Last month Darcy House's tireless volunteers handed out more than 1800 hot lunches, cleaned countless loads of laundry and offered a sympathetic ear to many in need.
The BapistCare Port Kembla centre hopes to do more for the region's disadvantaged through a move to a new fit-for-purpose building at 27-29 Wentworth Street.
The Wollongong Local Planning Panel will assess the development application to move locations from Darcy Road after the proposal was met with strong opposition from business owners and residents.
Wollongong City Council received 47 submissions including a petition against the relocation.
Tibor Mokany, BaptistCare's group manager in the southern operations region, said the relocation would benefit centre's clients and the wider community.
"The new BaptistCare HopeStreet Port Kembla centre will improve the streetscape, activate an underutilised building and provide activity at the northern end of the town centre," he said.
"The clients who access our services are already in the local area, so it will be easier for most of our clients to visit the new space and access our services, which provide much-needed support and care to people who need it most in our community."
Our clients deserve the same respect, support and inclusion in our community as anyone else.Tibor Mokany
Mr Mokany said the community service needed to move because it did not own the building and therefore could not make the changes it needed such as creating a safer kitchen and communal facilities.
BaptistCare purchased the Wentworth Street building when it came on the market.
Residents and business owners raised concerns about the appropriateness of the location; amenity impacts; safety, security and social impact; traffic and pedestrian safety; and consistency with the revitalisation of Wentworth Street and Port Kembla 2505 Revitalisation Plan 2018-2043.
Mr Mokany encouraged business owners and residents to visit the centre to resolve their concerns, and invited them to become part of the solution by partnering with the service.
"Our clients, who come from diverse backgrounds, deserve the same respect, support and inclusion in our community as anyone else," he said.
"They do not deserve to be treated as though they should stick to the margins or as if they should not be visible or present in the heart of our community.
"HopeStreet Port Kembla will work to support the development of Wentworth Street by helping the very people that others are concerned might cause a problem.
"We will help them by tackling and overcoming their own challenges so they become productive, responsible members of the community.
"We are proud to say that our work at Darcy House since 2006 has been good for the area, and we are confident that the new HopeStreet Port Kembla will continue bringing benefits to the community."
He added the council acknowledged the proposal was consistent with the revitalisation plan because it filled a shop vacancy.
The not-for-profit organisation provides a drop in service for social and financial support; counselling to tackle mental health, life skills workshops, advocacy work for housing and health outreach services.
Council staff recommended the application be approved by the panel on Wednesday.