Refugees escaping war-torn countries will be the next tenants to call Regency Green home in a new collaboration between AMES Australia and UnitingSA.

South Australian Minister for Human Services, the Hon Nat Cook MP, attended a tour and community day at Regency Green today to help welcome its first refugee families.

Half of the former aged care home was recently repurposed by UnitingSA to provide temporary accommodation for NDIS participants who had been stranded in SA hospitals.

“Our Regency Green site has become a welcome short-term home for discharge-ready NDIS participants, and the other half of the site will now be a safe haven for refugee families as they build new lives in Australia,” UnitingSA CEO Jenny Hall said.

As part of the second phase of the site’s activation, 40 rooms at Regency Green will be added to AMES Australia’s refugee and migrant settlement program, with 12 refugee families expected to move in as part of the first phase of the project.

“We are excited to be working with UnitingSA to provide short-term accommodation for newly arrived refugees,” AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth said.

“A safe place to live is one of critical immediate needs of newly arrived refugees who may be fleeing trauma, violence or conflict.

“This accommodation will be a place from which our refugee clients can start to rebuild their lives in Australia,” Ms Scarth said.

The UnitingSA Regency Green Aged Care home was closed earlier this year to make way for a new affordable housing project.

“Development plans for the affordable housing precinct are still in the pipeline, and these homes will eventually be part of UnitingSA’s community housing portfolio, which provides around 600 affordable and social housing properties,” Ms Hall said.

“But that will take time, and we are pleased to be able to support AMES Australia and the families they will help through this solution in the interim.”

Ms Hall said while UnitingSA recognised that providing more permanent, affordable housing solutions is a priority amid Australia’s housing crisis, it was important for organisations to look at ways to provide short-term support to help people already in desperate need for housing.

“We are now looking to repurpose another UnitingSA site for temporary emergency accommodation to help support the rising number of homeless South Australians, where we will also provide wrap-around support through our homelessness services.

“This will include helping people with psychosocial support services through our community mental health programs like GP Access – a program unique to UnitingSA. It helps people with mental health issues through crisis and provides skills to enable them to live well in the community.”

“As one of South Australia’s oldest charities, UnitingSA is committed to supporting vulnerable people from all walks of life. Since 1919 we have continued to innovate and adapt our services and properties to provide the best possible solutions for people who urgently need our help.”

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