MORE than 40 people made use of the Uniting Safe Shelter this year, with one staying there for 65 nights.
There were an average of three guests a night over the five months it operated, down on last year's numbers.
It's not often that organisations celebrate having fewer clients, but for volunteers who are trying to reduce the number of homeless people in Bathurst, it's a positive result.
"A more developed relationship with Wattle Tree House has meant that many of our guests were able to access more permanent housing solutions much more quickly," USS coordinator Julie Greig said.
"We have been delighted by the positive stories we've heard."
The feedback the shelter has received from guests demonstrates the huge impact the service has had on their lives this year.
"The team, volunteers and the shelter have helped me out in a tough two weeks that I can't be more thankful for. A complete blessing," one guest has said.
Another said the service was "pivotal for me in solving my housing crisis" and they were thankful to have access to a shower.
USS was trialled in winter, 2018 and, due to its success, was re-opened in mid-2019 with an earlier start date and later conclusion.
Guests accessed the service for a variety of reasons. Some of them had just been released from jail or mental health facilities and needed somewhere safe for a few nights, while others were people who had fallen on hard times or been homeless long-term.
Ms Greig said that there were only a couple of occasions where guests had to be asked to leave, and most of them were very grateful and respectful of the shelter.
"Overall, our guests had a sense of ownership of the place and were willing to help out with chores," she said.
"And what we found also was sometimes when the guests got paid they would buy fresh fruit and bring it in or buy another treat to share with everybody. They were quite willing to give back."
What has helped make USS such a successful community service is the volunteers.
In 2019, there were 66 paramedic students from Charles Sturt University, along with 21 community volunteers, who did overnight shifts at the shelter.
Fifteen different businesses, eight churches, five schools and 50 individual volunteers further contributed to the shelter in some way, and there were multiple donations from the community.
Plans are still being worked out for 2020, but it appears that USS will return.
"We are hoping to open again next year, again from mid-May to mid-October," Ms Greig said.