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Studio Purpose

STUDIO PURPOSE

FOUR youths at risk of homelessness in the Murray Bridge area are now housed in modern apartments after local agencies and community partners worked together to make the Studio Purpose vision a reality. Habitat for Humanity led the construction phase of the innovative project and received broad community support to transform a vacant South Australian Housing Authority duplex into four units, thanks to contributions from the trades sector, construction businesses and volunteers. Community contributions allowed the development to be completed under-budget and ahead of schedule, with the complete apartments handed over in August 2021 for ac.care to welcome the first tenants as part of an innovative housing and support initiative.

DONATE: Anyone can make a tax-deductible donation online to help ac.care support Studio Purpose tenants HERE.

CONSTRUCTION SUPPORT (INCLUDING VOLUNTEERS): Construction businesses, tradespeople and community volunteers in the Murray Bridge area keen to be involved in future projects can call Habitat for Humanity representative Andrew Hurst on 0412 794 460 or email ahurst@habitat.org.au

ONGOING SUPPORT: Call the ac.care Murraylands Centre on 8531 4900 to discuss any proposed ongoing support for the youth homelessness service.

Project Partners
Habitat for Humanity Australia, Habitat for Humanity South Australia, Anglicare SA, Rural City of Murray Bridge, headspace Murray Bridge, SA Housing Authority

COMMUNITY PROJECT: Murray Bridge volunteer Steve Brown, Habitat for Humanity’s Andrew Hurst and ac.care Murraylands Homelessness Service manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage welcome progress on the Studio Purpose development in Murray Bridge, which will provide four apartments for youths at risk of homelessness in the region.
COMMUNITY PROJECT: Murray Bridge volunteer Steve Brown, Habitat for Humanity’s Andrew Hurst and ac.care Murraylands Homelessness Service manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage welcome progress on the Studio Purpose development in Murray Bridge, which will provide four apartments for youths at risk of homelessness in the region.

LATEST NEWS

- August 2021 -

Four vulnerable young people housed and supported as Studio Purpose vision becomes reality

FOUR young people at risk of homelessness have somewhere safe to live and be supported in Murray Bridge after a community building project vision became a reality on Thursday.

Supporters of ac.care’s Studio Purpose gathered at the Murray Bridge site as Habitat for Humanity South Australia celebrated the completion of construction of the homes with suppliers, volunteers and donors.

Habitat for Humanity has worked with the Murray Bridge construction sector over the past year to oversee conversion of a disused South Australian Housing Authority duplex into four apartments.

It is the culmination of a five year project after ac.care identified the need for purpose-built accommodation and support for youth at risk of homelessness in the region due to a lack of affordable housing.

Project partners Habitat for Humanity, South Australian Housing Authority, AnglicareSA, Rural City of Murray Bridge and Headspace have worked with ac.care to develop the innovative solution.

More than 50 people gathered at the site last week for a COVID-Safe celebration as the construction phase came to an end and the apartments were handed over by Habitat to Humanity to property manager AnglicareSA.

Ngarrindjeri and Kokatha man Harley Hall opened the event with a traditional smoke cleansing ceremony to “bring positive energy to the homes from the land and ancestors of the area”.

Habitat for Humanity South Australia executive director Ben Sarre said handing over the Studio Purpose apartments, providing welcoming places for vulnerable young people to live, was a significant moment for the organisation after the eight month construction project.

“One of the things we love about this project is the strong sense of local community - local people and organisations who care deeply about their community made construction of Studio Purpose possible,” Mr Sarre said.

Habitat for Humanity raised $145,000 to fund construction of Studio Purpose.
This included contributions from local service clubs, community members and the South Australian Housing Authority, along with grant funding from Rural City of Murray Bridge.

Interstate and overseas supporters contributed $95,000, including foundations, trusts and grant providers, with $20,000 donated by a Sydney family.

COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT: Habitat for Humanity South Australian executive director Ben 
Sarre, Ngarrindjeri man Harley Hall and ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks celebrate 
the completion of the Studio Purpose project to convert a disused South Australian Housing 
Authority property into four apartments for youths at risk of homelessness.
COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT: Habitat for Humanity South Australian executive director Ben Sarre, Ngarrindjeri man Harley Hall and ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks celebrate the completion of the Studio Purpose project to convert a disused South Australian Housing Authority property into four apartments for youths at risk of homelessness.

But while fundraising fell short of the $250,000 target, the project still proceeded thanks to support from local suppliers, the trades sector and other businesses, as well as long-term Habitat for Humanity construction partners.

“Local businesses donated building materials and supplies, while local trades and contractors gave their time generously to contribute,” Mr Sarre said.

“Together the diverse supporters made this project possible and allowed it to be delivered within the $145,000 raised, which was only possible because of the enormity of donated materials, trades and contractor support, together with volunteers, who are always the lifeblood of our construction work.”

Studio Purpose was built with labour from 78 volunteers contributing more than 2000 hours, with further off-site support from the broader Habitat team.

“Volunteers included local church members, service clubs, unemployed job seekers and even neighbours, plus staff and students from Murray Bridge High School and Northeast Vocational College,” Mr Sarre said.

Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick addressed the opening on behalf of Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink, celebrating the innovation that secured the project.

“To think we have done what is probably an Australian first is fantastic after people looked outside the square and saw what is possible with the support of volunteers, funds raised locally and interstate and support from local trades and businesses,” he said.

“It is a wonderful example of many organisations working together to improve the outcomes for youth in the Murray Bridge and surrounding region and we look forward to project partners working with these young adults to help them establish skills and capabilities that will underpin outcomes related to long-term sustainable housing, education, training and employment.”

Volunteer Steve Bown, who managed the site from December to June after drafting original plans for the site said it was “always a buzz to do something that benefits someone else”.

“This build has been done during a difficult time – all trades are busy and materials are often in short supply – but the trades and products were available just when we needed them,” he said.

“Many young people will be given a new start through these four apartments and there is pride in volunteering with other local people, helping our community, which is the stuff that makes Murray Bridge such a great community.”

HOUSING SUPPORT: SA Housing Authority Adelaide and Southern Country regional manager Kerrie McCann, ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage and SA Housing Authority customers and services executive director Bronwyn Dodd at the Studio Purpose handover.
HOUSING SUPPORT: SA Housing Authority Adelaide and Southern Country regional manager Kerrie McCann, ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage and SA Housing Authority customers and services executive director Bronwyn Dodd at the Studio Purpose handover.

Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis said he had discussed the initial Studio Purpose vision to provide housing for vulnerable young people with ac.care Murraylands Homelessness Service manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage more than three years ago.

“She never gave up and from that day forward really worked hard to pull together the collaboration that has enabled this to happen,” he said.

“We can’t think of another project anything like this anywhere in Australia, but will claim this to be a first of its type in regional Australia at least.

“Murray Bridge is a really good community and this project can only come from that goodness – four young people will have an opportunity for safety and protection in a nice neighbourhood to get on with their lives and making these homes available will be a huge stepping stone.”

ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks thanked all contributors to construction of the Studio Purpose apartments.

“For this community to deliver under budget and on time through a pandemic is miraculous and shows what can be achieved when a group of people come together with a common idea to provide hope for the future,” he said.

Mr Maddocks said the properties would provide safe homes so young people could remain in the community, rather than having to move to Adelaide to seek housing.

“To be able to create homes for four young people to settle, learn, connect to employment or education and stay in and contribute to this community is fantastic,” he said.

“The next stage of work is about to start for us and this is a real turning point, because the homes were needed and now we will work with headspace and other organisations to welcome four young people and help them make these apartments their homes and support them to build a brighter future supported by our staff, other agencies and the broader community.

“We will encourage young people to make these apartments their homes – places to be safe, warm, out of the weather and where they can start to build their future from a safe place to live.”

Mr Sarre and Mr Maddocks said the two organisations hoped to continue to work together with the community to deliver further housing initiatives in Murray Bridge.

Keep up to date with the project via ac.care’s Facebook page or by visiting www.accare.org.au/studiopurpose/

ac.care can be contacted on 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273).

PROJECT MILESTONE: Habitat for Humanity South Australian executive director Ben Sarre hands over the keys to the Studio Purpose apartments to ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage.
PROJECT MILESTONE: Habitat for Humanity South Australian executive director Ben Sarre hands over the keys to the Studio Purpose apartments to ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage.

- June 2021 -

Studio Purpose community construction project to support youths at risk of homelessness in Murray Bridge nears completion

A MURRAY Bridge project to convert a disused South Australian Housing Authority property into four units for youths at risk of homelessness is nearing completion to allow the first tenants to move in within months.

Broad community support has helped make the bold vision for the multi-agency Studio Purpose project a reality, with businesses, tradespeople, service clubs and others contributing funds, labour, supplies, furnishings and other donations for the major renovation.

Habitat for Humanity project manager Andrew Hurst has been supervising the not-for-profit organisation’s oversight of the construction phase of the project, working with tradespeople and other community members who have contributed to the construction project.

“We've had plumbers and electricians that have come in and donated their time, local suppliers have donated a lot of materials and the kitchen fit-outs have been donated by four different cabinet makers,” he said.

“When I talk to any businesses about it, they understand the reason to be involved with the focus on homeless youth and it will be really rewarding to see the result of people who really need it having access to a home.”

The Studio Purpose project extends beyond accommodation to include broad support to help vulnerable young people reach their potential.

ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage has led the project from the initial vision, securing partnerships with other organisations and government agencies after ac.care identified the issue of young people being unable to find suitable and affordable accommodation in the Murray Bridge area.

ac.care will work with project partners to support tenants and develop strategies to help youths transition from the units to reunification with families, private rental arrangements or other housing options, along with a focus on building a more hopeful future.

“It’s been very exciting to see the project progress with the massive improvement in the properties and we are very grateful for all the support the project has received with the community getting behind the project and Habitat for Humanity leading construction,” she said.

Church groups, service clubs, schools and other donors had contributed items to furnish the units once construction is completed and Ms Hiripitiyage said she looked forward to seeing the final result and welcoming the first tenants.

“We are very proud to have this new opportunity in Murray Bridge for young people and want to thank everyone who has contributed,” she said.

The partnership also involves AnglicareSA, South Australian Housing Authority, headspace Murray Bridge and Rural City of Murray Bridge.

Volunteer Steve Bown has been inspired by the diverse contributions from the community.

“It's been amazing to see it take shape and we can now see the four separate units with all the plaster boarding and other elements done,” he said.

“We want to get a shelter over the heads of homeless kids and that's the ultimate thing, but to get all of the businesses in Murray Bridge to come on board and supply so much stuff, free of charge - tradesmen, contractors and others that have just said 'yep, we'll do it for you' – is a big plus for the businesses in Murray Bridge – I’m pretty stoked about that.”

Unskilled volunteers are still needed for the final phases of construction, including the yard and general property clean-up, fencing, landscaping and other tasks, along with materials and labour for development of a communal garden area.

To contribute to the construction phase of the project, call local Habitat for Humanity representative Andrew Hurst on 0412794460, email ahurst@habitat.org.au or visit accare.org.au/studiopurpose

Donations for remaining construction costs can be made to www.givenow.com.au/youthhousingmurraybridge and items for furnishing the units can be provided to ac.care by calling 8531 4900.

UNITED: Studio Purpose project partner representatives Rural City of Murray Bridge deputy mayor
Wayne Thorley, draftsman Steve Brown, Murray Bridge Habitat for Humanity representative Bob Martin,
Habitat for Humanity South Australian executive director Ben Sarre, AnglicareSA housing assets and
maintenance manager Garry Spurling, ac.care homelessness and community services senior manager
Trish Spark, SA Housing Authority Southern Country regional manager Kerrie McCann, ac.care
Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage, SA Housing Authority Southern
Country maintenance field manager Scott Wells and ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks at
the vacant property in Murray Bridge that will be converted to four units for vulnerable youth.
UNITED: Studio Purpose project partner representatives Rural City of Murray Bridge deputy mayor Wayne Thorley, draftsman Steve Bown, Murray Bridge Habitat for Humanity representative Bob Martin, Habitat for Humanity South Australian executive director Ben Sarre, AnglicareSA housing assets and maintenance manager Garry Spurling, ac.care homelessness and community services senior manager Trish Spark, SA Housing Authority Southern Country regional manager Kerrie McCann, ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage, SA Housing Authority Southern Country maintenance field manager Scott Wells and ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks at the vacant property in Murray Bridge that will be converted to four units for vulnerable youth.

- June 2020 -

Housing project to provide accommodation and support for young people at risk of homelessness in Murray Bridge

A BOLD cross-agency initiative is being led by ac.care to deliver accommodation and support for young people at risk of homelessness in Murray Bridge.

Significant funds have been raised to make the vision a reality with a vacant property secured, partnerships formalised and a broad program designed to address the needs of young people.

The community, along with individuals and businesses in the construction sector, is being urged to support the initiative to convert a disused South Australian Housing Authority building into four self-contained and fully-furnished units for short-term lease by youths aged 15-21.

The Studio Purpose project extends beyond accommodation to include broad support to help vulnerable young people reach their potential.

South Australia’s branch of international non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity is driving the construction phase of the project to convert the building from a duplex to units.

“The project is aimed at addressing a shortage of safe accommodation for young people in the area, but is about much more than a warm bed and welcoming space, with a focus on health and wellbeing, education, development, connection and engagement,” ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage said.

She said the project was developed through cooperation with other organisations and government agencies after ac.care identified an issue with young people being unable to find suitable and affordable accommodation in the Murray Bridge area.

“This has contributed to some young people sleeping rough in inappropriate living conditions, adding further risk in the lives of vulnerable youths,” Ms Hiripitiyage said.
The partnership also involves AnglicareSA, South Australian Housing Authority, headspace Murray Bridge and Rural City of Murray Bridge.

“We want to reduce youth homelessness in the region by building on our existing services and creating positive partnerships with key stakeholders to provide holistic support to youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness,” Ms Hiripitiyage said.

Project partners will deliver services to tenants via agreements either through home visits or with external priority appointments and develop exit strategies to help youths transition from the units to reunification with families, private rental arrangements or other housing options.