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The Early Morning Centre - UnitingCare Canberra City
Addressing issues of homelessness

In this update:

End of Financial Year Appeal

Dear Friend

As I am sure you know, the end of the financial year is fast approaching. Donations to the Early Morning Centre are always welcome, especially this year as due to the Coronavirus pandemic we have had to cancel several planned fundraising events. All donations are fully tax deductible.

How to donate


Click here to make a secure online donation via the Hands Across Canberra Giving Hub.


Cheques made out to "UnitingCare Canberra City" may be sent to GPO Box 1526, Canberra City ACT 2601.

Bank transfer

Account name UnitingCare Canberra City
BSB 634 634
Account number 100 040 612
Reference Please include your surname as the reference.
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Coronavirus and the EMC

Coronavirus and the EMC
The changes to EMC services due to COVID-19 are continuing. Starting from Monday, 23 March all breakfasts have been served as take-aways.

The Community Hub has been open from 9am to 2pm to provide coffee and tea from the door and there has been limited access for one person at a time to use essential services such as the shower and lockers. Guests are able to use the cordless phone in a designated area of the dining room.

This area is also being used to conduct interviews and assessments for housing assistance with Street to Home and CatholicCare. The Primary Health Care Clinic has continued to operate and has provided much needed flu vaccinations.
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Some good news stories…

Good news stories
Despite the challenges of working during this time of social distancing and lockdown, staff at the EMC have continued to assist guests, and recently eight of our long-term rough sleepers have found permanent accommodation.

Their pleasure in having a home at last has been shared by the staff. As well as helping with their applications, staff have been able to assist with donations of household goods to make their new homes more comfortable.

One guest commented that he felt as though he had won the lotto as he prepared to sleep in his own place that night for the first time.

Not all of the guests referred to the CatholicCare Axial Housing program have been eligible however these guests have then been referred to other housing programs for assistance in finding accommodation.
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COVID-19 Rough Sleepers Working Group

COVID-19 Rough Sleepers Working Group
The EMC Director has been participating in the COVID-19 Rough Sleepers Working Group which commenced in March and includes members from the Community Services Directorate's Housing and Homelessness sections and a number of homelessness and community agencies.

These meetings have progressed housing options for rough sleepers through the CatholicCare Axial program. Additional housing options have been made available through increased funding specifically for housing and homelessness.

Winter Lodge is one outcome from these meetings. It will provide short stay crisis accommodation for men to replace the services previously provided by the volunteers of Safe Shelter. Another outcome is hotel accommodation being made available for any rough sleepers who have to isolate due to a positive test or potential exposure.

This working group will continue to address any new or emerging issues as a result of COVID-19.
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Footy Season BBQ

Start of footy season BBQ at the EMC
Our last EMC event before Canberra moved into lockdown was the annual Start of the Footy Season BBQ on March 11 with brekkie volunteer and Canberra Raiders player, Sia Soliola, and his Raiders teammates, Michael Oldfield and Luke Bateman.

Our guests had a great time. One of the biggest disappointments of the pandemic has been the loss of the footy season which is keenly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed by many of our guests every year.

Special thanks also to Alicia Payne MP, Federal Member for Canberra, for donating our new BBQ and for coming along to help cook the sausages.
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Thank you

Donation of beanies and scarves from the knitters of the Tuggeranong Uniting Church
The EMC has been fortunate to receive regular donations of hand knitted beanies and scarves from a group of knitters associated with the Tuggeranong Uniting Church. TUC has also supplied warm coats and jumpers from its pre-loved clothing store, Red Dove. As well, donations of household goods from Marymead and other supporters have helped our newly housed guests.

We also want to acknowledge the outstanding work of our Director, Nicole Wiggins, and her staff who have shown great strength and dedication to the EMC and its guests, especially during the very uncertain early days of the lockdown when nearly all other Canberrans stayed home. Nicole and her staff, with the help of volunteers, have kept providing food and assistance to our guests even when other services were closed. We can't thank them enough. They are our heroes.
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April snapshot

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