GROUP HOME CON­CERNS

Pro­posed group home would pro­vide short-term ac­com­mo­da­tion for 54 peo­ple in their dark­est hour

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Elisha Pearce

A TRAN­SI­TIONAL group home has been pro­posed for a site in Rooty Hill Rd North in Plumpton.

The de­vel­op­ment in­cludes lodg­ing for 54 peo­ple, who need short-term hous­ing while they get back on their feet, and six beds for staff.

Elie Farah, of Ef­fec­tive Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Group, has lodged a de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion with Black­town Coun­cil to build the group home.

Hus­band and wife team War­ren and Ch­eryle Weir, of Prov­i­den­tial Homes, would lease the build­ing and run the group home.

Mr Weir said his non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion had agree­ments with gov­ern­ment and non-gov­ern­ment agen­cies that re­ferred peo­ple in need of a bed.

He said the home wouldn’t be for peo­ple walk­ing off the street or re­leased from jail.

“This is for peo­ple in ma­jor need, who need short­term ac­com­mo­da­tion,” he said. “We are con­tracted with agen­cies and take peo­ple re­ferred from them.

“I come from an ed­u­ca­tion back­ground and have a heart for peo­ple’s well­be­ing, and that starts with ac­com­mo­da­tion.”

The Weirs said Prov­i­den­tial Homes had about 150 peo­ple stay­ing in tran­si­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion in West­ern Syd­ney nightly.

That in­cludes peo­ple who lose their job, el­derly peo­ple who get evicted and women es­cap­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Mr Weir said their group homes had a 98 per cent suc­cess rate of peo­ple get­ting their own ac­com­mo­da­tion af­ter stay­ing with them.

Ac­cord­ing to MacroPlan Di­masi doc­u­ments sup­port­ing the DA, peo­ple who stay at the home would be re­ferred by agen­cies and qual­ify for 28-day or three­month stays while they tran­si­tion into their own home.

A MacroPlan Di­masi re­port said re­gional lack of low-cost hous­ing, above av­er­age un­em­ploy­ment lev­els and hous­ing stress sup­ported the de­vel­op­ment of the group home.

Mr Farah said the site in Rooty Hill Rd North, which is the aban­doned pi­geon club­house, would be im­proved af­ter the group home was built.

“When it’s fin­ished it’s go­ing to make the place look nor­mal again,” he said. “You look at it ... peo­ple can dump rub­bish, the grass is over­grown ... but this build will look bet­ter to neigh­bours.”

Mrs Weir ad­dressed con­cerns about the con­duct of peo­ple at the prop­erty.

“There is zero drug and al­co­hol tol­er­ance, if there is any on the prop­erty or they come un­der the in­flu­ence they im­me­di­ately have to leave,” she said.

“But we sup­port this be­cause it’s very re­ward­ing to see peo­ple com­ing from noth­ing and cri­sis in their lives, to have a smile on their face is great.”

Mr Farah said the group was happy to work with neigh­bours about any con­cerns they had.

“We are pre­pared to help the neigh­bours un­der­stand what is go­ing on here,” he said. “We have se­cu­rity cam­eras, lights that turn on when peo­ple come in and out and all the win­dows are sound­proofed.”

An artist’s im­pres­sion of a tran­si­tional group home pro­posed to pro­vide 54 peo­ple with short-term ac­com­mo­da­tion at Plumpton.

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