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Geelong Drop-in Centre

With the rain, wind and cold temperatures setting in for the winter, the community drop-in room at SalvoConnect homelessness service in Geelong, Victoria, is at its busiest.

The Common Room is one of the only spots in Geelong wherepeople experiencing homelessness can find crisis support,meals, warmth, showers, a laundry, couches to sleep on, people to chat to and, importantly, an internet connection.

Albert (known as Alby, pictured right) has been a regular visitor of the room for 18 months. After the factory where he was employed relocated, his regular night shift was cut. Since then he’s been unable to find work. “Geelong is becoming an unemployed town. Manufacturing companies are shutting down so there’s lots of competition for every job,” he says.

Alby sleeps rough each night, but still counts himself as a ‘rich homeless person’.

Geelong Drop In

“I’ve at least got a car,” he says. “Each night I’ll try to find a quiet car park to sleep. But it takes its toll, especially during winter. It’s tough to get any shut eye at all. It’s cold and you never feel completely safe.”

Alby describes the drop-in centre as a sanctuary, where people experiencing homelessness can put their feet up and feel safe.

“We all rely on this place. You can escape the cold, watch a bitof telly, catch up on sleep, go on the internet, have tea and coffee and food. Without it we’d be lost.

“There’s nothing else quite like it and it’s a shorter window oftime we have to be outside, so that’s good.”

Alby makes use of the computers each day to search for jobs,send out résumés and do work for the security course he’s currently studying. “I’m hoping when I’ve finished studying I’ll be able to find work and maybe finally a place to live.”