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BaptistCare launches new housing to combat housing stress

This new community housing is located in Elderslie and has been named BaptistCare Narralling Community

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In a year where many Australians are going to be feeling the financial crunch of the pandemic and even more Australians are going to be feeling housing stress, BaptistCare’s newest community housing development in south west Sydney has opened with 122 villas and townhouses for seniors and single-parent families.

Officially opened by the Hon. Gareth Ward MP, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services on 1 December, the new community housing is located in Elderslie and has been named BaptistCare Narralling Community.

The housing is the latest milestone in the NSW Government’s $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).

The opening event also included a smoking ceremony by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elder, Uncle Ivan.

The social and affordable homes will provide much-needed secure tenancies to seniors and single-parent families on no or low incomes, or who are working on low incomes.

New tenant, Irene, put her name down on the social housing list two and a half years ago. In her senior years, she has ‘managed’ to get by on her pension, but only thanks to her son.

“I was willing to wait as long as it took to get something. Then I was lucky for BaptistCare to pick my name out and I got this beautiful place.”

Irene had struggled after her husband passed, both emotionally and financially. After being fiercely independent all her life, she found herself unable to keep a roof over her head.

“After my husband died, I was having trouble coping…My son helped me. I was living in his rental unit. I just didn’t want to be a burden on my son for the rest of my life. I always felt that I was, even though he said I wasn’t. I’ve always been a very independent person but without him, I wouldn’t be here.”

Three weeks ago, Irene moved into her brand new, safe, secure and affordable one-bedroom villa at BaptistCare Narralling Community, just four days after she first viewed it.

“I love my new home. It’s beautiful. It’s been a wonderful experience. It all happened very quickly, I’m absolutely over the moon. Everyone is so nice. Getting this apartment was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my whole life.”

BaptistCare CEO Charles Moore said BaptistCare is delivering 500 homes as part of the SAHF, which will support people facing rental stress and homelessness.

“Having a secure place to call home is vital, but housing is not just about a roof over a head. We are also creating communities in our housing sites encouraging friendships and support networks for the people who live there,” Mr Moore said.

Irene agrees it is nice to know that help is there if she needs it, to enhance her independence and wellbeing, including home care, counselling, chaplaincy, and no interest loans, via the support of BaptistCare’s on-site housing manager and tailored support coordinator.

“I haven’t got a complaint in the world. I have a home. It’s affordable. I would never have even dreamed, in my wildest dreams, that I would be able to have what I have now. I feel like, in a few short weeks, I’ve regained a part of myself I didn’t think I would, the ability to be independent.”

Learn more about BaptistCare Narralling Community at baptistcare.org.au/narralling