The battle against homelessness in Orange has taken a major step forward with the first residents moving into the new $16.4 million Benjamin Short Grove aged care facility.
The centre will officially open in November when it will provide care for 60 homeless people.
A spokeswoman for Mission Australia said the centre had opened with a “small number of residents” moving in.
Benjamin Short Grove, named after the co-founder of the Sydney City Mission Benjamin Short, will provide 24-hour care for people over 55 in Orange who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, financially or socially disadvantaged or who lack the support to access mainstream aged care.
The facility on Huntley Road at Bloomfield was completed with funding from the federal government and fundraising by the Orange community.
Mission Australia general manger of aged care Jill Bicknell said the facility would offer care for disadvantaged people, many with a history of chronic homelessness.
“Many of the aged homeless population are sadly no longer with family or social networks,” she said.
“They also often age prematurely and face other problems like chronic health problems, malnutrition, chronic loneliness, history of violence and trauma.”
She said the 2011 census showed there were 119 homeless people in Orange.
There will be 60 single rooms with en suites in the facility divided into four pods of 15 rooms with their own dining and lounge areas.
Specialist medical services will include podiatry, optical, physiotherapy, psychiatric support and dietary and nutrition planning.
About 35 staff will be employed at the facility.