Learn more about Dom’s Place – our new homelessness hub in Hornsby

February 24, 2022

Homeless people in Sydney’s north will have a new safe place to visit, enjoy social interaction and connect with support services, with the opening of Dom’s Place in Hornsby in April.

Dom’s Place is an initiative of CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay’s (CCDBB) Homelessness Services program.

The program provides crisis intervention and case management to men, women and families who are at risk or experiencing homelessness and domestic violence. The team currently provides support to approximately 1000 clients per year.

A 2008 report found there were 382 homeless households across the Hornsby Local Government Area, a figure likely exacerbated by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The growing need for social support and connection in Hornsby and the wider region of Northern Sydney has motivated us to embark on a new course of action,” says Rebecca, Program Lead for CCDBB’s Specialist Homelessness Service and Together Home Program.

“We are proud to announce our plans to open Dom’s Place. This new initiative shares its name and values with our friend Dom, a delightful young man who was involved with CatholicCare until his passing this year.

“Dom’s Place will operate as a ‘one-stop-shop,’ an inclusive space where people can feel safe and connected within the community.

“Someone might pop in to get a meal, wash their clothes and chat with a social worker to address housing needs. A vulnerable young person could come and play a game of pool with their friends. Another might access cooking classes and connect with volunteer and employment pathways.”

Rebecca says the idea for Dom’s Place came in response to the needs of the people CCDBB was serving in its homelessness services.

“We have seen that some of our clients are quite socially isolated,” she says. “They’re lonely and lacking connection which can be a trigger for substance use and mental health . They are lacking community, family and a reason to get up in the morning

“Dom’s Place will help them feel a part of something, to connect with others in a safe space where they can just drop in for a cup of tea or engage further with some of our services.”

While many people who are homeless find itinerant shelter by couch-surfing with friends or shelters, others find themselves sleeping rough on the streets.

“There are actually quite a lot of rough sleepers in the Hornsby area,” Rebecca says.

“At the moment whilst there are support services in the area for rough sleepers there is not a one stop shop for people to ensure they get their needs met.

“At Dom’s Place they’ll be able to come in for a shower, have something to eat and sit down with a case worker to help address their longer-term needs.”

Dom’s Place will offer a range of activities, including movie nights and cooking nights.

“But it will be more than a drop-in centre because we will also offer drug and alcohol counselling, case management, a mental health nurse, legal help, and other forms of counselling.”

Rebecca says CCDBB staff will also reach out to those sleeping rough in the local community to try and connect them with Dom’s Place.

“Our staff do outreach every week, going out to look for rough sleepers, to talk with them and try to connect them with the support they need,” she says.

She says while Dom’s Place might be aimed at those experiencing homelessness, it is open to anyone in the community who is looking for a place of social connection.

“It could be someone who’s having a bad day or who could be suffering with suicidal ideation. If they drop into Dom’s Place, we can help work out a plan for them and link them with the appropriate supports.”

Helping to promote the fundraising effort is 55-year-old Melissa, who has experienced homelessness several times in her life.

Melissa says that since being “found” by CCDBB after a period of living in her car and then on the streets, she has now moved into housing.

She says Dom’s Place will help people who live on the streets, or people who “are just lonely in their house if they don’t have family and friends” by connecting them with support services, providing “a place to make a cup of coffee and chat with others, to gain friends and have a sense of belonging”.

“These people who would be coming to this place … are people who are really vulnerable in the community, some of the most loving and beautiful people, and if you take the time to hear their story, you’ll find out they’re no different to the rich people or the poor people that are living in the community already,” she says.

“They’re just people who need something to help them belong and deal with their trauma and try to forget the shame and humiliation that their past trauma has caused them to have, and to allow them to have a new life and some kind of future away from the fear of people hurting them.”

Rebecca says they’re looking forward to opening the doors of Dom’s Place in April.

“It’s an exciting new direction for us and is really focused on filling some of the day-to-day gaps in services for people in the local area experiencing homelessness.”

For more information call 1800 324 924. If you are interested in volunteering please also let us know.


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