Fletcher Street Cottage, in the middle of Byron Bay, is set to be reopened as a service hub to assist increasing numbers of local people at risk of becoming homeless, as well as people already sleeping rough, thanks to a collaboration between the Byron Community Centre, Byron Shire Council and Creative Capital, who are helping to fund the venture.
In the face of an ongoing housing crisis, the Byron Community Centre will reopen a hub for homelessness services that has been out of operation for five years, and they need your help.
Responding to the growing need for services supporting the local homeless, Byron Community Centre and Creative Capital (the team behind Habitat) have joined forces to reopen Fletcher Street Cottage, located in the middle of town.
Previously run as a drop-in centre for people at risk of becoming homeless, or those already sleeping rough, Fletcher Street Cottage has been closed for five years, due to a lack of funding.
Owned by Byron Shire Council, they recently voted to reopen the Fletcher Street Cottage as a hub for Byron’s most vulnerable with co-located services making for easy access.
“This is such exciting news and is providing some much-needed hope that by working together we can deliver practical solutions to make a difference to our community’s most vulnerable people,” said Vanessa Adams, Council’s Director Corporate and Community Services.
Fletcher Street Cottage will no longer operate as a drop-in centre, but instead the Homeless Breakfast will be served before 8:30am in respect of nearby businesses, and services will be by appointment for the rest of the day.
There will be assistance with housing, mental health, physical health, plus other basics like providing a safe place to have a shower and do some washing.
“The Fletcher Street Cottage will once again provide services for housing, mental health, physical health and other practical wellbeing supports. We have never needed these services more than we do right now,” adds Vanessa.
“Fletcher Street Cottage will be a springboard for people to get the right support from a range of professionals: case workers, mental health teams, health practitioners, drug and alcohol workers and specialist homelessness services; the ultimate goal will be to house people with successful and manageable tenancies according to each person’s requirements and capacity,” said Cherie Bromly, Community Programs Manager.
Led by Louise O’Connell, general manager for the Byron Community Centre, the hub will provide a range of services and support for the increasing numbers of people who are seeking help.
“Byron is second only to Sydney for homelessness,” said Louise. “We are seeing people that we’ve never seen before seeking assistance with food, shelter and crisis support. This hub provides vital services for our growing homeless, many of whom are vulnerable women.”
The Creative Capital team are volunteering their time and skills to help raise funds, redesign the space and manage the renovations.
“There’s never been a more critical time for these services,” said Brandon Saul, director for Creative Capital. “With the ongoing housing crisis, we need to look after everyone in the local community.”
Thanks to their local connections, Creative Capital have already secured funding for staff to manage the new project. And with new plans almost finished, the goal is to have the space open again before the end of the year.
“The call is going out soon for skilled volunteers such as trades like builders and painters, plus general volunteers and we encourage everyone to get involved in reopening the doors of Fletcher Street Cottage to help those in need,” said Louise.
Would you like to donate, lend a hand or keep updated? Find out how to get involved at www.fletcherstreetcottage.com.au.
For further enquiries, please contact Kate on [email protected] or (02) 66 856 807.