LIVES of vulnerable youths in Murray Bridge will be turned around after the community has worked together to develop a second set of four units to provide housing for youths at risk of homelessness.

Charity Habitat for Humanity South Australia has led the construction phase of the project led by ac.care, converting two disused duplexes provided by the South Australian Housing Authority into four units suitable for youth.

Donors, building material suppliers, tradespeople and businesses, along with volunteers, have combined their efforts to complete the construction phase of the second Studio Purpose housing project.

Habitat for Humanity South Australia executive officer Louise Hay said construction was achieved with significant support from Impact100 SA, Morialta Trust, Harvey Foundation, Shape, The Rural City of Murray Bridge and private donors, along with many local volunteers and contributors.

“Community collaboration has been the cornerstone of Habitat for Humanity’s involvement in addressing the critical need for safe accommodation for at-risk youth in Murray Bridge,” Ms Hay said.

“Through the dedication of donors, volunteers and partners, we’ve created not just four homes, but havens of hope and opportunity.”

The property will be managed by Believe Housing Australia to allow ac.care to provide housing and intensive support to transform the lives of youths at risk of homelessness.

Rural City of Murray Bridge Mayor Wayne Thorley, Habitat for Humanity South Australia executive officer Louise Hay, ac.care acting chief executive officer Kris Roberts and ac.care’s Thanuja Hiripitiyage, instigator of the Studio Purpose project, at the community celebration marking completion of Studio Purpose’s second apartment block.

The expanded capacity builds on the success of the first phase of the Studio Purpose project, which involved creation of four apartments in 2021, which are tenanted by young people working towards independence and a brighter future.

Regional specialist ac.care will now have eight specially-developed homes available for 15-23 year olds selected to benefit from the intensive support model.

A community celebration was held at the site on Wednesday, February 21 to mark completion of the second set of four homes, with more than 50 supporters in attendance.

Ngarrindjeri and Kokatha man Harley Hall conducted a traditional smoke cleansing ceremony to “bring positive energy to the homes from the land and ancestors of the area”.

Taking a housing-first approach, The Studio Purpose project has been led by ac.care and extends beyond provision of independent accommodation for vulnerable youths to include broad support to help young people reach their potential.

“It has been wonderful to see the community come together once again to build on the success of the first Studio Purpose development to help address the shortage of safe accommodation for young people in the region, which ac.care identified as a priority and worked with other agencies and organisations to address,” ac.care Murraylands homelessness program manager Thanuja Hiripitiyage said.

“These homes not only provide a warm bed and welcoming space, but connect young people with a service model focused on health and wellbeing, education, development, connection and engagement to work towards independence.”

CLEANSING: Ngarrindjeri and Kokatha man Harley Hall conducted a traditional smoke cleansing ceremony to “bring positive energy to the homes from the land and ancestors of the area”.

The partnership involves ac.care, Believe Housing, South Australian Housing Authority, headspace Murray Bridge, Rural City of Murray Bridge and Habitat for Humanity.

Local services clubs have helped with furnishing the homes, with Soroptimist International Murray Bridge donating refrigerators, Murray Bridge Rotary Club supplying washing machines and the Lions Club of Murray Bridge providing toasters and kettles.

Human Services Minister Nat Cook has welcomed completion of the second block of four units and said Studio Purpose was already transforming lives.

“This initiative is already achieving such wonderful results for young people who needed help to turn their lives around – these successes have included young people, once without housing security and direction, successfully entering private rental accommodation and starting jobs and traineeships after Studio Purpose stabilised their accommodation and linked them with the right supports,” Ms Cook said.

“This is so heart-warming and it illustrates the kind of dramatic and positive turnaround that is achieved when young people have stable housing, the right support and engage with those supports.”

TRANSFORMATIVE: Human Services Minister Nat Cook spoke at the community celebration on February 21, praising the success of the Studio Purpose program for transforming the lives of young people.

ac.care continues to seek financial supporters to sustain and expand the housing and intensive support model in Murray Bridge and beyond to other areas of country South Australia.

“Supporters of Studio Purpose know this initiative makes a difference in the lives of vulnerable young people in country South Australia for the long-term,” Ms Hiripitiyage said.

Donations to help sustain and expand the Studio Purpose initiative can be made here.

Contact care@accare.org.au for more information about the project.

ac.care Locations

ac.care is a dynamic organisation servicing the South Australian communities the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

Our mission is for all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.

Please find our service locations here or use our contact form to request a service.

Mount Gambier
Head office and Foster Care

70-72 White Avenue Mount Gambier, SA 5290
PO Box 1842 Mount Gambier SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Community Centre

22-24 Ferrers Street Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Family Relationship Centre

1 Helen Street (cnr Bay Road) Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday
9am to 5pm
Tuesday
10:30am to 5pm
Wednesday
9am to 5pm
Thursday
9am to 5pm
Later by appt
Friday
9am to 5pm

Berri Community Centre
Servicing the Riverland

5 Kealley Street Street Berri, SA 5343
PO Box 1345 Berri, SA 5343
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Murraylands Centre
Servicing the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

29 Bridge Street Murray Bridge, SA 5253
PO Box 2090 Murray Bridge, SA 5253
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

Millicent
Community Centre

57-59 George Street Millicent, SA 5280
PO Box 378 Millicent, SA 5280
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
Seek Help