Newly Refurbished Convent Site in Kalamunda Now Restoring Lives in Need

The St. Emilie’s Convent on Kalamunda Rd, in Kalamunda has been renovated, refurbished and repurposed, to provide a safe, affordable and supported residential accommodation option for young women in need in our community.

The project was officially opened today, by The Hon. Peter Tinley AM MLA, Minister for Housing, who was joined by Fionn Skiotis, Chairman of Community Housing Limited (CHL) and Rodney Lavater, Administrator of The Esther Foundation, an award winning and extensive health, development and leadership program, to host the formalities of the event.

Originally built in 1883, and a Heritage 3 local asset, it was considered vital that the redevelopment of the Convent did not compromise the rich heritage of the site.

The State Government’s Department of Communities, supported by a capital funding grant from Lotterywest, sought the services of Australia’s largest and highly experienced not for profit Community Housing Provider, Community Housing Limited, to provide project and development management services to deliver the facility for The Esther Foundation’s purposes.

Drawing on their extensive expertise CHL created a design and layout that improved amenity while still including components of the existing infrastructure, with the completed site retaining the Priest’s House, the original arched facility, original stained glass windows and the commemorative tablet from the chapel.

“We have been delivering quality affordable housing for over two decades and it is always an honour to be recognised for our project management and design capabilities,” Fionn Skiotis, Chairman of Community Housing Limited (CHL), said. “It has been a productive partnership working alongside the Department of Communities, Lotterywest and The Esther Foundation to create and deliver a leading edge facility that will contribute to the ongoing wellbeing and recovery of young women in need.”

The refurbished accommodation now includes a total of 20 bedrooms including 18 doubles. Seven of those are new self -contained units, with en-suite and kitchenette, while the existing west wing has been renovated and modified to provide 10 bedrooms, including six with en-suites. The main building has been rebuilt and now hosts a kitchen with training facilities, gymnasium, a large communal dining and living area, counselling rooms and an administration area.

The funding for the project was provided via Lotterywest by a $3,445,375 capital grant with an additional $324,000 funding in 2017 to develop a multi-use court and security fencing onsite.

Under the management of The Esther Foundation, that has moved whole of organisation from South Perth to Kalamunda, the premises will provide mid-term accommodation and extensive support services to young women at the site.

“The St Emilie’s Project provides a much needed resource for young women; young mothers and teenagers aged 13-33 years who would benefit from the safe, structured and supported accommodation program.  Our new purpose built residential premises will change the lives of many young women facing life-controlling struggles and issues, offering them and encouraging them the opportunity to reach their potential in life.” Rodney Lavater, Administrator of the Esther Foundation said.

It is envisaged that through its residential recovery programs, The Esther Foundation will further aid these young women in improving self-worth, confidence and gaining the necessary skills to lead a successful life within the community.

About Community Housing Limited (CHL):

CHL Group is a national and international provider of community and affordable housing to those disadvantaged through market failure. CHL is a registered charity with a vision of ‘a world without housing poverty’. In Australia, CHL is the largest community housing provider with over 6,800 properties under management across six states. It also develops affordable housing overseas and has offices in Timor Leste, Chile, PNG, Rwanda, Peru and India.

In WA, CHL manages over 830 properties through its six offices located in Perth, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Ex-mouth and Kununurra.

CHL’s service offering is diverse from providing pathways out of homelessness to crisis, transitional and long term housing, property development, tenancy and property management, and community development to a wide cohort of people in need. Recently Queensland based Horizon Housing has announced it is integrating with CHL Group bringing their 2,400 properties under its management.

From November, an additional 1,400 properties will be managed by CHL in the NSW’s mid north coast areas of Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Nambucca and surrounding areas as part of the Social Housing Management Transfer Program by the State Government which will take CHL’s total portfolio to over 11,000.

About The Esther Foundation:

The Esther Foundation is the largest young women’s residential recovery program of its kind in Australia. Over nearly two decades, the Foundation has grown from a small rehabilitation program to what is now an extensive and award-winning young women’s residential health, development and leadership program based in Kalamunda. The Foundation provides intensive support for young women to overcome life-controlling struggles and issues in a safe, structured and supportive environment. It currently operates many residential premises housing more than 70 young mothers, young women and children. The broadly structured program facilitates specific groups and individual counselling to help manage socially prevalent issues and concerns faced by young women and children, including substance abuse, sexual and emotional abuse, domestic violence, mental health, pregnancy, self-harm, family breakdown, bullying, depression and eating disorders. Much-needed support is received from the corporate sector and public donations to deliver this essential community service to the young women of Western Australia. The Foundation and its programs have been recognised at a local, state and national level.

For more information contact:

Community Housing Limited                         www.chl.org.au

Preeti Daga         0430 555 241                     preeti.daga@chl.org.au

The Esther Foundation                                   www.estherfoundation.org.au

Rodney Lavater   0411 730 227                    rod@estherfoundation.org.au  

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