre for a cup of tea to warm up, a hot shower and breakfast, often having to line up for those things we take for granted every day.
“It’s a very simple way for people to help. Teams or individuals from businesses, schools and community groups can enter, raise money and walk as a group on the day.”
Businesses can also provide assistance by participating in a variety of the events that are held by the centre throughout the year, from high teas to food and wine festivals.
More details are available at www.huttstcentre.org.au