Work will start next month on an Australian-first project that aims to break the cycle of homelessness in Bendigo.
The $6+ million Sidney Myer Haven Program combines a 23-unit medium-term residential complex supported by an intensive development program that works to help participants to step up and become valuable and engaged community members.
The residential community will be built on the former Paynting’s nursery site in Somerville Street, 2km from Bendigo CBD and with easy access to schools,
shops and community facilities.
The development is being funded by the Victorian Government ($4 million) and the Yulgilbar Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund ($1.4million). It has also received support from Bendigo for Homeless Youth ($100,000), Community Foundation for Central Victoria ($100,000) and Horizon House ($50,000).
The land had previously been given planning approval as an aged-care facility, which had some parallels with the Sidney Myer Haven development.
The units will house a mix of residents, singles, couples and families and will be supervised 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We have begun working with neighbors to ensure they are aware of all of the details of the development, that all their questions are answered and that if they have any concerns, they know how to have them addressed.
We have assured people in the area of our commitment to being good neighbors, and we have systems and processes in place to ensure that’s the case.
Participants in the program will be selected and assessed to have the drive, motivation and commitment to meet the program’s goals and a key worker will be assigned to work with them throughout the program.
The approach of using formal training and development programs to address social, educational and rental deficiencies is the first of its kind in Australia.
Our aim is for all program participants to exit the Sidney Myer Haven program within 24 months into suitable accommodation in the public or private sector and with the life skills and ability to effectively maintain and succeed in that mainstream environment.