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Aged Care Group HammondCare Wins Deal For Aged Homeless Project

They are part of society’s most vulnerable group and often fall through the cracks.

25/05/2016 5:52 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Reuters.
In 2015, 15 percent of Sydney's homeless population were over 55 years old.

Not-for-profit aged care provider HammondCare has secured plans to build a residential facility in Darlinghurst for older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The City Of Sydney has given the group a $1.5 million grant for the project, and HammondCare has negotiated a site next to St Johns Anglican Church on Darlinghurst Road.

The facility is set to provide long-term, high-level care to a population in the area that is growing in number and size.

"The aged homeless and those at risk of homelessness are increasing in numbers and sadly, often fall through the cracks of existing service provision," HammondCare Chief Executive Stephen Judd said.

"This project aims to alleviate this demand in inner-Sydney and also provide a unique care model for this group -- long-term, specialist care for people with complex needs."

Wrought by rising house prices and a lack of affordable housing at odds with an ageing population, the proportion of Sydney's homeless population aged over 55 years old sat at 15 percent in 2015.

The 2011 census estimated a 14 percent national figure with older people expected to be the largest demographic in need of social housing by 2021.

"We are committed to providing a service that aims to help older people -- who are in dire need -- regain independence and stability in their lives."

And their needs are not being catered for.

According to Dr Judd, current services in the area provide short-term shelter or long-term accommodation without higher levels of care.

The proposed facility will accommodate about 50 people and provide distinct, long-term services for both older men and women.

HammondCare will work alongside St John's Anglican Church as well as various health and community providers in the area.

"This is a significant development in an area that has the highest concentration of older people who are homeless in New South Wales," Judd said.

"We are committed to providing a service that aims to help older people -- who are in dire need -- regain independence and stability in their lives."

The facility is expected to open in 2017.

The announcement comes at a time when the plight of Australia's homeless population is well and truly on the political agenda.

Homelessness services urged politicians this week to make a funding commitment to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness that currently makes up one-third of nationwide funding -- and is at risk of being cut.

Homelessness Australia, in partnership with ACOSS, National Shelter and CHIA, launched 'A Vote Home' on Tuesday -- a national strategy and call to action to address housing affordability in the upcoming election.

HammondCare's venture is a glimpse of hope that this strategy can be put into practice.

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