The site of the former St Augustine’s Church is serving the community once again with the development of St Augustine’s Court providing affordable housing for people in need.
AnglicareSA‘s new facility at Woodville Gardens is named for the church that previously stood there but is now 23 two-bedroom units for low-income earners aged 55 and over.
“I am so pleased that this site, that was a community hub for many years, will again play host to life with families and friends, activity and laughter,” Anglicare CEO Peter Sandeman says.
St Augustine’s Court is helping to tackle the growing affordable housing and homelessness issues in Australia.
While people over the age of 55 make up 13.7 per cent of total homelessness, they represented only 6 per cent of people accessing specialist homelessness services in 2012.
A lack of beds for older Australians within the homelessness service system means they are much less likely to receive support from specialist homelessness services.
With the number of Australians aged 55 and over projected to increase greatly over coming decades, a substantial increase in Australians at risk of, and experiencing, homelessness is also expected.
The aged care and homelessness service systems are likely to face significant funding pressures as a result.
There are many different causes of homelessness, including a lack of affordable housing, an inability to live on the Age Pension and the death of a spouse.
Sheila Lynch and her husband were forced to live with family for four months after losing their home when he became ill and could no longer work.
After trying other agencies that were unable to help them, Sheila and Tom met with AnglicareSA and were placed in St Augustine’s Court just ten days later.
“Without them we would have gone under, there was nothing, absolutely nothing,” Sheila says.
“We didn’t know where to go, we weren’t expecting this to happen.
“I walked into Anglicare a total mess because I didn’t know what we were going to do.”
St Augustine’s Court offers a high standard of living, with all units air-conditioned and fitted with energy-efficient lighting and ceiling fans.
Some units even have private balconies and yards, and a rooftop garden with an exterior kitchen means tenants have plenty of space to enjoy themselves.
Peter Sandeman says AnglicareSA is also hoping to foster a strong community at St Augustine’s and is encouraging tenants to organise gatherings to know one another.
“It’s been really pleasing to see that, even at this early stage, there’s a real sense of community developing,” Peter says.
“Our new residents come from varied cultural and geographical backgrounds, and some have faced significant challenges in their lives.
“Now they’re settled, happy and intermingling.”
Sheila is truly grateful to be part of this newly established community.
“It’s great and the people are lovely. We had a power blackout last week and we all stood outside together with candles and lights,” she says.
“You know that if something’s wrong you can knock on anybody’s door and they’ll help you.”