Day centre to help Territorians who sleep rough

The NT Government is supporting rough sleepers with the establishment of the Better Pathways Centre (BPC), a day centre that will provide support for vulnerable Territorians in the Darwin city area.

The centre will offer amenities such as laundry, toilet and shower facilities as well as meal services. It will also support recreational activities, in-reach services from multiple organisations and case management and referral services.

Operating on weekdays during business hours, the BPC will be an alcohol restricted area and is part of the NT Government’s five point plan to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The BPC also directly contributes to the NT Government’s strategic objective of ‘Increasing community safety and cohesion’ and an action from the NT Government’s Homelessness Strategy to ‘develop and implement a service response to support people sleeping rough’.

Where will the centre be located?

Pending Development Consent Authority approval, the BPC will be located at the old Darwin Primary School site, 56 Woods Street, Darwin.

Why is the NT Government setting up a Better Pathways Centre in Darwin?

The Northern Territory Government (NTG) recognises the need to provide essential services to support vulnerable rough sleepers, including families with children.

Who will manage the BPC?

A Request for Proposal process will select a provider to run the BPC. The provider will have extensive experience in working with homeless people, especially vulnerable Aboriginal people who are homeless in Darwin.

What are the opening hours for the BPC?

The BPC will be open during regular business hours from Monday to Friday.

When will it start operating?

The BPC is expected to open in early 2020, following the completion of internal works and approval from the Development Consent Authority.

Will clients be allowed to sleep in BPC overnight?

No, the BPC is a DAY Centre only. The NTG has secured dedicated overnight beds for homeless people through Aboriginal Hostels Ltd and alternative accommodation services can be sought through the BPC. No one will live or stay overnight at the BPC.

Will people be allowed to camp or drink in the BPC grounds overnight?

No, the grounds will form part of an alcohol restricted area and anyone found camping on the site will be assisted by Larrakia Night Patrol to alternative accommodation.

Will staff be there all the time during opening hours?

Yes, the BPC will have dedicated staff in roles such as reception, cleaning, and grounds maintenance. The staff will also be assisting clients and ensuring client, staff, visitor and neighbourhood safety.

In addition, visiting services will operate from the BPC, such as legal, primary health, housing and homelessness services and Centrelink.

Will the BPC be an alcohol restricted area?

Yes. This will be central to the service model. An alcohol restricted area will create a safe environment and promote better health.

How will the alcohol restricted area be enforced?

The BPC staff will promote and reinforce the BPC as an alcohol restricted area. The BPC will establish a code of conduct for attendees, or a social code of behaviour.

The BPC staff will work in partnership with NT Police, Larrakia Day Patrol and Darwin City Council rangers to support the alcohol restricted area when required.

What if intoxicated or drug affected people hang around outside the BPC?

The aim of the BPC is to create a safe space for everyone, including the local community. Loitering outside the BPC will not be tolerated. People will be asked to voluntarily move on, if they are loitering. If necessary NT Police, Larrakia Day Patrol and Darwin City Council rangers will be asked to assist and take people to the Sobering Up Shelter

Is any construction work required?

No major construction work is proposed. It is the intention to retain the original exterior features of the building and only minimally alter the interior to create a safe, functional and fit for purpose space.

The BPC will be located at the old Darwin Primary School site.
The BPC will be located at the old Darwin Primary School site.