A NEW life for a well-known Boyd Street building in Kelso has begun.
Housing Plus threw open the doors at its new offices, the former Opal Aged Care building, on Wednesday morning and offered an invitation for the community to make use of it.
"We hope that the building will become a hive of community activity," Housing Plus chief executive officer David Fisher said.
The building was bought by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst in 2019, was officially named John Therry House last year (after a Catholic priest and advocate for the forgotten in early Australia) and is being leased to Housing Plus.
"It's really important that I emphasis that it [the building] is a community asset," Mr Fisher said.
"Housing Plus will provide services here, but we also hope other service providers and community groups will use the building."
Mr Fisher said Housing Plus (which provides social and affordable housing in Bathurst) will provide its tenancy and maintenance services from the building, as well as its Opportunity Pathways program, which helps social housing clients access practical and financial assistance and work opportunities.
Also provided from the building will be the Bathurst and Lithgow Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service and the Together Home rough sleeper initiative.
"We provide support, at the moment, for five rough sleepers in Bathurst," Mr Fisher said. "From July 1, that extends to 11. Our homeless rough sleeping program will be provided from this building as well."
Domestic violence services will also be housed at the building.
Mr Fisher said the building's hub area "will have free internet for members of the public and the facilities to make a hot tea or coffee" and its rooms will have internet access for those who want to use them for meetings.
He said he hopes the commercial kitchen and commercial laundry will, over time, be brought back to life by community groups.
Mr Fisher said Housing Plus will be building 65 new homes in Bathurst for social and affordable rent, six of which were completed last year in Havannah Street.
The official opening of the building also featured a smoking ceremony.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a tour or to book one of the meeting spaces.
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