Transitional Housing is being expanded into Halls Creek with the construction of 15 new houses that will provide stable, affordable housing to Aboriginal people who are engaged in employment or training, and can ensure that their children attend school regularly.
The houses are being built through the Kimberley Aboriginal Community Housing Project – a partnership between the Department of Housing, Halls Creek Aboriginal Housing Group and the Kimberley Development Commission that conceptualised and funded the housing project through Royalties for Regions ($7.25 million).
"By partnering to launch this program in Halls Creek, the Department is building on its success with the East Kimberley Transitional Housing Program (EKTHP) in Kununurra that was started in September 2012," said Ruth Charles, Manager Program Delivery.
"These 15 new homes will be managed in a similar way and under the same principles as the Kununurra program where we have partnered with Community Housing Limited (CHL) and The Wunan Foundation (Wunan)."
Ruth and team members, Olivia McBride and Yit Peng Chong (Construction Country), travelled to Halls Creek recently to host a community information session that provided an update on the construction of the houses and encouraged local stakeholders and potential participants of the Program to contribute to the tailoring of the support model for the Halls Creek community.
Ruth Charles and Yit Peng Chong update on the progress of the Program
"We felt that it was important for the Department to engage effectively with the community on the support services aspect of the Program which is so critical to its success," Ruth said.
"Our discussion focused on the eligibility criteria of the program and whether it should be different to the Kununurra model. Stakeholders discussed time frames around transitioning to home ownership; employment; local demand for housing and their specific community needs."
"We were very encouraged with the response we received. There was a strong turn out from local community members and everyone contributed to the discussion."
Attendance at the session included local Aboriginal people and businesses; Josephine Farrer MLA, Member for the Kimberley; representatives from the Shire of Halls Creek; and organisations like the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, CHL and Wunan.
The 15 houses will be completed in two stages. Stage one includes eight dwellings on Lot 100 Wilkinson Street and will be comprised of six, three-bedroom and two, four-bedroom single-storey units. These are targeted to be completed by 31 January 2015. Stage Two will include seven dwellings on Lot 105 Smith Street, and these will be comprised of five, three-bedroom; and two, one-bedroom double-storey units. They are targeted to be completed in 2015.
"The team will return to Halls Creek in late October for a one-on-one information sharing session with the community. The Department, Wunan and CHL will meet with potential participants individually to discuss their suitability for the program and sign-up any eligible participants," Ruth said.
The EKTHP links an affordable home with a support program that helps participants in setting lifestyle goals, financial management and improving their health. Participants must be engaged in employment or training and ensure children attend school regularly. The Program enables Aboriginal people to develop independence and offers opportunities for them to create personal wealth and achieve home ownership.
Director, Housing Programs, Will Carroll highlighted the team work behind the success of the Program.
"The team is making this happen through their efforts on the ground. It's a great Program that has seen Housing staff right across the agency - from Service Delivery to Land and Housing Construction - working alongside the community sector including CHL and Wunan, and further supported by the Kimberley Development Commission to get the sort of results that have made the EKTHP the success it has been," Will said.