Caption: Father Paul Devitt, Gary Wright, Housing Plus, Justin Cantelo, Housing Plus, Project Director, and Catholic Bishop of Bathurst, the Most Reverend Michael McKenna, outside the former Opal Aged Care Facility.
Article published in the Western Advocate 23 June 2020
PLANS to reopen the former Kelso nursing home as emergency accommodation are still afoot with Housing Plus hoping the project will be operational later this year.
Last year the former Opal Aged Care Facility was purchased by the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst with plans to utilise the former 80-bed facility to house the homeless, and those fleeing domestic violence or other situations.
The operation of the facility is being managed by Housing Plus, a specialist service provider directly supporting individuals in the region who are experiencing homelessness and family violence.
While COVID-19 has delayed the reopening, Housing Plus Chief Executive Officer, David Fisher, said there is plenty of work going on behind the scenes.
“The former, currently unused, Opal Nursing Home at Kelso will soon be operating as Housing Plus Connect and will serve as both an office and community space for our housing and community services staff as well as for community purposes with a further proposal to provide accommodation and services to women and children who are escaping domestic and family violence.
“These services include tenancy and maintenance services and our community programs including training and employment program, Opportunity Pathways, which supports social housing clients to access practical and financial assistance, training and work opportunities to help them prepare for employment, find a job, work more hours or improve their employment options.”
Mr Fisher said from July 1, the Bathurst and Lithgow Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service will also operate from our current Bathurst office and in due course relocate to Housing Plus Connect as will the team responsible for building 51 new homes currently under construction by Housing Plus including those at Havannah Street in Bathurst.
“While there have been some delays, we expect to be open in mid – late September.
“In the meantime we have been working with the local Bathurst Rotary Daybreak to redistribute medical supplies and furniture left by the former operator.
“This was done with the support of the Bathurst Diocese who are the owners of the building,” he said.