Heatwaves and homelessness; where to go for help

Heatwaves and #homelessness in Victoria; where to go for help Click To Tweet

Heatwaves can be an unpleasant time for many of us. But for those experiencing homelessness, heatwaves are not only deeply unpleasant, they have the capacity to be deadly.


Local governments across Victoria often put measures in place to support those experiencing homelessness during extreme weather events. These supports may come with eligibility restrictions so make sure to make contact with your local government beforehand.


As we become aware of more responses to extreme weather from other local governments, we will continue to update this blog.



The City of Melbourne Cool Places Afterhours program


The City of Melbourne Cool Places Afterhours program

Salvation Army, 69 Bourke Street Melbourne



Long Spell/Extreme – 24 hour plus period > 30˚C

The Cool Places Afterhours program is an initiative of the City Of Melbourne and is delivered in partnership with the Salvation Army 614.


This program aims minimise heat related illness through the provision of an accessible after hour’s cooling centre.


The program offers a safe, welcoming cool environment, equipped with appropriate supports and resources and staffed by experienced/qualified staff and volunteers.



Date active: 1 December 2016 to 31 March 2017

Overnight hours once activated: 10pm – 6am


The trigger for determining the provision of the Project is when the Victorian Department of Health issue a heat health alert. This is issued when a day or period where the average of the daily maximum temperature and the overnight minimum temperature of the following day is 30ºC or greater. The decision to activate a cooling place will depend on a number of circumstances including:



  • Duration of the heatwave/ extreme heat event
  • Severity of the heatwave/ extreme heat event
  • Disruption to essential services
  • Major disruption to public transport systems out of the municipality




Participating agencies below have access to limited health supports including our pool pass and movie program:


  • Cohealth – Central health Community health
  • Frontyard
  • Launch Housing
  • Lazarus centre
  • Vincent Care, Ozanam House
  • RDNS – Royal District Nursing Service
  • Salvation Army 614
  • WIRE – Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc
  • Youth Projects



Free swim and locker passes for use at any of the City of Melbourne’s four aquatic facilities between. 1 December and 31 March.


Melbourne City Baths



North Melbourne Recreation Centre



Carlton Baths



Kensington Community Recreation




North Melbourne Community Centre




Complimentary movie passes – The City of Melbourne has purchased complimentary movie passes for distribution during periods of prolonged extreme heat. These are provided to ensure people are able to access cool, safe, welcoming, inclusive environments after hours and on weekends.



Available City of Melbourne resources




Cool places in Stonnington

Take refuge from the heat in one of Stonnington’s many cool places.


Operating Hours

Phoenix Park Library

Rob Roy Road


8290 4000

Mon – Fri: 10am – 6pm

Sat 10am – 1pm
Sun Closed


Toorak South Yarra Library

340 Toorak Road


8290 8000

Mon – Thurs 10am – 8pm
Fri 10am – 6pm
Sat 10am – 5pm
Sun 2pm – 5pm

Prahran Library

180 Greville Street


8290 3344

Mon – Fri: 10am – 6pm
Sat 10am – 1pm
Sun Closed

Malvern Library

1257 High Street


8290 1366

Mon – Thurs 10am – 8.00pm

Fri 10am – 6pm
Sat 10am – 1pm
Sun 2 – 5pm

Harold Holt Memorial Swim Centre

Cnr High and Edgar Streets


8290 1678

Mon-Thurs 5.45am – 9pm

Fri 5.45am – 8pm

Sat 6am – 7pm

Sun 7am – 7pm

Prahran Aquatic Centre

Essex Street


8290 7140

Summer Season 1 October – 31 May

Mon-Fri 5.45am – 7.45pm

Sat 6am – 6.15pm

Sun 7am – 6.15pm.

Grattan Gardens Community Centre

40 Grattan Street


9510 5877

Mon to Fri 9am – 5pm (except public holidays)

Closed between Christmas and New Year

Phoenix Park Community Centre

22 Rob Roy Road


Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm

Sat 10am – 1pm

Chapel Off Chapel

12 Little Chapel Street


8290 7000

Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm

Sat – Sun 12pm – 5pm

(later during performances)

Closed public holidays

Chadstone Shopping Centre

1341 Dandenong Rd
9563 3355

Mon – Wed 9.00am -5.30pm

Thurs – Sat 9am – 9pm

Sun 10am – 7pm






Contact information

For 24-hour health advice call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24

For life-threatening emergencies call 000