Homeless services are continuing in Orange to help the city's most vulnerable residents stay healthy and safe during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mission Australia aged care general manager Stephen Brooker said the Benjamin Short Grove aged care facility, which provides a home for many older people who have been homeless, was among the first facilities to go into lockdown in Orange.
Mr Brooker, who has a background working with communicable diseases said he had been watching the developments with the coronavirus since it started in China late last year.
"I didn't expect it to get to this point," Mr Brooker said.
However, he said he increased staff training on infection control with a focus on COVID-19 and also started training residents to maximise hygiene and cleanliness within the facility.
"We started instigating measures like hand washing and hygiene. We are not doing it in isolation, they can see it on the media," Mr Brooker said.
He said the facility also restricted access, staff conduct daily temperature checks of residents and it was one of the first facilities in Orange to go into lockdown three weeks ago. Larger group activities had also been reduced to smaller groups.
He said the 60 residents range in age from 40 to a woman in her 90s and some have with mental health issues and cognitive impairments and many have a history of homelessness.
We're calling everybody who may be at risk or who have come to us with homelessness.Housing Plus, Penny Dordoy
Some of those people are finding the lockdown challenging so he said staff were making extra efforts to explain to them why they couldn't go out and to find ways to keep them entertained.
"We are trying to get more support to provide programs, there's only so much TV you can watch and things you can do, we've put more food on, more exciting food," Mr Brooker said.
Housing Plus head of community services Penny Dordoy said the non-profit organisation was continuing with its homeless services but had also taken precautions.
"We're doing the same thing, we're continuing to provide our service," Ms Dordoy said.
"Domestic violence and homelessness are essential services.
"Most of our stuff is going to be done over the phone, we're calling everybody who may be at risk or who have come to us with homelessness."
She said the organisation also had provisions for people who needed help but did not have a phone.
"We are going to be able to offer a phone and a video link," she said.
"We are really urging people not to come to the office if they can avoid it."
Ms Dordoy said the service had a refuge and crisis housing where she said they will have skeleton staff but cleaning has been increased.
She said that at the refuge everyone has their own room and ensuite.
"They've got their own kettles and microwaves and things," Ms Dordoy said.
"We've increased out cleaning roster and doing all the things we need to do to keep them safe."
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...