ST PAT’S has been given the green light to take over the running of the old nurses quarters at 100 Hampton Road for people at risk of homelessness.
There had been concerns around 150 residents would be left without lodging after Foundation Housing decided not to renew its management contract earlier this year; it’s embarked on a three-year strategy to shift its focus from government-supported housing stock.
But on Tuesday communities minister Simone McGurk and housing minister John Carey announced St Pat’s would get a five-year lease on the property, which will also get a government-funded facelift that’s so far un-costed. St Pat’s involvement had been rumoured for a while, given it was one of the few options open to the state government.
“I think this is a really good partnership,” Ms McGurk said.
“We know that there’s a lot of vulnerable people in our community; this facility provides shelter for them.
“I’m really confident that St Pats is a perfect provider; it is more than just accommodation, it’s actually understanding the residents and being there to meet their needs.”
Ms McGurk said the initial uncertainty had been disruptive for some lodgers, and she felt nearby residents would be pleased to hear St Pat’s was taking charge.
St Pat’s CEO Michael Piu said they were looking at upgrading the kitchens, bathrooms and flooring “to make the place as liveable as possible for people who call this their home”.
Mr Piu said St Pat’s would retain as many existing staff as possible, while some of the services from its support centre could spill over.
“We’re a local specialist provider and we have a range of partnerships, so I think there’s some great opportunities to value add here at 100 Hampton,” he said.
Mr Carey said the government was doing everything it could to keep housing stock in the system.
His department has faced criticism – including from Labor before it was in power – about homes sitting empty for years before being refurbished or redeveloped.
“Obviously Hampton Road faces what we do face across the housing sector, and that is ageing stock,” Mr Carey said.
“So you’re constantly looking at how we can invest.
“That’s why we’re investing a lot in refurbishing existing social housing stocks, so any investment in upkeeping this building means that it is retained into the future.
“We’re very cognisant about new investment, new spot purchasing, getting more new stock into the housing system, which is critical.”
Mr Carey and Ms McGurk scotched rumours circulating during the recent elections that 100 Hampton Road was being lined up for an increased role in prisoner release programs.
by STEVE GRANT