Sixty senior Australians who have been living rough, or are disadvantaged and at risk of homelessness now have a place to call home – all because of a $14.7 million Government aged care investment in the Central West of New South Wales.
Officially opening Mission Australia’s Benjamin Short Grove Aged Care Facility in Orange today, Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, said that helping older people in regional, rural and remote Australia was a top priority.
“I commend and thank Mission Australia for their dedication in creating a welcoming, safe and comfortable home for 60 vulnerable older people,” Minister Wyatt said.
“The causes of homelessness are complex, and the number of older people finding themselves without proper accommodation is of great concern.”
According to the ABS, 14,851 people aged 55 and over were experiencing homelessness on Census night 2011.
This is approximately one out of seven people counted as experiencing homelessness in Australia.
“Our vision for aged care is to provide access to quality, affordable, respectful and culturally comfortable care for every Australian, regardless of where they live or what their circumstances are.”
Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, said it was a big step forward in local support for at-risk older residents.
“We have been proud to work with Mission Australia, to help local seniors in need receive the care they require and deserve,” Mr Gee said.
“This centre is a place of warmth, shelter and safety, and I know that everyone who lives and works here will rejoice in the sense of homeliness and comfort it provides.
“I also commend local fundraising and support efforts, which have been phenomenal, ranging from major corporate entities and clubs, to luncheons, and even the donation of 82 beautiful quilts from local quilters.”
The facility is named in honour of Sydney City Mission co-founder, Benjamin Short.
Minister Wyatt commended Mr Gee for his advocacy for the new centre.
“The Turnbull Government’s plan is to support accessible and affordable housing, with a strong focus on regional Australia,” the Minister said.
“We are also targeting vulnerable elder Australians with a range of assistance, including through the Commonwealth Home Support Program and the Homeless Supplement, as well as broader initiatives addressing those with diverse needs.”
“To give certainty to frontline organisations like Mission Australia, we have committed more than $375 million to State and Territory governments, for homelessness support services over the next three years.”
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