Sacred Heart Mission buildings to get a complete overhaul

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By Brittany Dupree, Sacred Heart Mission

In 1982, Fr. Ernie Smith opened the doors of the St Kilda Presbytery to those in need of food and shelter, and Sacred Heart Mission was born. For the next 34 years, thousands of people came together, building and refining that vision, making Sacred Heart Mission a cornerstone of the St Kilda community.

Now, after 34 years of supporting thousands of people experiencing homelessness, welcoming thousands of volunteers and hundreds of staff, it’s time for a face lift. The City of Port Phillip has provided a planning permit for the upgrade of our buildings between the corners of Robe and Grey streets. The $27 million redevelopment combines two existing aged care hostels into one location and increases our number of aged care beds. It also includes a supported rooming house, an expanded clinic that will deliver allied health services, a renovated and extended, open access Women’s House and an administration building. Except for the new aged care wing on Grey Street, the external facades of the current buildings will be retained, and most of the changes will be restricted to the building interiors.

The Australian Government will contribute $8.85 million to support the project. The balance will be raised through philanthropic activities and the sale of an asset. Work will begin to prepare the site by the end of 2016, with other stages of the project listed below targeted for completion by 2021;

Stage 1: Aged Care expansion and renovation

Stage 2: Rooming House creation and Hands on Health Clinic expansion

Stage 3: Refurbishment of the Women’s House

Stage 4: Construction of the centralized administration hub.

Aged care services offered by Sacred Heart differ from many others because we support people from a younger age, and 95 per cent have a history of homelessness or disadvantage. Almost 40 per cent of residents are under 64 years of age and almost 75 per cent are under 74 on admission.

This vital local response on the one campus, in a built-up area like St Kilda, improves the lives of people living on the margins in the City of Port Phillip, and establishes a blueprint for addressing disadvantage in Victoria.

This building project will help Sacred Heart achieve its mission to “build people’s capacity to participate more fully in community life, by addressing the underlying causes of deep, persistent disadvantage and social exclusion.” It will also ensure our staff and volunteers operate from fit for purpose facilities that adopt green building design and practices, strengthening our reputation for innovation and excellence.

Fr Smith’s dream is about to take a significant leap forward as the community of Sacred Heart Mission builds for a brighter future.

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