St Vincent de Paul Society announce circa $10m affordable home development for Smithton.

The St Vincent de Paul Society, in partnership with the Tasmanian Government and Centacare Evolve Housing, has announce it will commence delivery of a circa $10m affordable home development for Smithton.

Centacare Evolve Housing Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben Wilson, said that working in partnership with government and partners, like St Vincent de Paul Society, Centacare Evolve Housing has developed and is delivering effective housing and community programmes, such as Rosalie Court, to support those in need from all backgrounds, beliefs, and circumstances.

“Centacare Evolve Housing is committed to investing in regional communities across Tasmania in an effort to improve access to social and affordable housing for Tasmanians. We are incredibly proud of this partnership project with the St Vincent de Paul Society, which will make a tangible difference to people in need,” Mr Wilson said.

“Centacare Evolve Housing and the St Vincent de Paul Society have made a long-term commitment to Circular Head and look forward to increasing their presence in the community. We are working closely with Council to identify areas of need, and progress developments, which includes Rosalie Court in Smithton,“ he added.

St Vincent de Paul Society (Tas) CEO, Lara Alexander, said that the development, which will go before council for approval in early 2022, will offer 28 modern, two-bedroom homes for low-income people over 55 years of age.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society has committed $2.5m to be used to build affordable housing on the Northwest Coast from the proceeds of the transfer of Mt St Vincent Nursing Home, in Ulverstone, in 2019. The Society’s State Council was committed to ensuring that funds that came from the Northwest Coast were spent on a project in the region; specifically on a project that benefitted people over 55 and with a focus on affordable housing.

“About the same time the Tasmanian Government announced its $200m Affordable Housing Strategy 2015-2025. The Society approached the Government to match our contribution so we could build more homes for vulnerable and low-income people over 55,” Mrs Alexander said.

“The development, called Rosalie Court, will be delivered by Centacare Evolve Housing and, subject to Circular Head Council approval, will be completed by June 2023.

“Rosalie Court is designed to create a sense of community and belonging for the residents. Situated within walking distance of the Smithton town centre and close to medical facilities, the development will offer peace of mind to those who choose to live there.

“There are a lot of contributing factors that lead to housing insecurity – especially single women over 55 and low-income couples. Too many women over 55 do not have large superannuation funds to fall back on and even less savings. If they don’t already own their homes by the time they reach retirement age, affordable housing is often their only option for a worry-free life.

“Low-income couples and families face similar challenges. Even if they have saved all of their lives, one major unexpected event in their lives, such as a medical emergency, can take a family from safe and secure to struggle street almost overnight.

“Without partnership developments like Rosalie Court, the impact and cost of homelessness and those at risk of homelessness will continue to rise and become a challenge for the whole community. We need to ask ourselves, what is the value to the community of building safe places to call home?

“Vivienne Skinner and Phillippa Carnemolla’s May 2021 research paper ‘Outcomes Associated with Providing Secure, Stable, and Permanent Housing for People Who Have Been Homeless: An International Scoping Review’ analysed 100 international studies about prioritising permanent housing as a solution for homelessness,” Mrs Alexander said.

Skinner and Carnemolla’s research revealed secure housing is a circuit-breaker for homeless people and those at risk of homelessness, including:

Health: Every study analysed in the paper saw a drop in health services once an individual was permanently housed. Physical and mental health saw improvements.

Criminality: Studies reported that once permanently housed, less time was spent in jail with less encounters with police and arrests. Housing also provides safety from criminal behaviour, particularly for women and children leaving dangerous environments. In the 2016 Census one of the fastest growing groups of homelessness was women over the age of 55, this is often due to domestic and family violence.

Quality of life: ‘Housing is an early step in rebuilding identity and restoring a sense of ‘personhood’’. A Canadian two-year study of Housing First participants found that once settled in housing participants lives changed from being ‘survival-oriented’ to ‘peaceful’.

Reduction in social services: Studies also revealed that permanent housing created value for communities and taxpayers through a reduction in services such as the justice system, hospitals and health, and services for mental health and addiction. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found the cost saved to services for a single man in housing would be over $1 million over a lifetime.

Other areas that saw improvement include education and employment, community participation, substance use, and food-related outcomes.

MEDIA CONTACTS: St Vincent de Paul Society: Mark Wells – 0414 015 966 – Centacare Evolve Housing: Mark Franklin – 0408 300 148

ABOUT ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY (TAS):

The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old Italian student, Frederic Ozanam. Today, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members. Australia has over 60,000 members, dedicated to assisting people in need and combating social injustice. The Society started in Tasmania in 1899 when founders established a Conference in Launceston. From humble beginnings, the Society has grown to 25 Conferences within three Regional Councils across Tasmania. Each Conference undertake a variety of good works, the most recognised being the traditional Vincentian home visits and the annual CEO Sleep-out to draw attention to homelessness.

ABOUT CENTACARE EVOLVE HOUSING:

Centacare Evolve Housing is a Tier 1 Community Housing Provider, operating statewide and delivering services in tenancy, maintenance and community wellbeing. Centacare Evolve Housing’s ongoing response to Tasmanians in need, is characterised by innovation and agility ensuring that those most vulnerable in the community are well cared-for.

Centacare Evolve Housing has a strong and demonstratable commitment to community initiatives, including our nationally-recognised Build Up Tassie Program, which provides substantial and sustainable employment outcomes including apprenticeships for young Tasmanians. In addition to providing tenancy and community support, Centacare Evolve Housing has a significant new-build and construction program, with over 630 new social and affordable homes in the pipeline for construction up to June 2023.

Working in partnership with government and partners, such as St Vincent de Paul Society, Centacare Evolve Housing has developed and is delivering effective housing and community programmes to support those in need from all backgrounds, beliefs, and circumstances.

ABOUT TASMANIA’S AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY 2015 – 2025:

Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy 2015-2025 (the Strategy) is the most comprehensive strategy ever developed to improve affordable housing and help those most in need into safe and secure accommodation.

The Strategy provides direction and a clear framework for action and investment over its ten years. Specific actions and initiatives are set out in the Affordable Housing Action Plan 2015 – 2019 (Action Plan 1) and the second stage the Affordable Housing Action Plan 2019- 2023 (Action Plan 2). A third action plan will be developed for the final years of the Strategy.

Underpinning each Action Plan are three strategic interventions to address housing assistance and supply across Tasmania. These are:
 

  1. Preventing housing stress of low income earners by increasing the supply of affordable homes.
  2. Targeted Early Intervention to assist Tasmanians in need who are at risk of housing stress or
  3. homelessness.
  4. Rapid Response and Recovery aimed at people who are at immediate risk or experiencing
  5. homelessness to find safe and secure housing.

Action Plan 1, released under the Strategy, was supported with an investment of $73.5 million to deliver new supply of affordable housing and assistance. Action Plan 1 is due for completion in June 2019 and it is on track to assist 1,600 households, including new supply of 941 affordable lots and homes.

In developing Action Plan 2, stakeholders agreed that whilst market conditions had changed significantly, the broad three key drivers of the Strategy remain relevant. Participants of the roundtables agreed that the Government’s focus must remain on its primary role to increase the supply of social housing and supported accommodation options. Action Plan 2 delivers the initiatives to meet this demand. It also identifies that as conditions continue to change, it must be able to react and respond appropriately.

This second stage of the Strategy has a commitment of an additional $125 million over five years, taking the total investment in affordable housing to nearly $200 million over eight years. This will result in a total of 3,600 households assisted under both Action Plans, including the new supply of 2,400 affordable lots and homes.

MEDIA NOTES: The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old Italian student, Frederic Ozanam. Today, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members. Australia has over 60,000 members, dedicated to assisting people in need and combating social injustice. The Society started in Tasmania in 1899 when founders established a Conference in Launceston. From humble beginnings, the Society has grown to 25 Conferences within three Regional Councils across Tasmania. Each Conference undertake a variety of good works, the most recognised being the traditional Vincentian home visits and the annual CEO Sleep-out to draw attention to homelessness.

Media contact, Mark Wells: +61 414 015 966 (24-hours)
© St Vincent de Paul Society and MWPA.

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