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Old aged care facility repurposed into older women’s shelter

Women’s Community Shelters has launched new secure housing for 20 women over the age of 55 in a disused aged care facility in Beecroft, Sydney, New South Wales (NSW).

Outside Beecroft House is Sallianne McClelland, Simone Parsons and Annabelle Daniel from Women’s Community Shelters with NSW Hornsby Councillor, Emma Heyde. [Source: Facebook/ Beecroft House]
Outside Beecroft House is Sallianne McClelland, Simone Parsons and Annabelle Daniel from Women’s Community Shelters with NSW Hornsby Councillor, Emma Heyde. [Source: Facebook/ Beecroft House]

The collaborative initiative with housing provider, Link Housing, is revitalising the old Beecroft House facility from Twilight Aged Care in NSW.

Women who need housing can be provided with up to two years of secure and safe transitional housing, rent free, and will be supported to find permanent housing solutions afterwards.

Since women over the age of 55 are the most at risk group of Australians to become homeless, this project is hoping to combat the trend.

Annabelle Daniel, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Women’s Community Shelters, says the recent annual report from the organisation has highlighted the significant support needed to help this vulnerable demographic.

She adds that there needs to be more innovative solutions and partnerships created to make use of disused properties that are ‘hiding in plain sight’ around major cities.

Ms Daniel says, “We’ve known for over a decade that older women are becoming homeless at increasing rates. This partnership represents definitive action to do something to help solve the problem. 

“We are delighted to be partnering with so many others to bring Beecroft House to life, and to be providing at least two years accommodation with guaranteed housing pathways for every woman who lives there. 

“Local community support has been incredible and will ensure that Beecroft House is truly a home for every resident.” 

In 2018, Twilight Aged Care engaged with Women’s Community Shelters about using their vacant aged care facility in Beecroft for transitional housing for older women.

The organisation undertook an analysis, looking for partnership with other like minded companies, and found a service model that would work for a house of 20 women.

Around six to eight women will transition over to the Beecroft facility from the Women’s Community Shelters network, along with 12-14 women from the NSW Social Housing waitlist.

Alongside the partnership with Link Housing and Beecroft property owner, Twilight Aged Care, the initiative has also received support from National Projects & Maintenance, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women Shelter, and The Generous & The Grateful, to help develop the site.

Link Housing will manage the Beecroft property and the tenants who stay in the transitional shelter.

Andrew McAnulty, CEO of Link Housing, says, “We are very pleased to work with WCS on this innovative project. 

“We have been exploring opportunities and options to increase housing supply, and meanwhile use of properties is just one model that we know can work. 

“We hope that the successful establishment of Beecroft House will encourage others to come forward to create and be part of these innovative housing solutions that help to tackle Sydney’s housing and homelessness crisis.”

The initiative’s development is nearly at a close, with the organisation a couple weeks away from finishing all the appropriate renovations to the site.

The Beecroft community have been supporting the initiative, including students from Pymble Ladies' College, who volunteered at the Beecroft House to make beds and prepare the rooms for their new occupants.

To find out more about the project, click here

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