A South Hobart parish initiative has seen a vacant building transformed into affordable housing units as part of the Church's continuing effort to relieve housing stress for Tasmanians. Source: Hobart Archdiocese.
Capital grant funding from Housing Tasmania and expertise and a financial contribution from CatholicCare Tasmania has seen the project come to fruition, with Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner officially opening the complex yesterday.
“Given the crisis in housing due to extreme rental stress and homelessness, particularly amongst a cohort of women over 55, we decided to convert this building into eight affordable housing units,” said South Hobart parish priest Fr Michael Tate.
“We think this is in total harmony with the needs of Tasmania and Pope Francis’ vision of what it means to be authentically Christian. It’s extremely important that the Church does things which are tangible, which give the stamp of authenticity to our claims.”
While the example of Pope Francis provided inspiration for the project, the name chosen for the apartment complex also has links to the Holy Father.
“Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires and as Archbishop of Buenos Aires he showed particular concern for the poor and the marginalised, [so] we decided to call the apartments Buenos Aires,” Fr Tate said.
Pensioner Kay Dolman, 72, is the first resident to benefit from the new affordable housing units.
“For a single person on a pension it’s impossible … to be able to get something to rent. It is essential to the wellbeing of any person to have a secure roof over their head, and to have respectful living … not a hovel, not living in a damp place.
“I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be in an area this is active and motivating … God upstairs and God next door in the Church,” she said.
Mrs Dolman and the cohort of women identified for tenancy in the new affordable housing units will have access to social housing rental agreements. The agreements establish rent at 25 per cent of income, or 75 per cent of market rent.
CatholicCare Tasmania has leased the refurbished building from the South Hobart Parish, and caseworkers from Housing Connect and Centacare Evolve Housing will manage tenancies.
South Hobart Parish responds to Tasmanian housing stress (Hobart Archdiocese)