IT might be one of the best-loved houses in Bathurst.
That’s what Narelle Stocks of Veritas House says of a snug but slightly battered one-bedder that will never be able to compete with Bathurst’s best properties and their media rooms and saltwater pools, but which provides something much more important.
It provides a home to those in need.
In it, local homeless young people have learnt how to manage a budget and cook for themselves and have taken other tentative but important first steps to independent living.
Now the property is set to get a major makeover after Veritas House was successful in its application to the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation for a $50,000 grant – the biggest single grant Veritas has ever received outside of government funding.
It’s no wonder Ms Stocks, who is business development manager with Veritas, is beaming.
“It is going to make a significant difference to the lives of local young people for years to come,” she said.
Veritas bought the property in October 2014.
“For many homeless young people that stay at the youth refuge and who cannot return safely to their homes, it can be difficult to secure a lease in the private rental market with no prior rental history and due to their age,” Ms Stocks said.
Veritas leases the property at below market rent to young people from the refuge, helping them transition from homelessness to independence.
“Our case workers support them over a three to six month period to obtain furnishings, secure ongoing income, learn budgeting and tenancy management skills and develop a rental history,” Ms Stocks said.
“At the end of their lease, we provide a reference and advocate and support them to secure long-term private rental accommodation.”
Because the rent generated does not always cover costs, Ms Stocks said Veritas has had no funds for long-overdue improvements to the flat.
Which is where the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation grant comes in.
Ms Stocks said the $50,000 will be used to re-do the kitchen (including expanding into the extra space created when the hot water system, which is in a cupboard, moves outside); put down new carpet; sound-proof the wall the flat shares with the neighbouring property, paint throughout; and replace the shower, fittings and oven.
“Our goal is to make it a space that’s functional, that we can continue to use for the next 25 to 30 years, and that young people can have pride in,” Ms Stocks said.
“If they can be proud of it, it will be easier for us to work with them to ensure they become good tenants in the future.”
Work on the property is due to start in early to mid January and will take about six weeks, Ms Stocks said.
Veritas House is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity that provides services to children, young people and families in the Central West.