Breaking the cycle of homelessness: Transition to a better future

Samaritan House in Geelong started as a seed of an idea in 2009 when 6 concerned citizens realised there was no accommodation in this region for homeless men. Initial discussions about the problem began around 2010 after the unavoidable closure of a Salvation Army hostel, reducing the crisis accommodation in a city of 220,000 people to just five beds. After lengthy discussions Samaritan House Geelong established funding, policy and procedures and a volunteer base opening the first home in 2012. The second home opened in 2015 largely due to the generosity of the Bisinella family.

Samaritan House is entirely community-driven and receives no government or local council funding support. It is run by a voluntary Board and, since November 2017, works with SalvoConnect Barwon in providing this service. It relies on the various support of volunteers, Geelong business people who provide pro bono support and students from schools such as St Joseph’s College, Sacred Heart College and The Geelong College who help with fundraising, in-kind donations and volunteering.

Samaritan House Geelong exists to help men experiencing homelessness in the Greater Geelong Region by providing welcoming accommodation, an evening meal and ongoing support. Samaritan House implements a comprehensive model of support to men who are homeless, transient and often present with conditions such as mental health, problematic substance use, offending behaviour and chronic isolation.

In the time the houses have been operational, 440 men have been accommodated. Deputy Board Chair Andrew Balaam said the Geelong Community Foundation has greatly assisted with funding professional, qualified staff from SalvoConnect who provide a state of the art model of homeless services.

Approximately 80% of the men going through the homes, find permanent accommodation and most say that Samaritan House has given them warmth, comfort, security and hope. Samaritan House aims to continue to provide outstanding homeless services to men in this region and will look to expand services as required.

Any person looking to help is encouraged to speak with the Manager at Samaritan House Tim Wilson.

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