“The upgrade project will commence with the orderly and compassionate transition relocation of the remaining 28 tenants at this property to suitable accommodation elsewhere - a process we will handle as quickly as possible, but with care and consideration.
“Our housing officers will work closely with our tenants and other support service providers to make this transition successful for each of them.
“This process will be completed as soon as possible, after which the building will be converted from rooming house-style accommodation to secure, self-contained, one-bedroom apartments for women over the age of 55, who are increasingly in need of good accommodation close to facilities in St Kilda.
PPHA Chair, Frank O’Connor said the organisation was delighted the Government had approved the funding to allow PPHA to help deliver a sustainable, long term accommodation outcome for St Kilda.
“These decisions are not made overnight,” Mr. O’Connor said. “They take a lot of thought and hard work and I congratulate the Government, Housing Minister Martin Foley and our Chief Executive and the management team, on their persistence and focus, particularly in recent weeks and months. These are complex issues.”
Ms. Homaei said: “We know our neighbours have been worried about safety and security in this part of St Kilda in recent months. They were also concerned whether enough was being done. But we have been working very hard.
“We will be working collaboratively with other housing agencies and support service providers and will continue to liaise very actively with Victoria Police and the City of Port Phillip to ensure that this project, from transition to completion, delivers safety, security and peace of mind – for everyone.”
For further information:
HousingFirst is a professional, regulated, not for profit, community housing organisation. For over 32 years we have provided homes for thousands of vulnerable people in the St Kilda area. Our reach is now broader than the St Kilda area, but St Kilda is where we started and remains at the heart of both our work and our philosophy. In the Port Phillip area alone, we provide homes for over 400 people.
PPHA has successfully managed the 49-room Regal accommodation facility for 18 years; offering rooming house-style accommodation for vulnerable people, many of whom have lived in this area for a very long time.
In recent times we have acted in response to complaints from nearby residents regarding undesirable behaviours associated with people in or, more often than not, hanging around the property.
We have worked closely with Victoria Police, the Minister’s office, all the local support service agencies, nearby residents, City of Port Phillip and Regal tenants to resolve these concerns, as well as working on achieving a long-term solution for the building.
In recent months we have:
- convened the Community Safety Group that brings together, fortnightly, the PPHA, Victoria Police, the City of Port Phillip and other local service and support agencies including Star Health, Sacred Heart Mission and Launch Housing to help resolve issues as they arise;
- introduced and are enforcing tighter House Rules at the property and placed greater restrictions on visiting hours;
- actively terminated the tenancies of those who break the laws and tenancy rules;
- reduced tenancy numbers from 49 to (currently) 28 to reduce the pressure on the area;
- significantly increased our staff presence at the site;
- constructed a secure entrance to the site that requires key-fob access to eliminate random traffic;
- improved CCTV coverage of the area allowing for decreased response times to any incidents in the area;
- provided Victoria Police with keyless entry to the public areas in the event of any emergencies.