Batemans Bay emergency accommodation facility in danger of closing

NEEDING HOPE: Hope House residents Jessica Maxwell, Talisha Cluss, Lucy Roberts, Renee Chatfield, Dakota and Keith Sims, Mick Reynolds, Clark Chatfield, Keayme Williams, Tommy Skou (Hope Place manager), Presden and Rachael Keft and Jamal Williams hope the facility will remain open.

NEEDING HOPE: Hope House residents Jessica Maxwell, Talisha Cluss, Lucy Roberts, Renee Chatfield, Dakota and Keith Sims, Mick Reynolds, Clark Chatfield, Keayme Williams, Tommy Skou (Hope Place manager), Presden and Rachael Keft and Jamal Williams hope the facility will remain open.

Batemans Bay Community Life’s emergency accommodation facility Hope Place is in danger of closing after failing to secure NSW Government funding.

Community Life public officer Reverend Colin Walters said he was notified on Thursday by the Department of Family and Community Services Southern NSW District that there would not be government funding available for Community Life, which runs emergency family accommodation facility Hope Place at Batehaven and emergency men’s accommodation facility Hope House at Batemans Bay.

Mr Walters believes this could prove fatal to the continued existence of Hope Place.

“Hope Place is in danger of closing,” he said. 

“We have spent $31,000 of Community Life’s money and we have $29,000 left. This can’t be sustained; it is going to run out in January 2015 at this rate.”

The Department of Family and Community Services did offer to put in place a process to notify other services of their vacancies.

“This is so that we can get more bookings and the fees paid for these bookings can keep us going,” Mr Walters said.

Mr Walters is waiting to hear back from Bega MP and NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance after having a meeting with him at Hope Place on August 8 and another at Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton’s office in Sydney on October 22.

“He has said that he values what we are doing, but I haven’t heard from him since then (October 22),” he said.

Mr Walters believes that the amount of vital help Hope Place has provided justifies the call for government financial assistance.

“As of the beginning of November we have helped 328 people (236 adults, 92 children, 120 Aboriginal people with the average stay being 20 days), women and families - victims of domestic violence, relationship breakdowns, mental health illnesses, permanent disability, drug and/or alcohol dependency, hard times, un-affordable rent, lack of access to public housing and poor self-presentation, all of whom would have been on the streets or in their cars without Hope Place,” he said.

“We have also helped 120 men through Hope House, 60 with mental health illnesses, 20 Aboriginal men, many with permanent disability and most with addictions of some form.”

Mother of three Rachael Keft is one of many Hope Place residents hoping it stays open.

“I had nowhere to live and in coming here I found stability and people who care a lot about us,” she said.

“It has got to get government funding or we will lose a really good place.” 

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