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Caloundra raises the roof on homelessness

The official opening of the Roofs to Recovery project on the Caloundra Corps site.

Caloundra Corps on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is contributing to an innovative local solution to address homelessness for women over 55.

The corps has made land available on its property to display a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom transitional home as a “proof of concept” for the community, potential donors and politicians to visit. Caloundra Family Store outfitted the homes to enhance the display, which was officially opened on 12 March.

“We were approached because we have significant land on the corps site,” said Major Beth Twivey, Caloundra Corps team member. “The display allows council, politicians and potential donors to see the homes in the flesh.”

An example of one of the temporary transitional homes on display.

The homes are built in a modular, flat-pack style, which allows them to be constructed quickly by volunteers without building experience. They can be built for around $30,000 and quickly set up once land, and appropriate approvals are obtained. The units are very similar to those constructed for overseas disaster recovery accommodation.

The two units are temporarily located on the corps property. They are not connected to services and won’t have residents living in them. Funding for the units came from several local churches, supportive individuals and two grants from the Sunshine Coast Council.

Since late 2021, the corps has been involved with a series of forums hosted by the Sunshine Coast Council and the Caloundra City Pastors’ Network to explore ways to support local residents experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

Roofs to Recovery grew out of the forums. It is now a registered charity to build a transitional housing community on the Sunshine Coast.

Beth explained that the corps had been involved with the pastor’s network and all the forums and is committed to supporting solutions to homelessness. Corps leadership has already committed to creating wraparound services for those going into transitional homes to help them secure long-term affordable housing. Providing a mentor for residents is an important component of the support network being put in place.

“Going forward, we are looking for partners to move from concept to reality,” Beth said. “We have already received interest from some individuals about potentially donating land for the transitional village.”

Commissioner James Condon speaks to the gathering at the official opening.

The official opening ceremony on 12 March attracted many community and corps members keen to see the units. Also present were some council members, the Roofs to Recovery Project Team and supportive local churches.

Susan, a woman with lived experience of homelessness, cut the ribbon to open the units. She also contributed to the transitional housing plan.

Retired Commissioner James Condon echoed the words of General Bramwell Booth during his official comments by “commending the group for doing something” to address a dire local need.

For further information on the project, click here


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