THE Department of Communities insists a 150-bed facility in Fremantle that’s keeping vulnerable people in accommodation will not close, despite its current operator planning to pull out.
The old nursing quarters at 100 Hampton Road is run by affordable housing provider Foundation Housing under contract to the department, but it won’t be renewing its contract when it expires on December 30 this year.
The organisation was pretty opaque when the Chook asked why it didn’t want to continue, but CEO Chris Smith later told The West Australian it was partly in response to the government reneging on maintenance. The Chook also noticed in Foundation’s last annual report that it had racked up a $12 million deficit last year and the trust fund which backs its operations had fallen by $19m.
“Foundation Housing is working closely with the Department to ensure a seamless transition with minimal to zero impact on the current residents,” Mr Smith said.
100 Hampton was used to house many of Fremantle’s “Tent City” residents when it was closed down by police in early February.
Fremantle’s deputy mayor Andrew Sullivan said they were aware of the city’s housing shortage and were lobbying the McGowan government for more local social housing.
“A lot of the older social housing stock was no longer fit-for-purpose and has understandably been either demolished or sold,” Cr Sullivan said.
“The rate of replacement of the social housing stock hasn’t kept pace with the phasing out of the older properties and that is greatly disturbing.
“We have been working with the housing agencies to seek assurances that residents in older social housing get to stay in Fremantle as part of the renewal program if that is their preference.
Cr Sullivan said the city was keen for Fremantle to be considered for any initiatives such as the Common Ground model heading to Perth and Mandurah.
St Pat’s Community Support Centre told the Herald the department hadn’t issued an expression of interest for running 100 Hampton Road, so it wasn’t able to comment on whether it would be interested in taking on the contract.
by GYPSY TREACY and STEVE GRANT