Home > Features > Toowoomba’s Winter Shelter 2023: A Beacon of Warmth and Community for the Homeless

Toowoomba’s Winter Shelter 2023: A Beacon of Warmth and Community for the Homeless

On Wednesday, July 12th, the Moderator, Rev Andrew Gunton, and Executive Officer Corporate, Kellie Broderick, were invited by Rev Dylan Miegel, Minister at St. Stephen’s Uniting Church, to attend the Winter Shelter Toowoomba 2023.

Winter Shelter, organized by Lifeline Toowoomba, is a program where partner churches, including St. Stephen’s, host individuals who would otherwise be homeless during the cold winter in Toowoomba. For more information about Winter Shelter, visit Lifeline’s website at https://www.lifelinedarlingdowns.org.au/Appeal/winter-shelter-toowoomba-2023. 

St. Stephen’s provides food and beds every Wednesday night in the hall behind the church. Guests are offered a meal and conversation from 6:00 PM until 8:30 AM the following day.

Peter Rubie, the coordinator, met with the Moderator to discuss the program, as mentioned in this Facebook post. The night was also supported by dedicated volunteers from the St. Stephen’s congregation. 

Every night, over 20,000 Queenslanders and 116,000 Australians are homeless. In Toowoomba, many people facing homelessness lack shelter, warm food, and support during the cold winter. Winter Shelter Toowoomba is associated with Stable One, a successful program that has been helping homeless individuals in Victoria for over six years.

Winter Shelter Toowoomba brings together local church communities and provides them with facilities to assist those in need. It offers beds, free meals, a compassionate community, and support services. Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Qld Ltd support Winter Shelter Toowoomba, which collaborates with seven local church groups from June to August. This initiative supports up to ten people per night for ninety-two nights.

“Together, we can offer those in need warmth, shelter, and food. Winter Shelter Toowoomba goes beyond providing a place to stay; it aims to restore hope, dignity, and a sense of community to those experiencing homelessness,” a spokesperson said. 

This service is particularly crucial now, as rental vacancy rates are at an all-time low, the cost of living is rising, and an unprecedented housing crisis. As we face the cold winter in Toowoomba, individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness need this safety net.

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