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Innovative solution to homelessness in the Hunter

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“There are about 2,000 Novocastrians who don’t have a stable and secure home.”

That’s the disheartening claim by Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp as the NSW Government looks at an innovative solution to homelessness, which continues to rise in the Hunter.

It now appears certain the Stockton Centre will be transformed into temporary accommodation to alleviate some of the issues within the region.

Homes NSW is leading the $2 million “meanwhile use” proposal that’ll refurbish seven homes at the premises to provide lodgings for up to 25 people.

“Every day, I’m dealing with people experiencing homelessness,” Mr Crakanthorp said.

“This may be a small step, but it is a significant step and having access to this accommodation will make a huge impact on many lives.

“The previous government should be ashamed of the condition the Stockton Centre has been left in.

“I’m so pleased that we have found a way to repair these seven houses and bring them up to a suitable standard.

“Just on Friday, I was at the House of Hospitality refuge with the 2024 Newcastle Woman of the Year Sister Carmel Hanson.

“So, it’s fantastic to be increasing and expanding our transitional housing capacity in Newcastle.”

A handful of five-bedroom homes, as well as one two-bedroom and one one-bedroom unit, are set for an upgrading.

The project will be delivered in partnership with leading social and affordable housing provider, Home In Place.

Homes NSW is also exploring different options for the long-term future use of the site.

The homes and services are expected to become operational in approximately eight months, noting the site needs work to ensure the security and safety of the temporary residents, provide essential amenities and ensure the houses meet the standard appropriate for transitional housing needs.

With more than 55,000 people on the waitlist for social housing, and close to 2,000 on the list in Newcastle and Port Stephens regions alone, the NSW Government will continue exploring every option to expedite the delivery of more homes.

“We are grappling with a housing and homelessness crisis… and we need to think outside the box to deliver more safe and secure homes for people in need,” Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson said.

“The NSW Government is committed to exploring every option to transform underutilised sites into fit-for-purpose housing.

“If we have mothballed properties sitting empty, we will investigate whether they can be upgraded and used to provide vital shelter.

“Transforming these homes into a safe base for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough is the first step to helping people get back on their feet and into longer-term accommodation.

“We know we have a lot of work to do to confront this crisis, but this type of innovative thinking is helping to drive the solution.”

Minister for Disability Inclusion and Port Stephens MP Kate Washington agreed.

“I have heard heart-breaking stories from people in the Hunter who are couch surfing, sleeping in cars or on the street,” she said.

“I’m pleased to have turned our meeting on site last year into an outcome that could change people’s lives.

“Making the former Stockton Centre available as short-term accommodation for people experiencing homelessness and providing them with the support they need to move into a longer-term home is a welcome step for our community.”

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