WHETHER it's for a short-term stay or regular visits, the overnight guests see the Uniting Safe Shelter (USS) as a beacon of light in the darkest days of their lives.
The shelter has operated in Bathurst over the last two winters and in that time has been a common piece in many stories, some heartbreaking, some uplifting, but all of them important.
If you read the report about the service last year, you'll come across the story of a man who said he may have taken his own life had it not been for the people at USS.
In his feedback about the service, the man said he probably would have been back in jail "or done something stupid by now" if he hadn't found and stayed at the shelter.
"Or at the end of a noose - I had gone to the library to look up noose knots and had some rope," he said.
The man later found rental accommodation, a good sign that his life was getting back on track.
This year, the shelter has continued to provide support to guests in a variety of ways.
Coordinator Julie Greig said this included helping a former inmate get home.
"There was one young man who came out of prison and he has a brain injury and brain capacity of a 12-year-old," she explained.
"He came to stay with us and said he had to get home to Wilcannia, and the next day we were able to get him back to his family."
In another situation, they provided a bed and meal for a night to a man who had just been released from rehab.
It provided him with some security until the next day, when he was able to get on the bus to go to Goulburn.
While there are often guests who just need a place to stay for one or two nights, there are some people who come back more regularly.
These people tend to stay until they can get into social or transitional housing, which is where the shelter's partnership with Wattle Tree House proves invaluable.
There are also people with mental health issues who stay at the shelter more sporadically.
"We're always pleased to see them back safely," Ms Greig said.
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One of the positive outcomes USS has seen this year is that the number of guests staying has started to reduce.
"What it means is people are transitioning into housing and that is a great result," Ms Greig said.
Just as rewarding as seeing people find permanent accommodation is when the guests express their gratitude for what USS has done for them.
They not only get a safe place to sleep, access to a bathroom, a home-cooked dinner and breakfast the next day, but they get access to important services that can help them get their lives back on track.
They also get to connect with a group of volunteers who treat them with respect and dignity.
"We think about the cold with homelessness, but we don't often think about how unsafe they are, how they can't sleep properly because they don't feel safe," Ms Greig said.
"We don't think about how hard it can be to go a whole day without someone smiling at you because you are homeless and bit smelly because you haven't showered. We don't think about how that affects them.
"They come regularly and start to get good sleep and get good nutrition, and then the basic needs are covered and they can start to think about getting themselves sorted."
Ms Greig thanked all the agencies, groups and volunteers who have helped make that possible.
USS is always looking for more volunteers who are in a position to help with the running of the service.
At the moment, more overnight volunteers are needed to stay with the guests during the next university holidays, as a lot of the students who fill those roles will be away.
A training night will be held at 7pm on July 29, with more details to come.
Generally, the training will cover issues related to homelessness that will equip the volunteers with the skills they need for the job.
Volunteers are also needed to help cook meals for the guests, which are made in advance and then frozen.
The next cooking day will be on August 8.
Anyone who would like more information about the training night or the cooking day is asked to get into touch with USS by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.