Aged-care plan: proposal provides somewhere to belong for homeless

PRIDE OF PLACE: Mission Australia is planning to build an aged-care facility for the homeless and under privileged.

PRIDE OF PLACE: Mission Australia is planning to build an aged-care facility for the homeless and under privileged.

THE plight hundreds of homeless across the central west has led to a proposal for a 60-bed aged-care facility near Orange Health Service.

Mission Australia received a grant from the federal government in 2011 to build care and residential accommodation for residents who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or who are socially or financially disadvantaged.

The development, to be located between Park Drive and Huntley Road, is awaiting assessment by Orange City Council.

Mission Australia aged care leader Jill Bicknell said the federal government had identified a need for aged facilities in the Orange-Cabonne area and Mission Australia argued services were also needed for homeless and disadvantaged people.

“Census data tells us that on any given night, there are over 400 people homeless in the central west,” she said.

“Our anecdotal evidence from service providers also backs this up this need.”

Ms Bicknell said Mission Australia had reached an important milestone, with the development application now submitted.

OUR SAY: DIGNITY FOR HOMELESS IN THEIR OLD AGE

“Once built, the facility will serve the increasing need for aged-care accommodation for frail and elderly people in Orange who have been experiencing homelessness, are in unstable accommodation or who lack the financial capacity and family support needed to access mainstream aged-care facilities,” she said.

The accommodation will include 60 single rooms with en suites.

They will be divided into four pods, each with their own dining and lounge facilities.

Activity rooms will be provided for recreation and leisure activities.

Potential residents will need to undergo an assessment by an aged-care assessment team and meet concessional criteria to qualify.

St Vincent de Paul Bathurst central council president Bob Lulham said most of the homeless people in Orange were aged 30-40 years and action across the age spectrum was needed, particularly for adolescent couch surfers.

But he said any supported accommodation plan was positive.

“I can see there’s a need for supported accommodation for elderly people,” he said.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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