A project helping youths at risk of homelessness in the Murraylands is nearing completion | The Murray Valley Standard
A Murray Bridge project helping youths at risk of homelessness is nearing completion.
A disused South Australian Housing Authority property has been transformed into four units for struggling youths and the first tenants are targeted to move in within months.
But, with the finish line in sight, extra helping hands could make all the difference.
The broad community support has helped make the bold vision for the multi-agency Studio Purpose project a reality.
With businesses, tradespeople, service clubs and others contributing funds along with labour, supplies, furnishings and other donations for the major renovation have made it a possibility.
Habitat for Humanity project manager, Andrew Hurst has been supervising the construction phase of the project, working with tradespeople and other community members who have contributed to the construction project.
“We’ve had plumbers and electricians that have come in and donated their time, local suppliers have donated a lot of materials and the kitchen fit-outs have been donated by four different cabinet makers,” Mr Hurst said.
“When I talk to any businesses about it, they understand the reason to be involved with the focus on homeless youth and it will be really rewarding to see the result of people who really need it having access to a home.”
The Studio Purpose project extends beyond accommodation to include broad support to help vulnerable young people reach their potential.
Ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager, Thanuja Hiripitiyage has led the project from the initial vision.
Hiripitiyage helped secure partnerships with other organisations and government agencies after ac.care identified the issue of young people being unable to find suitable and affordable accommodation in the Murray Bridge area.
Ac.care will work with project partners to support tenants and develop strategies to help youths transition from the units to reunification with families, private rental arrangements or other housing options, along with a focus on building a more hopeful future.
“It’s been very exciting to see the project progress with the massive improvement in the properties and we are very grateful for all the support the project has received with the community getting behind the project and Habitat for Humanity leading construction,” Ms Hiripitiyage said.
“We are very proud to have this new opportunity in Murray Bridge for young people and want to thank everyone who has contributed.”
The partnership also involves AnglicareSA, South Australian Housing Authority, headspace Murray Bridge and Rural City of Murray Bridge.
Volunteer, Steve Brown has been inspired by the diverse contributions from the community.
“It’s been amazing to see it take shape and we can now see the four separate units with all the plaster boarding and other elements done,” Mr Brown said.
“We want to get a shelter over the heads of homeless kids and that’s the ultimate thing.
“But, to get all of the businesses in Murray Bridge to come on board and supply so much stuff, free of charge along with tradesmen, contractors and others that have just said ‘yep, we’ll do it for you’, that is a big plus for the businesses in Murray Bridge.
“I’m pretty stoked about that.”
Unskilled volunteers are still needed for the final phases of construction, including the yard and general property clean-up, fencing, landscaping and other tasks.
There is also help needed with materials and labour for development of a communal garden area.
To contribute to the construction phase of the project, please call Habitat for Humanity project manager, Andrew Hurst on 0412794460, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit accare.org.au/studiopurpose.
Donations for remaining construction costs can be made to www.givenow.com.au/youthhousingmurraybridge and items for furnishing the units can be provided to ac.care by calling 8531 4900.