The Sunny Street centre, aimed at providing much needed medical and health support to those who are living rough, will include four Community Connection Pods. The first of which is being funded by Unitywater’s community partnerships program.

Unitywater Executive Manager for Customer and Community Katherine Gee said the funding will help provide a safe, confidential space for vulnerable community members to be heard and cared for at the centre.

“We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with Sunny Street through the community connection pod funding and support their expertise, energy and passion in taking care of our community,” Ms Gee said.

“We live and work in the community and want to help our community thrive.  Our partnership extends beyond funding - Sunny Street’s goals are our goals, and we support them how we can, including through our Unitywater volunteer program where our team members help others in the community.

“Sunny Street’s amazing work aligns with the causes that are important to Unitywater customers, including homelessness, youth, the prevention of family and domestic violence and mental health.”

Offering priority care and support, this centre, located in Baden Powell Street, will not only provide much needed medical support such as chronic disease management, wound care, mental health plans, vaccinations, and other GP services to vulnerable patients, but will also be a safe place where conversations can be had.

Co-Founder and Director of Nursing, Sonia Martin said, “In addition to providing all the usual kinds of health services you would expect at a health clinic, our teams are also trained to connect with our patients, offering kindness and hope when, for many of our patients, there is a lot of sadness and despair.

“This clinic is aimed at improving access to health care for vulnerable people who often have very few choices available to them and we plan to replicate this model all over Australia.”

Patients attending the clinics will receive more than just health care, with the team set up to provide meals, warm clothes and other basics that may not otherwise be available to people who are experiencing homelessness.

Another way Co-Founders, Nurse Sonia Martin and Dr Nova Evans are changing how homeless people experience healthcare is in the actual design and fit out of the clinic.

Local indigenous artist Shauna Hill was commissioned to create a bright, welcoming mural on the entrance to the clinic, and instead of an intimidating reception room, people will be greeted in a space that is designed to put them at ease immediately.

From a start up to now employing 35 staff and a volunteer workforce of over 150, Sunny Street are on to their next chapter with the first of their Sunny Street centres taking patients.