Future proof

Artist’s impression of the upgraded St Pat’s Day Centre in Fremantle.

AFTER 50 years of helping the homeless, St Pat’s Day Centre in Fremantle is getting an upgrade so it can still be helping the disadvantaged in another 50 years time. 

As part of the upgrade, St Pat’s will redevelop its 22 short-stay units into 28 long-term apartments, move its entrance from Queen Victoria Street to Beach Street, and remodel its admin centre. 

“The current buildings are no longer fit for purpose, with our Day Centre and its services having outgrown the heritage building on Queen Victoria Street,” says St Pat’s CEO Michael Piu. 

“With St Pat’s now providing supports across the south metropolitan region, our staff numbers have also grown and we are unable to accommodate them in the existing space. 

“Our 22-bed lodging facility, Ignatius House, was originally built as overnight accommodation for sailors visiting Fremantle in the 1960s. It is cramped and dark, with each room only providing space for a bed, cupboard and a small bathroom. 

“Ignatius House is not crisis accommodation, with residents residing in these rooms anywhere from several months to several years. To give people a safe, dignified place to live we want to transform it from 22 rooms into 28 studio apartments. 

“These will provide homes for people exiting homelessness, giving them on-site and ongoing access to wrap-around health and other supports to help them get back to living independent, fulfilling lives.” 

Every night in WA about 9000 people experience homelessness with 1000 sleeping rough. 

“Today, Perth faces the tightest rental market in 40 years and while there is crisis and transitional accommodation available, the average wait time for social housing is two and a half years,” Mr Piu says. 

“People of all ages and stages of life are struggling to make ends meet. 

“Many of us are just one major life event away from homelessness. 

“Homelessness has a ripple effect throughout our community. 

“It costs taxpayers upwards of $18 million each year to treat the mental health of people experiencing homelessness in WA alone. That’s just one cost of many. 

“It benefits all us to break the cycle of homelessness. That’s why St Pat’s is working to reconfigure its buildings in Fremantle to offer extended services and better support.” 

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