REGIONAL homelessness services provider ac.care will extend its opening hours during extreme weather conditions this week to help anyone in the community access a cool space out of the heat.
The agency’s community centres in the Murraylands and Riverland will open late until 7pm from Tuesday to Friday to provide a relaxed environment with access to food and water during the heatwave.
This follows a Code Red being declared by the State Government this week, leading to a step-up in services to help protect vulnerable people from the impact of the hot weather, with ac.care deciding to go a step further and extend its opening hours to assist anyone in the community.
“We know clients of our services who may be sleeping rough need extra help in extreme weather conditions and want to ensure people have a space where they feel welcome, safe and can escape the heat,” ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said.
“Many people already visit our community centres to access our regional homelessness services and we want to make the assistance we can provide more accessible for anyone who needs help during these testing conditions.”
The agency will review the impact of the extended opening hours this week and consider continuing to extend operating hours during heatwaves and cold weather in future if expected demand is demonstrated.
“Our new Murraylands site on the main street of Murray Bridge opened this month and the main street location has increased exposure and accessibility of our services,” Mr Maddocks said.
“We hope extending the hours of this site and the Riverland office may help people endure the heat while we work with clients on longer-term strategies to ensure they have safe, comfortable and sustainable accommodation.”
Sites with extended hours this Tuesday through to Friday are the ac.care Murraylands Centre at 29 Bridge Street and Riverland site at 5 Kealley Street in Berri.
Extra services will also be provided to clients in the Limestone Coast during the Code Red.
ac.care can be contacted on 8531 4900 in Murray Bridge, 8580 5300 in Berri and 7725 3000 in Mount Gambier.
To access other services provided by the State Government, including extra assistance while the Code Red is declared, call the 24/7 Homelessness Gateway on 1800 003 308.