Winter Shelter is a Maroondah churches and community response to local homelessness.

It is the mission of Winter Shelter to provide shelter, food and honour for people who need shelter, comfort and support.

We work together with local Christian churches to provide the best support to those without shelter in Maroondah.


22,700 People live in homelessness in Victoria

1,350 People live on the streets

6,129 People live in overcrowded dwellings


Maroondah Winter Shelter Policies 14 May 2018

Guest Admissions

Maroondah Winter Shelter exists to provide a supportive, safe environment where guests can receive food, accommodation and care. All guests will be referred to the Maroondah Winter Shelter through the Wesley Mission Victoria office in Ringwood. Guest will be males of 24 years of age or older who are experiencing homelessness and are from, or who have a strong connection to the Maroondah area. Children will not be accepted at the shelter. For the safety of all guests and volunteers, Maroondah Winter Shelters are ‘dry’, with the use of drugs or alcohol being prohibited on the premises. People who are unable to comply will not be eligible as guests. Likewise, people with severe mental illness or who have particularly aggressive behaviour will be ineligible.

It is important that all volunteers accept the assessment of eligible guests that is made by Wesley Mission. While there may be people who volunteers encounter who they may think would qualify as eligible guests, they may not be accepted as guests because of information that Wesley Mission workers are aware of that because of privacy concerns they may not be able to freely share with others.

There also needs to be awareness that Wesley Mission will not have previous knowledge of every guest that is being referred to the Maroondah Winter Shelters. Wesley staff will have as far as they are able made an assessment of the guest in regard to their needs and any risk to themselves and others.  The situation of a person may also change within a short time, for example the person may have presented at Wesley and been assessed as eligible to stay in the Shelters but may present at the shelter in the evening in an intoxicated state which would make them ineligible to stay in the Shelter.

Procedures for assessment and referral:

  1.      Potential guests attend Wesley Mission at 291A Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood between 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday. New referrals to the Maroondah Winter Shelters will not be received over the weekends.  No guest will be accepted for accommodation who has not undergone an assessment process by Wesley Mission.
  2. Potential guests will be interview and assessed by the staff of Wesley Mission. If the assessment indicates that the Maroondah Winter Shelters would be an appropriate option the Wesley staff will complete a referral form which is forwarded to the Maroondah Winter Shelters coordinator.
  3. Guests are informed of the purpose, scope and contents of services offered by Maroondah Winter Shelters. The rules of the Winter Shelter are explained and the Guest Agreement document is signed.
  4. Guests are informed when and how they are to proceed to the Maroondah Winter Shelters.

Procedures for all guests on admission to shelter:

  1.  All guests will be greeted by the Venue Coordinator and will sign in on entrance to the Shelter.
  2.  The identity of new guests may be confirmed by checking their identification.
  3.   New guests will be give an information pack containing a copy of the Privacy policy, complaints procedure, feedback form and copy of Guest Agreement and rules. The Venue Coordinator will explain the Maroondah Winter Shelter rules and policies
  4.   Orientation – to building (toilets, emergency exits and procedures, etc), to timetable, introduce volunteer staff

Procedures for existing guests:

Guests who have stayed at a shelter may book in for the next night at breakfast.

Procedures for guests who need to re-register:

A guest will be required to re-register after they have been absent from the shelter for more than 5 nights. They will also be required to re-register if there has been a significant incident of infringement of the policies and rules of the Maroondah Winter Shelters.

If a guest is required to re-register they will need to present at Wesley Mission and undertake a new assessment.

Substance Use

While drugs and alcohol are not allowed on the premises, we do house many guests who are actively using these substances. We offer a non-judgmental approach that attempts to meet guests ‘where they are at’. Volunteers should recognise that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social factors affect guests’ vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with substance use.

  1.       Guests who are obviously substance affected or intoxicated on arrival at the Shelter will not be admitted.
  2.       Guests must not use or be in possession of controlled drugs, substances or associated equipment whilst on the property.
  3.       Guests must not consume or be in possession of alcoholic drinks whilst on the shelter property.
  4.       Smoking of tobacco will only be permitted in the designated areas at each shelter.


  1.       Guests arriving at the Shelter obviously substance affected or intoxicated will be turned away by the Venue Coordinator. They will be given written notification of the reason for non-admittance and information on how to re-register. This must be recorded in the log book. They may be given water and/or food to take away.
  2.       If a guest presents in a state of severe intoxication they will not be permitted to enter and emergency services should be notified. The shelter will not take responsibility for the care of individuals in this condition as it will not have the necessary expertise to do so.

If a guest violates this policy, they will be requested to leave and will be given an exit pack if available. This decision should be made in consultation with the shift leader. They will receive a 24 hour ban from attending a shelter and will need to re-register. This must be recorded in the log book.

Dealing with Inappropriate Behaviour

Stable One aims to create a safe and comfortable environment for guests to get food and rest during the winter months, whilst at the same time promoting community. Guests are encouraged to contribute as they are able, adding value to the shelter. Staff on shift will try to find a balance between ensuring the safety of the shelter (staff and guests) and finding ways to assist the guest in maintaining appropriate behaviour, so that he can remain a guest.

Inappropriate behaviour includes:

  •       Loud or disruptive
  •       Bullying
  •       Rude or verbally abusive
  •       Intimidating and threatening
  •       Harassment (sexual or otherwise)
  •       Sexual intercourse or other sexual activity
  •       Aggressive and violent



If a guest has instances of inappropriate behaviour that jeopardize the safe and communal atmosphere of the shelter, a guest may be given warnings, requested to exit the shelter and/or barred for a period of time.

  1.       Warnings will be given to people who are: exhibiting loud or disruptive behaviour, bullying, repeatedly rude or verbally abusive, intimidating, engaging in sexual activity, threatening or sexually harassing another guest or member of staff. This decision should be made in consultation with the shift supervisor. This must be recorded in the log book and a copy of the warning given to the guest with a copy on their file.
  2.       If after a warning, the same inappropriate behaviour is repeated that night, they will be asked to leave the shelter, offered an exit pack if available and required to re-register. This decision will be made in consultation with the shift supervisor. This will be recorded in the log book.
  3.       Aggressive or violent behaviour such as hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing, throwing objects, unwanted physical contact will result in the guest being asked to leave. This decision will be made in consultation with the shift supervisor.  An exit pack will be offered if available. A two-day ban will be enforced and the guest will be required to re-register. This must be recorded in the log book. A copy will be given to the guest and put on their file.
  4.       If a situation escalates the police will be called. All incidents must be recorded in the log book.

Offensive weapons will not be allowed in the shelter. Examples are: guns, knives and blades, bats, clubs etc.


  1.       Guests will not be permitted to bring any offensive weapon onto the shelter property.
  2.       Guests found to be in possession of offensive weapons will be given the choice to leave or surrender the item to staff. The item will not be returned. This will be recorded in the Log Book.
  3.       Guests found to be using offensive weapons will be requested to leave and emergency services will be notified. This decision should be made in consultation with the shift supervisor. An incident report will be completed and a record made in the Log Book.

The Shelter takes no responsibility for a guest’s prescription medication and its administration



  1.       It is expected that guests will store and manage their own medication in accordance with the prescribing doctor’s instructions.
  2.       Guests are not permitted to give their prescription medication to another guest. If this happens, a warning will be given to both guests. This decision will be taken in consultation with the shift supervisor. An incident report will be completed and record made in the Log Book. Copies of warnings will be given to the guests and a copy put in their file.
Guest Vehicles

It is acknowledged that some guests will have their own vehicles and will need to park them at the shelter venue. The shelter takes no responsibility for the security of the vehicle or its contents whilst parked overnight on the property.


  1.      Details of car registration must be provided as part of the registration process.
  2.      Security of the car is the responsibility of the guest.
  3.      Guests are not permitted to sleep in their cars on the property.
  4.      Once admitted to the shelter, guests should only go outside to smoke. It is desirable that they not constantly access their vehicle.

Volunteers may be recruited from churches or the local community. They are not required to have a personal Christian faith, but should be willing to work within this ethos. Volunteers will have a desire to work in this project to serve, journey with and support people who are experiencing homelessness. A range of skills and abilities amongst volunteers will add value to the Winter Shelter project e.g. listening, cooking, first aid etc.  Volunteers will offer a non-judgmental approach that attempts to meet guests ‘where they are at’. Volunteers should recognise that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social factors affect our guests.


Volunteers will be recruited through church visits, newsletters, social media and word of mouth.

Volunteers will complete an online registration form and agree to integrity checks being carried out – Working with Children Check and personal reference check.

On notification of a successful application, volunteers will be required to attend a compulsory training session.

Volunteers will sign the Volunteer Agreement Form.

Training for volunteers will cover:

  • Overview of homelessness
  • Overview of policies and procedures with specific focus on dealing with inappropriate  
  • Behaviour, substance use and health and safety
  • Listening and conversation skills

Volunteers will be provided with a Volunteer Handbook. This will provide information covered in training, along with additional information on volunteer roles, expectations and responsibilities.

Volunteers will be rostered onto shifts as follows: 5.30-10pm (min 3 volunteers + cooks), 10pm-7am (3 volunteers, with two being awake at any time), 7am-9.30 am (min 2 volunteers). Maximum number of guests will be 10, but likely to be less initially.

Health and Safety

Our policy is to provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, safe and healthy working conditions, equipment and systems of work, for both volunteers taking part in and guests accessing the Winter Shelters.

We undertake to:

  •       Provide a working environment that is healthy and safe with satisfactory amenity facilities.


  •       Ensure that health and safety legislation regulations and codes of practice are observed.


  •       Provide and maintain safe premises and equipment, including appropriate protective clothing.


  •       Ensure that the use, handling, storage and transportation of food, articles and substances are safe.


  •       Ensure that the systems of work are safe and to provide or locate appropriate training and advice for volunteers in these matters.


  •       Promote effective communication between venue co-ordinators, volunteers and guests on matters of safety in each venue.


  •       Ensure that all volunteers and guests using the premises are safe and without risk to their health.


  •       Review and revise this policy annually or as new legislation requires.



In order to promote safety, volunteers should observe the following:

  1.     Check the identity of each guest on arrival. They should be listed as a guest for that night. There will be an appropriate form of identification listed on the referral form received from Wesley Mission. This should be checked with the guest.


  1.     Never give out home phone number or address to any guest. Never invite a guest to your home.


  1.     Do not give or lend money to guests. (The Venue Co-ordinator can be alerted to particular needs.)


  1.     Never be alone with a guest.


  1.     Valuables should be left at home or stored securely at the venue.


  1.     When dealing with lost property, never put your hand into a bag or pocket. Tip contents onto a flat surface. This will help prevent any potential injury.


  1.     Do not touch guests to wake them up.


  1.    Act safely and do not put yourself, other volunteers or guests in danger. If you feel intimidated at any time during the shift, inform your Shift Leader.



Volunteers must be familiar with the building. They must:

  1.    Know where the fire exits and fire extinguishers are.


  1.    Know where the First Aid box, telephone and list of emergency numbers are.


  1.    Ensure fire exits are unlocked and not blocked.


  1.    Know the evacuation procedures in the event of a fire.


  1.    Make sure any areas guests are not allowed are secure.


  1.    Guests will not be permitted in the kitchen until after the evening meal has been prepared and served.


  1.    Kitchen knives should be stored in an area which is out of sight and not easily accessible.


  1.    Inform guests where they can and cannot go.

Volunteer Roles

Shift Worker


  • Record your details in the Log Book on arrival and put on name badge (first name only);
  • Assist in set up and tear down of venue.
  • Assist in cleaning the venue before and after guests have attended.
  • Assist in preparation of meal and drinks.
  • Engaging with, supporting and helping guests feel welcome. Familiarise new guests with venue facilities.
  • Learn names of guests.
  • Take responsibility of health, safety and welfare of self and others.
  • Be aware of and assist in evacuation procedures if required.
  • Assist in conflict resolution if necessary.
  • Follow the instruction of the Shift Leader and report to them any incidents as soon as possible.
  • Back up decisions made by the Shift Leader and do not contradict them in front of other volunteers or guests.
Shift Leader

Each shift will have an appointed Shift Leader. This may be the Venue Coordinator or another volunteer.


  • Allocating jobs to volunteers.
  • Making key decisions when other volunteers are unsure of the best course of action.
  • Supporting volunteers where necessary in responding to guests.
  • Arrange handover between shift leaders.
  • Liaising with Venue Coordinator and/or Project Coordinator if necessary.
  • Be vigilant about maintaining the logbook. All volunteers must be signed in and any incidents recorded.
Venue Coordinator

Venue Coordinators are responsible for managing the human and physical resources of the Shelter.


  • Attend meetings with Project Coordinator and other Venue Coordinators.
  • Team leader of a shift on the night at their church.
  • Ensure safe and smooth running of Shelter at their venue.
  • Ensure there are enough volunteers for each shift in liaison with Volunteer Coordinator.
  • Prepare the venue.
  • Ensure provisions are available and sufficient to prepare meals and clean venue before and after use.
  • Leading and briefing team, allocating jobs and giving vision to volunteers.
  • Receive the guest list and book guests into the Shelter venue.
  • Be vigilant about maintaining and keeping secure the logbook and ensure it is passed on to the next venue.
  • Remain contactable throughout the time that the venue is being used.
  • Collecting and providing monitoring information to the Project Coordinator.


Cook/Kitchen Help

The evening meal will be served at 7:00 PM. Numbers will be between 10 and 16 (including volunteers) and will be confirmed to the Venue Coordinator each afternoon.


  • Either purchase or use food provided to cook a healthy meal.
  • Follow the Food Hygiene Policy and procedures.
  • Arrive at venue from 5:30 PM. Contact the Venue Coordinator if you need to negotiate early access. Serve meal at 7:00 PM.
  • Guests and volunteers are responsible for cleaning up.
  • Once the kitchen is cleaned, you have the option of leaving the Shelter or staying on to be with the guests (the Venue Coordinator will assess if this is appropriate regarding the guest/volunteer ratio).



Drivers are needed in two roles:

  1. To pick up guests in the minibus from the designated location and drive them to the Shelter venue at 6PM. Volunteers must be 25+ years and able to drive a manual transmission.
  2. To move the trailer from one venue to another during the daytime (after 9AM and before 5PM) of a shift on the night at their church. Drivers moving the trailer will need to have a tow bar and be willing to use their own vehicle.